Rita’s Revenge by Margaret Graham is the latest production at Ifield Barn Theatre Society, 2 Ifield Street, Crawley, with performances from October 2-5 at 8pm and a matinee on October 5 at 3pm (tickets £10 on www.ticketsource.co.uk/ifieldbarntheatre).
Margaret is hoping it will help raise the profile: “Often Ifield Barn Theatre is referred to as a hidden gem, and I’m thinking it’s about time we took the hidden bit out!”
Margaret added: “There’s a bit of a story behind the story of Rita’s Revenge, my fourth play at Ifield Barn.
“It seems that there are those who remember with affection the first two 1960s Guesthouse family’ plays – Miniskirts & Revelations (2013) and its sequel Flowery Shirts & Strange Relations (2015). They both performed to sell-out houses and gained awards from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association.
“In Flowery Shirts Chris, the mum, was seen sloping off to the village hall to play the lead in Rita’s Revenge (she thought grandma wouldn’t approve).
“At home Chris secretly rehearsed with her lodger Ivan, holding the realistic-looking play book I had mocked up, the back cover complete with summary and accolades.
“Later some of the cast said they liked the look of it and could we please stage this unknown play? They took some convincing it didn’t actually exist! The nagging continued for years until, after Benches (2017) I finally gave in and wrote it.
“The result is that this October, I and my co-director Joy Buchan intend to lift autumn spirits with a flavour of late 1960s attitudes, music, fashions – and hopefully some good old belly-laughs. Slight warning: it’s a cheeky comedy with some ‘language’.
“Rita’s Revenge is partly a spin-off from my guesthouse family plays, but if you haven’t seen them, not to worry. It stands firmly in its own right too.
“Chris/Rita and her fellow cast members will be followed through their chaotic rehearsals under their eccentric and bossy director, Mrs James. Will precious method-actor Tim manage to embrace the role of dastardly Raymond Brillianteen? Who is Dot/Glamorous Gloria pulling apart behind the scenes? What ludicrous excuse will Fred next send to explain his absence?”