A Chorus of Disapproval (2018)

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Poster by Bryon Fear

by Alan Ayckbourn

Directed by Lisa Thomas

Performances: Tuesday 5th – Saturday 9th June 2018 and Saturday matinee, Old Fire Station


The action takes place in various locations over the course of about five months as PALOS (Pendon Amateur Light Operatic Society) rehearse their production of JohnGay's The Beggar's Opera.




Withe many thanks to: Stevie Hughes and Bromley Little Theatre for letting us have their piano accompaniment, Alan Walker (and his longsuffering family and neighbours) for teaching us the songs and hosting several music rehearsals, Schotts Music for digging out a copy of The Beggar's Opera score, Emma-Jane Wilson for looking after the piano until it could return to SLT.


Anne Gilmour

Jo Matthews and I had a very enjoyable evening at SLT Gala performance of this excellent Alan Ayckbourn play. Great to see their newly refurbished theatre: still a little more work to do, but much more open and light and a lovely new performance space. Thank you SLT for a great evening.

Charlotte Benstead

Everyone has already said lovely things about ‘Chorus’ so hope everyone who can, gets to the matinee tomorrow – lots of laughs and a great cast who all get their moment to shine. Really enjoyable show – aren’t we lucky to have so many fabulous people in our club!

James Griffin

Chorus of Disapproval: yet another wonderful production. Thanks for loss of laughs and a great evening and lovely to see so many of you. The refurbished theatre looks (and smells) lovely.

Jessica Osorio

Loved the show last night. Congratulations to Lisa and all the cast and crew. Laughed a lot. Few moments that brought back memories of shows I have worked on

Lee Ridgeway

A massive well done to Lisa and all the cast and crew for ‘Chorus’ last night. It was lovely to actually watch it. I laughed LOTS...

Will Howells

Absolute joy seeing @SLTheatre‘s A Chorus of Disapproval last night. Very funny with some brilliant cringe moments for anyone who’s done amateur musicals.

Clive Manning

A Chorus – seriously good work from a seriously good cast. Loved every minute.

Chaz Doyle

It’s wonderful! Some brilliantly comic performances with touches of sweet heartache.

Carole Coyne

Lisa has really made the most of her very talented cast for this clever Ayckbourn play about an amateur dramatic company and their intrigues and relationships. We can all relate to some of the characters I am sure but this group manage to cram rather more colourful experiences into one show than we do! Keep an eye out for some of the characters who are not speaking who are giving wonderful little cameos. There is a great scene too between Kelly and Siobhan but no spoilers. A shout out too to Alan Walker who got just the right amount of professionalism from the singers.

Christine Theophilus

Wonderful first night at SLT – what a fabulous show Chorus is – and what a great company! Congratulations!

Norwood Action Group

Thanks for the invite to tonight’s gala performance. NAG loved it and can’t wait to return. Amazing talent in our midst and such a dedicated team working ‘behind the scenes’ to bring this special place to life again. Keep up the great work.

Ingrid Murphy

Go and see this play! I went on the opening night and really enjoyed it! I love Ayckbourn anyway and the cast was great! Everyone committed to their role and it was a nice flow to the production. The ‘fight’ scenes were very funny (in a good way!) and I want to give a shout out to Jason Salmon as Dafydd. He played Dafydd fantastically – brilliant comedic timing, totally in character throughout and he was perfect in the role! A thoroughly enjoyable evening – well done to all cast and crew!

Sardines review (Paul Johnson)

South London Theatre has been through a massive upheaval over the past couple of years. Sardines readers will remember that in order to survive the society, whose home is based at the Grade 2 listed Old Fire Station (horse-drawn!) in London’s West Norwood, was forced to move out of the 19th century building while a major restoration project was initiated with the help of Heritage Lottery Funding.

Well, this week I was lucky enough to attend the fifth production since SLT moved back into its revamped and highly impressive theatre space – which is now also a community heritage site. As someone who spent many an evening watching shows and plays at SLT’s ‘old’ Bell Theatre (main) and Prompt Corner (studio), you would hardly recognise the place now; there’s even a modern lift servicing the whole building.

The venue’s new versatile, intimate 100-seat auditorium is currently playing host to Alan Ayckbourn’s 1984 am-dram masterpiece, A Chorus of Disapproval... a title many of us have either seen of been part of over the years. Made into a star-studded film in 1989 by Michael Winner and featuring a who’s who of British acting talent such as Anthony Hopkins, Jeremy Irons, Jenny Seagrove, Prunella Scales and Richard Briars to name just a few, Ayckbourn’s play is a fond (if not slightly exaggerated) snapshot of the goings-on in amateur theatre societies all over the country.

Guy Jones is a recent widower who decides to try out for Pendon Amateur Light Operatic Society and their upcoming production of The Beggars’ Opera. The naive – and much-needed – male performer is an instant hit with the group’s highly dedicated director, Dafydd ap Llewellyn, as well as most of the society’s middle-aged, married women. Through one way or another, including several intimate encounters, Guy finds himself being promoted from a one-line role to the lead part of Macheath, where somehow, by the time of the run, he seems to have upset virtually everyone.

SLT’s production is very funny and well-cast throughout with emphasis on vividly bringing Ayckbourn’s characters to life. Unfortunately, the singing (throughout the play we hear excerpts from various rehearsals as well as some of the final production) isn’t up to much more than resembling something of a cats’ chorus, which is a little surprising as the fictitious society is after all supposed to be an ‘operatic’ one – so surely, there would have been a number of strong singers within its membership! As it isn’t obvious to tell whether or not the cast have been directed to deliberately sing under-par it’s impossible to throw too much judgement but I did find myself feeling rather sorry for PALOS’s fictitious paying customers.

Away from the music, I adore how director Lisa Thomas has squeezed every ounce of comedy from her cast and Ayckbourn’s very funny script. In an ensemble-heavy play, top marks must go right across the board but with special plaudits to Jason Salmon’s remarkable portrayal of proud Welshman Dafydd ap Llewellyn; Adam Crook’s unfortunate innocent Guy (he just needs to learn to say ‘no’); Siobhán Campbell’s terrifying Bridget (her constant mocking of and eventual fight with Kelly-Kim Cranstoun as Linda is beautifully done); Penny Thomas as swinging wife, Fay (always partial to a bit of VEAL); and Ian Cuthbert as cuddly-but-can’t-act-for-toffee Ted Washbrook, who Dafydd hilariously upsets in one of his passionate rants.


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