There’s nothing more English than local amateur dramatics and no show that has more perfectly captured its essence than A Bunch of Amateurs. Written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, it has the incisive wit that I anticipated but its sharpness is judiciously employed to titillate not to wound. This play is most definitely a celebration not a satire.

Fading movie star Jefferson Steele, accepts an offer to play King Lear at Stratford hoping to re-boot his career — but much to his chagrin he has confused a Suffolk village’s amateur dramatic outfit with the RSC. Though loudly demanding to be extricated from the project, circumstances conspire to compel him to see it through. On the journey he learns as much about himself as the Bard’s seminal work, and is rejuvenated by the power of collaborative effort undertaken for love rather than personal gain.

Lest you think this all sounds a bit worthy I would stress that this is a hilarious play full of colourful archetypes, much visual as well as verbal humour and the funniest ‘blasted heath’ scene you will see.

A charismatic performance from Mitchell Mullen as the egocentric Jefferson is supported by a skilled cast, including Jackie Morrison as the love interest Dorothy, Michael Hadley as self-appointed diva Nigel, Damian Myerscough as good-natured joker Denis, and the outstandingly funny Sarah Moyle as B&B owner Mary. Much of the empathy in the piece comes from the relationship between Jefferson and his daughter Jessica, a feisty Eleanor Brown.

Director Caroline Leslie provides a light but disciplined framework for the actors to delight in their characters, while designer Tom Rogers has created a remarkably clever set that effortlessly whisks you to the different locations of the story.

Playing at the Watermill until June 28, I highly recommend this amiable show to anyone who is hankering after a good laugh.