Eye-wateringly hilarious every year, and 2012 will be no exception as the Milton Abbot Players players turn their talents to No Sex Please, We're British by Anthony Marriot and Alistair Foot. Yes, it's time for the annual village play.
First night tonight of the four night run, a play staged in the village hall every November since 1928. Traditionally staged in November so that the farmers would be finished with harvest and able to rehearse, and in the post war days the Players even used to tour their production around the local villages. Sets were packed onto the back of tractors and trailers and transported to various venues such as Launceston Town Hall, Tavistock, Lamerton, at Broadwoodwidger in a marquee, Chillaton Hall and Luckett.
I first saw No Sex Please We're British in London back in 1972, in the days when the London theatres would ring up the Nurses' Home and offer free tickets to any of us who wanted to turn up at the Box Office. We watched this one from the posh seats and I remember thoroughly enjoying a free night out, though not a lot about the plot...
Peter and Francis Hunter have a nice flat above Peter’s bank.
However due to an unfortunate mistake by Francis they find themselves inundated with pornographic materiel from the Scandinavian Import Company. Hilarious problems ensue, brought to a head by the arrival of two girls from the company, to provide their own special services!
So last year Bookhound did the props with Jim the Postie and this year likewise, but Bookhound and I were also asked to take on the added and very responsible duty of Box Office. We have taken over from the couple who have been doing it since forever who decided it needed 'young' blood.
Anyway we have taken phone bookings for over 400 tickets, allocating them to preferred seats on preferred night of four on big seating plans, tickets (except there aren't any 'actual' tickets) to be collected and paid for on the door each night ...I mean, what can possibly go wrong??
'Hello...is that the number for No Sex Please We're British??'
'Er... yes, yes it is, how may we help??'
'Well you know I rang two days ago and wanted four seats in Row D...well can I change that now for six seats a bit further back??'
Then a few days later...
'You know those six tickets I booked...well can I make it five now.'
And we take the eraser to the chart and update the list and have had lovely chats with everyone who has phoned, and while we've been on the phone Nell has taken full advantage and chewed something she shouldn't and I just hope I have remembered to turn the phone off before I yell at her, ask her nicely not to. I will probably have a torch and show people to their seats each evening, and rip the corner off the tickets and sell ice creams at half time and things like that.
The phone has (thankfully) been ringing non-stop and the four nights of the play are almost a sell-out,(though tonight you could pitch up at the door, there are tickets available...£5 each) but so funny how everyone knows the minute we sit down for supper, or lunch or Downton, or fall asleep on the sofa with the dog and then all jump up with a start.
Bookhound meanwhile has been tearing his hair out sourcing a small desk, a metal waste-bin, smoke that won't choke the audience and require emergency evacuation of the village hall, plus various other unmentionable sundries, and many thanks to Tavistock Area Support Services for the loan of four large boxes of sex manuals from their book sale stock... well actually hundreds of faux-leather-bound (very wrong words considering...) copies of the Reader's Digest, but hopefully everyone will be too busy laughing to notice that.