Aug 30

Aided and abetted by a hugely talented cast of six more actors and singers, and two superb musicians, Blag takes live theatre to a different level.In times when the anodyne, the manufactured, the bland and the boring pass for entertainment, here was a wake up call for the dull and talentless - Blag writes its own spoofs, jokes and material in a very creative, topical, original and totally refreshing way. Ding Dong Merrily...BUT WHY? is a Christmas show with a big difference - it casts an irreverent yet benign eye over the events of the year and gently sends them up, bringing them to life through song and dance.Richard Beaumont and John Holland shone as the tennis stars never likely to win Wimbledon, Greg Rusedski and Tim Henman; Chris Clarke was hilarious as Will Young and David Beckham; Anna Rufey was a superb Posh; Jean Warner drew wolf whistles and applause as Sven's sexy Nancy; Mark Novels thrilled as The Other Fagin; Lucy Gwynne-Evans excelled as a harassed teacher and Lynn Beaumont made the show go with a swing a audience participation games leader.

These are simply highlights of each actor's performance - they all sang, danced and acted superbly in all their scenes and I could only marvel at their consistently high standards. The games were great fun - we were divided into two teams, the Stars and the Fairies, to play Pass the Parcel, Pictionary, Hit the Balloon to the Stage and Charades. I was a Star, and sad to say, we were trounced by the Fairies - but the parcel we passed was wrapped in The Watford Observer, so that at least was a bit of compensation. The show had two standouts for me, although everything was so good it seems almost a shame to say it. Anna Rufey and a saronged Chris Clarke as Posh and Becks singing the 12 Days of Christmas were a true delight - the joke, of course, was Becks was too thick to count backwards. The Nativity play that closed the show was superb - packed with naughty children, an angel with mischief on her mind, a Mary who cried when told having a baby would make her fat and a shepherd finding ways to say naughty toilet words.

Richard Beaumont is a superb character actor, as he demonstrated with his interpretation of elderly thesp Sir Stanton Davenport and a mad Scotsman in the final rendition of Auld Lang Syne; yet for all his ebullience and brio, he projects an unmistakable air of vulnerability which is extremely affecting.In the Nativity play, he came on as the child stunned into silence by the whole experience of being in front of an audience - he looked out wordlessly in terror and your heart went out to him, a real achievement in the midst of high comedy.Musical Director Susana Castellot and percussionist Anthony Varney were equally excellent and lent another dimension of superb talent to the mix.Blag is a company that deserves to go places and it would be wonderful to think Lynn Beaumont will one day get her Christmas fantasy wish - to watch a Blag Christmas Special on Channel Four. It could happen.

Rosemary Lomax