PANTO absurdity was the order of the day at Bembridge Village Hall for two mid-November nights, followed by a subsequent weekend matinee, as the Bembridge Little Theatre Club presented their sideways-glancing adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

A 45-strong audience attended the opening night’s satirical fare.

Periodically chipping at the fourth wall, it was clear from the inaugural scene — delivered out of character by the effervescent Martie Cain — that the crux of the dialogue was going to revolve around orchestrated faux pas.

Missed cues, fudged lines and on-screen falling outs showcased the elements of a play that the audience would usually remain shielded from, accentuated through a pastiche of the actors’ personalities behind the roles, rather than the characters they portrayed, which were of little consequence during the unfolding turmoil.

This blurring was further clouded by the knowledge the actors perceptible to the audience were themselves fabrications.

At a stretch this layering drew parallels with the composition of Hollywood blockbuster, Inception, but without Leonardo DiCaprio and a big budget.

The whimsy generally hit the mark — John Hammond in the guise of Gordon, and Dianne Aspinall’s Mercedes character notably satisfying.

The duo’s collective simpering and portrayal as patsies dovetailed impeccably with the knotty dialogue.

The repetitive sound of police radio interference did go on a little beyond its shelf life and a curiously placed interval led into a terse cessation.

However, an accomplished cast, apt staging and exquisitely deposited punchlines were enough to secure the show’s status as an entertaining romp.

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