Writer Keith Large’s legendary stage play The Carrot Nappers enjoyed further success to a full house as the closing act of the Belper Short Play Festival. It featured an all-star cast Jeff Stewart who played PC Reg Hollis in ITV’s The Bill and stars in the new McDonald’s advert. Also staring was Sean Glenn from Ken Loach’s BAFTA nominated Navigators, Carrie Hill who also plays in Keith’s latest radio success Fists and Chips and Stuart Horobin. Carrot Nappers has Carry On style comedy that features the allotment antics of an out of work nightclub bouncer who is employed to guard a prize carrot. It was filled with snappy-one liners that were delivered with perfect comic timing and showcases the brilliant talents of the actors and Keith Large’s pen.
The Carrot Nappers is the latest play from the pen of the versatile and innovative Keith Large and
concerns the theft of a seventeen foot prize-winning carrot from an allotment set against the
background of the aptly named Love Shed. It is both humorous and captivating, interlaced with
mildly sexual connotations which only serve to enhance the flavour of the storyline.
Albert Jackson, played by Jeff Stewart of "The Bill" fame, is the mild, affable, totally unruff-
led allotment worker, almost avuncular in character, who extolls the virtues of home made cider
amongst other things.
Vinnie Hollis, ( Stuart Horobin ) an unemployed bouncer and clearly agitated guardian of the
giant carrot, is more than desirous to recover it to say the least. Needless to say, he originally
suspects Albert. The verbal altercations between these two protagonists set the tone for what
clearly follows, when Vinnie chooses to enlist the help of former girlfriend Lisa ( Carrie Hill )
who promptly steals the show.
She is chosen as the matchmaker for Vinnie who, with her help, hopes to discover the
culprit behind the theft. Lisa is subtly beguiling, full of feminine trickery interspersed with
sexual charm, altogether the ideal personification of a late 1960's glamour chic. The fact
that this play is not set in that decade hardly matters.
With the allure of the allotment's "Love Shed" she sets the trap for Onion Head ( Sean
Glenn ) whom Vinnie suspects is behind the theft of the giant carrot. Onion Head, despite
his wildly exaggerated romantic notions, is a likeable character. He meets up with Lisa at
the appointed rendezvous and subsequently, as one would expect, succumbs to her sed-
uctive charms before suspecting that someone is hiding in wait behind the shed.
After the ensuing scene in which Onion Head looses his trousers following a fight to retain
his twelve carat gold ring, Albert nonchalantly makes his reappearance. But is Albert the
dark horse? Has he a secret to hide? And what is the significance of the much maligned
Verdict :- A well crafted play with precise diction and diverse characterisation.
P.Watson Belper Short Play Festival Official Reviewer