THREE small and very different comedies are a challenge for any company to produce in a single evening – and when two of the 10 leading Dorchester Drama actors are forced to pull out at the last moment through illness, things start getting very tough indeed.

All credit must go to the cast and directors who overcame seemingly insuperable difficulties to stage the production in spite of everything.

Top of the bill was the shortest play, Coxcomb by Alan Melville. In this absurd parody of an 18th century drama the entire dialogue has the letter S changed to the letter F.

Stella Hollis and Tom Horsington play an aristocratic couple while Laura Smith is their filly fervent – sorry, silly servant.

In John Reason’s Comedienne, he takes a nostalgic look at the days of variety music hall where a female comedy duo, played by Ann Ottaway and Tina Rutherford meet and relive their good old days.

Director Trevor Williams took a leading role at short notice as the pianist while Lee Stroud was the vulgar show producer with Sam Kelly as a naïve newspaper reporter and Laura Smith as a drama student trying the learn the ropes.

Finally, Robert Duncan’s Clematis, set in 1938, is a play within a play in which two companies perform the same work. Simon Jackson, Jonathan White and director Peter Wheeler completed the line-up.

The plays continue today and tomorrow.