Dewsbury Arts Group is back with a bang in 'Dry Rot' revival

After losing an entire season to lockdown, Dewsbury Arts Group are back with a bang.

By Review by Paul Goulden
Saturday, 9th October 2021, 4:00 pm
Cast members in Dewsbury Art Group's production of Dry Rot
Cast members in Dewsbury Art Group's production of Dry Rot

They chose to restart with a revival of "Dry Rot" by John Chapman.

They last performed it in 1979 but it was originally written in the fifties for the Brian Rix company and enjoyed a long run at the famous Whitehall theatre.

An unashamed farce, with no hidden meaning it seems to appeal both to those who were brought up on Rix and a generation introduced to farce by the Mischief company.

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After an unavoidably slow first scene where the family owned country house hotel setting is laid out, the action really starts in scene two when the first guests arrive and turn out to be a crooked bookmaker and his accomplices.

They aim to substitute a ringer for the favourite in a local race meeting.

Their interaction, between themselves and the other cast members, is a master class in both one liners and physical theatre.

The plot thickens when a jockey who only speaks French arrives at the hotel prior to riding the champion.

All the classic farce features are included; a set with multiple doors and a dodgy staircase (the Dry Rot), a dozy maid and men stripping to their vintage underwear.

Skilfully directed by Susan Saville, this is a real ensemble piece with too many excellent performances to mention by name. Even the young romantic leads who are not really part of the farce at all are very sweet.

The audience loved it.

Incidentally, while they have not been able to perform the group has not been idle and the David and Judith Wood Theatre now has air conditioning and a new, disabled-friendly main entrance.