review Tribute to Betjeman

Cameo Theatre really knows how to entertain and inform. Always a fan of Betjeman, I was expecting (and looking forward to) a series of poetry readings – poems that I have thoroughly enjoyed over the years. When Cameo Theatre began their tribute to this fine poet, their show was far beyond such meagre expectations. In a seamless succession of character sketches and insights into the poet, we were introduced to some new, rarely- heard work but we were also allowed to bathe in the familiar beauty of some of the old favourites such as Diary of a church mouse and In Westminster.  As we witnessed the callous bureaucrat licking his lip over the demolishment of Westminster Abbey or the bickering members of a ‘wicked PCC’ it became obvious how ‘up-to-date’ this so-called ‘old-fashioned’ poet could be. His verses with their regular rhythm never developed the patter of poor poetry, rather they were filled with quipped turns of phrase that subtly cut to the heart of the matter with a barbed tongue.  We met caricatures of a variety of people we know; few aspects of human frailty, wickedness and eccentricity and religious attitude were left untouched.    

Gordon Cummings, Madeleine Forrester, Lindsey McCraig, Mike Morrish, Tricia Peroni, Stuart Warren, Andrew Watts and Martin Woodruff formed an excellent team of highly accomplished thespians. Director and show designer Rex Walford is to be congratulated for such a splendid production.

The show was all the more successful for the vital contributions of Tony Broscomb (Stage Director), Richard Peroni (Lighting Director), Wendy Walford (Costume Director and Production Manager) Linda Jarvis (Assistant Stage Manager).

This was indeed a most fitting “explorati0on and celebration of the faith, fears and foibles of Sir John Betjeman”.

For more information from the Betjeman Society contact: membership Secretary, 386 Hurst Rd.,Bexley, Kent DA5 3JY

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