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The Theatreguide.London Review

The Great British Country Fete
Bush Theatre       Summer 2010

The Bush Theatre's summer bagatelle this year is a slim and bouncy musical by Russell Kane, with songs by Michael Bruce.

The timely premise is that an entire country village is about to be displaced by a giant Tesco store, and the one local holdout holds a fair to remind the villagers and the corporate interlopers what will be lost.

But in a string of comic sketches and musical numbers what he finds (among others) are the little old lady jam-maker whose prejudices extend to dark-skinned fruits, a yuppie couple whose weekend farming includes trying to milk a male goat, Bulgarian migrant workers annoyed because the Poles get all the publicity, and his son who can't wait to get out and come out.

Is Olde England really worth saving, or is it as dead and stuffed as the village mentally-challenged under-employed person's pet ferret? Fear not a happy ending of sorts is reached somehow, though I doubt you'll remember - or care - how an hour later.

The three energetic and personable performers, Katie Brayben, Graham Lappin and Gabriel Vick, play everyone, taking turns accompanying each other on piano, guitar and (lord help us) accordion; and director Anthea Williams keeps things perking along in a happy spirit of acknowledging that it's all just a bunch of friends doing their party pieces.

Come to it in that spirit and the hour-and-a-quarter bounces by enjoyably.

Gerald Berkowitz

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Review of The Great British Country Fete - Bush  Theatre 2010


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