Newcomers ski their way to comedy success at St Albans theatre

On the Piste

On the Piste - Credit: Archant

Performing a comedy set in France just over 24 hours after the Paris massacre was always going to be a tall order for the Company of Ten on Saturday.

So all credit to the St Albans theatre company that it pulled it off so successfully at the Abbey Theatre on Saturday night - after a minute’s silence - and had some of the audience howling with laughter.

John Godber’s On The Piste is not the easiest play to perform at the best of times. Set in Chamonix, it features two couples and their ski instructor so requires not only an impressive set but also a good team of actors.

Thankfully it had both and even though On The Piste is a bit patchy in places, that is the way it is written and no reflection of those performing it, three of whom were newcomers to the Company of Ten.

You always know when the Company of Ten has come up with an inspired set - when it draws spontaneous applause from the audience as the curtain goes up.

The cleverly designed ski slope and adjoining entrance to the Hotel Chamonix was excellent for an amateur company and the acclaim it received set the tone for the rest of the play.

Tom Pike took the role of lothario ski instructor Tony and from the outset he reminded me of the actor Kris Marshall not just in appearance but in mannerisms as well.

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He had the thankless task of training two novice couples, Ali and Chris (Naomi Jamboretz and Frank Ramsay) and Bev and Dave (Krystle Hall and Shyam Bansropun) and it is their relationships both with each other and with the other couple and Tony which is at the heart of the play.

Dave and Bev have the best lines and Shyam Bansropun and Krystle Hall milk them for all they are worth - he is particularly funny fending off Bev’s pleas that he should move in with her and then become engaged.

Ali and Chris are the more upper crust couple but they have their moments - the scene in the sauna is an absolute hoot. And for someone who has never acted before, Frank Ramsey deserves a special mention for the way he plays the cuckolded Chris.

Roger Scales directs with his usual attention to detail and On The Piste continues tonight (19), tomorrow (20) and on Saturday (21). Tickets can be obtained from the box office on 01727 857861 or click here.