Grove Centre group shines at Spa show

Philip Hyde and Paul Johnson perform as Pip and Magwich.
Philip Hyde and Paul Johnson perform as Pip and Magwich.

The Grove Centre Drama Group performed their new play What The Dickens! to a packed audience at The Spa on Thursday, June 27.

The play, performed by adults with learning disabilities, kept the audience laughing throughout, with hilarious Dickensian characters stealing the show.

The plot focused on a “real life” drama group choosing one of three of Dickens’ famous stories to turn into a play.

A difficult decision to make, so why not try all three?

Great Expectations and Oliver Twist won the day, while Tale of Two Cities was rejected on Health and Safety grounds, when a realistic Guillotine, with moving parts, was produced to enhance the props.

Simon Pilcher, pantomime dame extraordinaire, played Miss Havisham in a wedding dress and veil. She manipulated the beautiful Estella (Pippa Harvey) and caused Pip (Paul Johnson) to break his heart. The audience shouted out their sympathy! Philip Hyde played Magwitch with gusto, and Paul Chew narrated.

A spokesman said: “The audience was teased into thinking the play had finished, then the actors surprised them with a crazy version of Oliver Twist.

“An unwilling Oliver reluctantly tried to play his part and manage the sound engineer’s job simultaneously! Paul Chew turned into Evil Bill Sykes, and surpassed himself with a blood curdling yell as he acted falling to his death from a roof top.

“Paul Johnson supported Fagin with his colourful Artful Dodger. Simon transformed into Mr Brownlow, and Philip Hyde played Mr Bumble.”

The drama group meets on Tuesday mornings,