One of the highlights of my reviewing days for the Luton News was following that classy lot at the Little Theatre in Dunstable. From Rebecca to Home and beyond they gave me an enormous amount of theatrical pleasure. With directors such as Alistair Brown, Alan Goss, Peter Carter-Brown and the late and much missed Robin Hadcroft and Mona Norris, they turned out style by the bucketload. Okay, they occasionally threw in the odd turkey but that just added to the fun. But those mentioned, and a few more, regularly combined with a stream of first rate performers to set the standard by which I judged most other local companies. At their best only St Albans Company of Ten came anywhere near them on the local scene. Which, on the basis that you are allowed to chastise those you love, I occasionally stuck in my unwelcome hostile oar. I always want the Rep to be good.
Those sentiments apply in spades to the new season. Having directed one of their last season plays (I humbly declare an unseemly interest) I have seen their set up from the other side. Believe me it is a heady roller coaster ride but one rich in professionalism. They put on plays quicker than some of us change our underwear. And from September 2011 to July 2012 they are churning out six film related stage offerings. From Neil Simon's Plaza Suite to John Buchan's Thirty Nine Steps they are doing everything celluloid. They won't have the immortal Robert Donat (google him) but I am sure they will line up a list of directors and performers who will bring their own special slant to an interesting season.I will stick my interfering neck out and say that I reckon that audiences are in for a treat with this imaginative sextet. And being a keen racing man I intend to set up the 'Dunstable Rep Film Season Handicap Hurdle' with a prize for the best.
But it will be a handicap, so trainers and jockeys are all important. Some actors will carry more weight than others. Literally in some cases. I shall therefore sneak into their season launch party to assess the likely form and then talk to my local Ladbrokes. Purely in the interest of theatre. Even I can get better than 15/8 on one of those Browns. Roy Hall
Plaza Suite (30/9-8/10) - Christmas Carol (25/11-3/12) - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (20/1-28/1) - Blithe Spirit (16/3-24/3) - The Talented Mr Ripley (11/5-19/5) - Thirty-Nine Steps (13/7-21/7)