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The 20th Lorn Drama Festival put on another fine programme of plays for the crowds at Oban’s Corran Halls last week.
The festival put on three nights of live theatre for the audience’s enjoyment, from drama societies from Benderloch, Seil, Taynuilt, Dalmally and Accent from Campbeltown – but sadly not Lochgilphead Drama Club, which had to pull out due to illness on the Friday.
The last-minute replacement acts, which were not judged, included a humorous talk titled A Tale of Two Ships by the Oban War and Peace Museum’s Bill Leech, which ranged from stories of an escaped monkey in Benderloch to shipwrecks carrying 50,000 left-footed sandals.
Linda Robb performed a short comedy by Geoff Parker called ‘Is That You Clint?’ about meeting her heavy-breathing stalker, and Anuschka Miller performed her original story A Little Voice.
Vivienne Price, Kathleen Hannigan and Carol Thomson then read Robert Service’s poem The Haggis of Private McPhee, sent to the WWI soldier for a Burns Supper in his trench, before a German bombs blows it up, but the thought of the haggis drives a legless McPhee back to the line.
The festival featured seven plays, including Last Tango In Little Grimley by Dalmally and Lochawe Drama Group, and Tom Stoppard’s A Separate Peace by Benderloch and North Connel Drama Club. The festival’s adjudicator Dave Bennett praised the quality of all the performances, as did audience members.
Taynuilt and District Drama Society’s performance of Trio won the biggest cluster of trophies: best moment in comedy, the adjudicator’s award, and the highest marks for dramatic production.
Vivienne and David Price, the play’s producer and sound manager respectively, said: ‘Trio is set in a concert hall and features three characters, Violin, Viola and Cello, who go through the motions of farce to savage ends.
‘The author, James Saunders, said of his work: ‘If there is any theme that runs through my work, it is the absurdity of finding logic in anything.’ His play, Trio, is an good example of what he meant.
‘It is an extremely challenging ensemble piece both for the actors and the technical team and what we achieved was due to their total commitment to the play.
‘We had no idea how the audience would react to the piece and we were amazed and delighted with the result.’
In the junior section, Taynuilt and District Drama Society (Juniors) won first prize with Mark Rees’ moving wartime play Remembrance set in a British park in 1915, followed in second place by Benderloch and North Connel Drama Club (Juniors) with their comic production Prof’s Big Idea by Geoff Bamber. Remembrance’s end scene also earned the award for the best moment in theatre.
Seil Drama Group’s play set on an island called All By Myself picked up the stage management award, and the highest marks for stage set was won by The Magic Roundabout performed by Accent Players, about two road workers who find a lady camping on a roundabout.
The festival’s chair David Price said: ‘Whilst I am delighted to see a small resurgence of interest in amateur theatre, I think it is true to say that all our local societies are on the look out for new blood. So, if you’re inspired to take part, don’t hesitate to get in touch.’