Pattaya Players thrill theatre-goers with Neil Simon’s ‘Fools’

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Pattaya Players cast members in “Fools”, (from left, back row) Paul Strachan, Bob Smith, Andrew Murphy, Wendy Khan, Jayne Jouai, Doug Campbell, Luz Welsman, Gary Sharpe, Charles Elwin, (front kneeling) Truck Leveriza and director Sheldon Penner.
Pattaya Players cast members in “Fools”, (from left, back row) Paul Strachan, Bob Smith, Andrew Murphy, Wendy Khan, Jayne Jouai, Doug Campbell, Luz Welsman, Gary Sharpe, Charles Elwin, (front kneeling) Truck Leveriza and director Sheldon Penner.

On the evening of Saturday, 30 September, I attended Pattaya Players’ final performance of “Fools” at the Eastern Grand Palace Hotel.  The show was preceded by an all-you-can-eat buffet, complete with a cook-to-order BBQ, plus a dessert bar.  The food was a great way to get ready for the show.  There were about fifty patrons in attendance.

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Once the show was about to begin, I was ushered upstairs to the theatre.  The Players had constructed an elaborate set with many different entrances and exits.  Part of the stage was used to simulate a living space while the front portion was used to portray the outdoors.  This model seemed to work very well.  The walls were all decorated so the audience would know what the different shops were, including a doctor’s office and a butcher’s shop.  There was even a balcony used during parts of the show.

The troupe consisted of ten characters, nine of whom were trapped under an evil spell of stupidity that was cast over their village a century ago.  The tenth character, who was also the main character and the hero of the story was Leon, played by Charles Elwin.  Leon was a teacher who came to the village of Kulyenchikov to educate the doctor’s daughter Sophia, played by Luz Welmans, thereby breaking the spell.  It didn’t quite work out as planned, but it worked nonetheless, and the residents were able to resume their normal lives.  The school teacher also ended up marrying the leading lady – how romantic!

I heard that four members of the cast were entirely new to Pattaya Players – a couple of them having literally no stage experience at all.  But without knowing who they were in advance, it would have been impossible pick out the debutants.  All of the acting was wonderful – a true testament to their hard work throughout months of practice and the directing efforts of Sheldon Penner.

The audience members – myself included – all seemed to really enjoy themselves and were breaking out into laughter throughout the show.  Having attended Pattaya Players’ shows for many years now, I must say this was one of their best.  I would encourage everyone to come out and support them at future shows.  You can find them on the web at www.pattayaplayers.org.