RIBCHESTER Amateur Theatre Society's production of A Fly In The Ointment at the Village Hall was a stunning success.

The play is a fast-moving farce and requires the cast to create – with the minimum of explanation – a world that is surreal, but almost believable. The action is based on a series of mistaken assumptions.

The misunderstandings must be obvious to the audience, but not apparent to the cast. The dialogue must contain all kinds of ambiguities that the players must convey using body-language rather than by words.

Inevitably, it depends on some classic stereotypes – the bumbling male hero, his suspicious wife and scantily clad mistress plus some very unlikely additions, such as a sex-starved police-woman, a besotted GP, and a pizza delivery boy.

The production depends on some very precise timing, plus a cast that has memorised the disjointed logic of the plot. No problems, then!

David Procter, is the bumbling MP and Minister for the Environment, who has lost some incriminating photographs.

He is on stage for almost the entire show and holds the plot together; Caroline Hindle plays Donna, his very attractive piece of homework, who is ready to use the missing photos for blackmail; Sue Cronshaw plays Brenda the pizza-loving, love-lorn policewoman, who appears at inconvenient moments; Ann Lang is Louise, the Minister’s wife, who is fed a whole string of unlikely explanations from her husband; Will Thomas plays Albert the pizza delivery-boy, who happily pokes his nose into this bed of intrigue in a search for financial gain; and Peter Rabbitts is the befuddled GP who pursues Louise with a bunch of flowers and a bottle of gin – for courage!

An excellent ensemble of some very experienced Rats “old hands" and a couple of more recent recruits who thoroughly enjoy their roles and play them to the full and the clear enjoyment of the audiences.

This is a slick execution from Robin Simmons of a play by Derek Benfield. It is the first production in the newly completed village hall, which now has stair-access from the back-stage corridor to both sides of the stage. A huge improvement that has long been awaited by the R.A.T.S.