RAW Reviews

Will Lawton and The Alchemists

The first evening event inside The Benson Hall since the pandemic and all the necessary restrictions took over our lives, it was a pleasure to be entertained once more. First of all our thanks should go to the musicians but more than that to Dave and Marion Coward for laying it all on for us. We had a first class evening and the band did eventually run out of material to fill the many encores that they were called back to play for us. I have been to gigs where the end of the listed tracks came not a moment too soon but we were so well entertained that when they ran out of material I was genuinely disappointed.

I hope that it is not too long before we hear music in the hall again. Thank you Dave and Marion for laying it all on for us.

Funds raised are in aid of Compton Bassett Cricket Club


Benson Hall Saturday 8th October 2016

In a performance of Dracula that kept close to Bram Stoker’s original plot, The Last Ba-guette company souped-up the narrative and injected a frightful dose of slapstick and pa-thos to entertain us to the dark rites of vampirism. The energetic cast of four played 21 characters, to a good sized audience, negotiating their way around a tight set with aplomb. It was the actors strong sense of visual humour, accompanied by some excellent technical effects that probably gave the best returns; a back-lit screen dealt deliciously with the darker moments of gore with actors in shadow, while sound was used cleverly to accentuate the drama. The production rode the fine line between maintaining the ac-tual story and extracting the black humour contained within it. This was done well by a superb cast who delighted us with an array of comic gags and if the whole suffered a little with a script that drifted below their high standards at times, it was an engaging evening and we gave fangs for that.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Saturday 18 April 2015

Kevin Tomlinson and assistant Abi Hood, of Kepow Theatre, delighted us with a show brimming with seamless repartee and clever improvisation, feeding off ideas from a lively audience who were eager to interact; in fact Kevin observed that some suggestions were amongst the weirdest he’d encountered!

 Amid a fast moving array of sketches, costumes and characters, one of the highlights was Richard and Stephanie joining in on stage (see photo below) and overseeing a portrayal of themselves as a younger courting couple, very funny indeed.

Kepow Theatre have been to Compton Bassett once before, a few years ago and it was easy to see why they had been invited to return, to enthral a willing audience with intelligent and sometimes touching life situations, extracting all the humour they could possibly contain. 

Saturday 12 April 2014 - Benson Hall, Compton Bassett

In front of a packed house, Le Navet Bête performed their rollicking show at breakneck pace, which was warmly received by an enthusiastic audience.  A synopsis of the plot line is unnecessary; suffice it to say that Mel Brooks meets Sergio Leone in a melee of delicious madness and mayhem.  Good music, snappy and engaging sound effects, all helped to create the atmosphere of the wild west and much satire passed through Kidneystone town that night.  The fearsome foursome that are Le Navet Bête (the stupid turnip!), paraded their multi talented skills of acting, singing, dancing and acrobatics, all to great affect.  They also displayed a razor-sharp sense of comic timing and by the end of the evening had the audience in a firm hold.  We even had time for a delightful cameo by villagers Ann & Neal Ward who were ‘invited’ onto the stage to help out with a dance number (see photo). 

This was the latest in a series of Rural Arts Wiltshire Touring events that have been organised by Dave and Marion Coward as a way of providing entertainment in the village and helping to raise money for the cricket club at the same time.  Many thanks to both of them.

On Saturday 22 November we were entertained in captivating style and introduced to a less well known side of Charles Dickens, that of his talent as a magician and his fascination with spiritualism and ghosts. Not knowing if this was to be a show of magic with a bit of comedy thrown in, it proved to be much more than this. Ian Keable introduced us to Charles Dickens, the magician, and to some of his offbeat contemporaries in a melange of Victorian history, amazing sleight of hand tricks and tales of Victorian mysteries. It was all wrapped up in a most engaging and humorous way that had us amazed and baffled. The magic was punctuated with intriguing anecdotes which revealed Victorian preoccupations with the dark side. The delightful show was much enjoyed by a sell-out audience, some of whom participated in the magic tricks and Malcolm Seymour was very relieved to see his watch returned in one piece after seeing it ‘smashed’ before his eyes!