Cherry picker makes sure the show goes on

An am dram group are using a cherry picker in their play. Grace Anderson plays Little Voice. Lee Wise of Cannings operates the lift

An am dram group are using a cherry picker in their play. Grace Anderson plays Little Voice. Lee Wise of Cannings operates the lift Buy this photo

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by

THE latest production by an amateur dramatic society has been rescued by a rather unusual saviour.

The Wantage based The AmEgos group is staging The Rise and Fall of Little Voice next month, based on the 1992 Michael Caine film.

But problems arose when one particular scene required an unorthodox prop, a cherry picker.

Director Lesley Phillips wasn’t hopeful but thought she would ask plant and tool hire firm LJ & CA Cannings of Challow if she could borrow one. To her surprise, they said yes.

Ms Phillips said: “It really was a shot in the dark, but we have no funding and rely on the goodwill of local people and businesses to help us.

“We were so thrilled when they agreed, it means Little Voice can be rescued, but I don’t want to spoil the plot.”

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice was written by Jim Cartwright and was first produced in 1992. It was adapted for screen in the film Little Voice that also starred Jane Horrocks and Ewan McGregor.

Les Canning, director of LJ & CA Cannings, said: “It’s not often we get asked to save a theatrical production. As a local family business we do try to help the community wherever we can and, although it is a strange request, we thought it would be fun to have one of our machines take a starring role in a play.”

The next job is the small task of teaching Michael Dukes, who plays Billy in the play, to operate it.

Mr Dukes, 22, said: “I am really excited to get in it – boy toys and all that.

“My training starts next week and I am looking forward to turning up on the day and finding out what it’s all about.”

All his training will hopefully pay off on the night when he pulls the levers to gently lower his co-star Grace Anderson from a first-floor window back down to earth.

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Miss Anderson, 22, is the real-life daughter of the director, and they will be playing Little Voice and her mother on stage in the production.

She said: “It is going fantastically – I am sure that will all change when the technical rehearsals start.

“I have been wobbling about up there a bit.

“I don’t feel entirely safe, but there are some buttons up there that I can play around with.”

  • The play runs from September 6 to 8 at King Alfred’s School theatre.
  • Tickets are available from The Vale and Downland Museum and wegottickets.com/ amegos

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