I'm going trad on this one this week. I love the theatre. Not so many moons ago, I had a season subscription for about four years with a very reputable theatre company here called the "Ensemble". It's a repertory theatre which featured a few regulars and a number of well-known Australian thespians, comedians, television and film actors. A bunch of us would lob up three or four times a year for the 5pm Matinee then book somewhere luscious for dinner and all in all it was a great night out but frankly, the fun stuff is the Amateur Theater.
We have three locally. One in Glenorie where one of Adam's Friends often 'sings' in the odd musical. Another very good one at Castle Hill where they even get a bit risque and produce plays such as Equus . . in teh nuddy and all but the piece de resistance is in Bilpin
Now Bilpin is hicksville with an edge. It's not near a city and it's not quite the Blue Mountains. It's hill country full of orchards and spelling paddocks but the locals are decidedly 'ocker', so much so that I catch myself counting their fingers and missing feet. It's in a time warp. Dental hygiene seems unknown and the mullet and flanellette shirt are mandatory.
The RSL is tiny and there's no 'paid' bar staff. Instead the locals take turns delivering cold beer, only two varieties, a small range of spirits, gin, vodka and whiskey and of course that Australian institution . . .boxes of 'goon' or red and white wine, usually sweet. Go in there and ask for a Fluffy Duck or a Black Russian and you'll be branded a 'poof' and quickly marched out the door.
So it's rather surprising that . . . half way up the mountain in a rather nicely appointed community hall nestled among the gum trees and apple orchards, being serenaded by bellbirds, the Bilpin Players not only put on a passable play but also a cheese platters on arrival (ok they use Jatz Biscuits and the Brie comes out of a can) a terrific roast dinner, the Aussie Pavlova and assorted 'dainties'. All the punters have to do is turn up with their BYO Wine and $25 buckaroos for a pretty decent night.
So it's not quite the Ensemble, certainly not the Sydney Theatre Company and not a patch on The Stables or Belvoir Street Theatre but it's fun, they're good, and there's always a giggle when someone forgets their lines and a muffled whisper from the sidelines fills in the gaps and corrects the mondegreens:
"Psst . . it's not 'constipated cross-eyed bear you twit!' . . .You mean 'A consecrated cross I'd bear!'