By Ken Ludwig

Lend Me A Tenor was to be first occasion in which we have revived a play we had done previously. However, we did not revive it exactly; the script had changed since the last time and we had a different director. Ruairidh decided to set the play in the 1950s in Britain, believing that there is something quintessentially British about a farce and that this farce is one of the very best. He should know, he was in our original production.

the biggest challenge for us with this play is the need for a box set - it's all about the doors don't you know! As the set had to be be reassembled more than once since we were touring the production, it also needed to fit into our van. So between Ruairidh, Paul and Liz, a cunning plan was hatched, designed and with the help of the Company, built. It was such a great team effort.

Although the setting changed for this production, a few familiar faces from the first time round reprised their roles. Paul Buckle played the downtrodden, but ultimately successful, Max, stealing the show each night with his comic timing. Ably abetted by Steve Davies, playing his rather uptight boss, Henry. Steve was wonderful each night as his eye-popping frustration rang out across the theatre. And the final reprise was of the great Italian tenor himself, Tito Morelli, played to perfect comedic effect by Nigel Holloway. Joining this band, were all the newbies to the roles. Helen Stubbs played Maggie, Henry's sister who is desperate to meet the great tenor. helen balanced the right level of determination with comic  delivery that made the ineptitude of the character hilariously endearing. She was ably supported by Helen Windsor who was the larger-than-life Aunt Julia, the doyenne of the opera guild, determined for success, in an iron fist in a velvet glove kind of a way, who brought the house down each night as she tried to persuade a reluctant Tito with her womanly charms to no avail. Every farce needs a vamp, and with Ellie Hoare they got what was wanted. Dressed to the nines she powered her way across the men on the stage, getting her way to devastating effect. And if this was not enough, Aileen Rahillly was the feisty Italian spouse Maria, who you certainly would not mess with and she knew how to wield a shoe! And finally to our newest member Ben Mussell, would played the over-the-top bellhop. Every night he burst on to the stage singing his lungs out. A great performance. So all in all a perfect cast who worked brilliantly together.

This was particularly evident in the final piece-de-la-resistance, the walk down. with the over the top re-run of the entire show to a piece of music called Divertissement by Jacques Ibert which was incidental music for a 1930s farce by Labiche called Un Chapeau de Paille d'Italie. At 85 seconds, it was a fast and furious finale, which brought down the house every night!

The cast were supported by Laura on sound, making sure all the arias happened in the right place and Ruairidh making sure the performers were not only lit well but were lit at the right moments from the lighting desk. Costumes had been especially made by Fiona and Paul to capture the new-look glamour of the 1950s and boy were they impressive, giving the right air of authenticity, along with the set, to the period.

We were nominated in all 4 acting categories at the Glamorgan Drama League "Glammies" Awards in June 2014 and we were shortlisted in all these categories on the night. Nigel won Best Supporting Actor against stiff competition. Ruairidh also wonConcept Players win big for Lend Me A Tenor Best Director for the second year running and we won the biggest prize of the evening, also second year in a row, Best Play! So quite a haul! We were  offered a place at the National All Winners Final but unfortunately due to the lack of rehearsal time and cost could not go to the Isle of Man to defend our title from the previous year which was a real shame.

This farce has it all. Unrequited love, requited love, doors, arguments, mistaken identity, chases and the ultimate feel-good ending. With such a strong team working on everything from costumes, set, lighting, sound, design, construction through to the acting and the performances itself, it could not be bettered.


 The set being constructed in Penarth


Julia and employs her womanly ways on Nigel's award winning Tito

The two tenors! 

The dénouement