What happens when you bring a professional producer into your amateur theatre group?  What happens when that producer is a woman your leading actor has had an affair with?  And that woman has tendencies towards stalking...

When the new producer walks into their first rehearsal, Barney does his best to avoid her - but it's too late, she's seen him!  What can he do now?

In a story that involves Barney being murdered by his wife, a synthesiser with a mind of its own, and the group sabotaging the rehearsals for their own show, the Off-The-Wall Theatre Company eventually sort out their problem producer - and HMS Pinafore seems set to go ahead with the real cast - and a chorus of cardboard sailors.  But on opening night, who do they find sitting the front row? 

You guessed ... now what will they do?

Barney can't go on to play Ralph Rackstraw - at least, he can't allow himself to be seen.  So Robert is press-ganged into doing the part with the script, while Barney hides behind a cardboard sailor to sing the songs.  Unfortunately, things don't go to plan, so the cardboard sailor has to take the lead role on his own -

Thesps was performed LIVE in November 2008 at venues around South East Wales - if you missed it, here are some pictures from the show.

Here are some video clips, so you can see why the audiences loved it!

For a quick flick through the here

Video clip of the first rehearsal using Caroline's here

The murder!... click here

The suicidal here

The manic synthesiser ('My Gallant Crew, Good Morning') here

How to kill Caroline? here

The wemarkably fine here

The third cardboard here

Finally, the finale (not all of it!) here

And here's the NODA Review: 

'The world premier of a new play is an exciting occasion, especially when written by a member of the performing company.  Nigel Holloway's new comedy made its debut at Llanover Hall, Cardiff, in November, before moving on to play other venues in the area. 

The amdram group, the Off-the-Wall Theatre Company, are in rehearsal for HMS Pinafore when the chairman replaces the resident producer with a professional, Caroline, who turns out to be a slave-driving harridan causing considerable dissent and mayhem within the group.  The leading man, Barney, has had an affair with Caroline and is shot by his wife - Ralph Rackstraw decides to be Irish and the rest of the crew mutiny.  It all sounds like a pretty normal group to me!

Paul Buckle blundered and blustered as Barney, the romantically errant leading-man, egged on by Kevin Welch, as his more worldly-wise friend, Richard.  Janet Holloway was a flirtatious delight as Aggie, the Buttercup of the production, with Fiona Thomas, slinky and theatrical as chorus member, Christine.  Howard Turnbull gave a larger than life performance as the autocratic Chairman, with Liz Howson as his patient wife Anne.  Cheryl Payne, the rejected and complaining accompanist Doris, Rhiannon Rose, pert and pretty as the leading lady Sharon, Steve Davies, hesitant and bemused as new member Robert, and Kevin Morgan as Raymond, a dithering liability as Sir Joseph Porter, all added to the fun.  As the cause of all their angst, Sarah-Jane Waters stormed and raged as the frustrated producer Caroline, to great effect.

From endless rehearsals in chilly halls, we know all these people.  Nigel Holloway's sparkling comedy holds up a mirror so we can recognise them - and perhaps enjoy a laugh at ourselves.'

by Frank Wooles

© Nigel Holloway 2020