I think it was Les Dawson who said that in order to play the piano very badly you first have to be able to play it very well and the same goes for the type of comedy in the famous Farndale Avenue series of plays - you have to totally commit to taking them completely seriously to really make them work.

It was perhaps the failure to entirely embrace this basic tenent, which held back Abergavenny Theatre Group’s most recent production at the Borough Theatre and prevented it reaching the heights of its predecessor The Revlon Girl, which saw a welcome return to form for the company.

At heart, this is a tale of a group of people deperately trying to save a production and their dignity against all the odds, so ironically playing it for laughs actually makes it less funny.

It’s a hard technique to master, because too far the one way and the audience feels uncomfortable and too far the other and it cuts the humour.

For Theatre Group, sadly allowing themselves to be in on the joke meant that we - or at least I - found it less funny.

For me, also the cast was a little bit too young to drag the humour out of the play. Seeing a young person on rollerskates or stuck in a shopping trolley is funny - but not as funny as when that person is on the other side of 39 and of a certain breed as conjoured up by the title of the play.

That said, there were some solid performances  from the cast headed by Cecilia Bawler as the ever optimistic Mrs Reece, who failed to be cowed even when the opening scenes were played to the back of the stage.

Molly Brickley Clark also worked hard as Thelma/ Macbeth, with great support from Les Hayes as Henry/ Lady Macbeth.

As the three witches Janine Davies, Rachael Beck and Becca Roberts worked hard to extract the maximum laugh from rubber noses, lost specs and ever increasing injuries, with Rachael’s physical humour lifting every scene.

Henry Beck as David Plummer stole the final scenes with his breakneck rendition of Macbeth’s lines while Laura Iwanski raised a laugh as she flipped between playing Lady McDuff’s son to Banquo’s ghost - taking to a shopping trolley in the process.

Equally solid cameos came from Marilyn Balkwill as pianist Gwynneth and Jack White as the eccentric adjudicator George Peach, whose summation of the ‘performance’ was uncannily accutrate and instantly recognisible to anyone who has ever lived through the drama compeititon experience.

At a time when putting on an amateur production is far from easy, it’s great to see Abergavenny Theatre Group back on stage and back at the Borough and with a cast which bodes well for the future.

Perhaps this was not the best choice of play and I certainly look forward to seeing what they opt for next because with their blend of enthusiasm and talent this is a company capable of great things.