Overly Dramatic #1 – 3*
Summer Season #2 – 4*
He’s Behind You #3 – 4*
A series based around an amateur dramatics group based in Greenwich, London called the Sarky Players. These books are low on angst, with amusing stories about life in an Am Dram group.
The first book, Overly Dramatic, is told solely from Andy’s POV. He’s recently moved to London after leaving his cheating boyfriend and to fill in his time he decides to join the Sarky Players where he gets cast as a vicar in a bawdy farce where he plays opposite a paper maiche goat. Sounds ridiculous? That’s kind of the point. At any given time in the UK you can find an ‘Oops. Where’s My Trousers? Oh Er, Vicar.’ style play being staged somewhere.
There is a large cast of side characters in this story and with only Andy’s POV it is unclear at first who the love interest will be, as he meets both Ryan (actor) and Phil (props man) through the Players. In the end, it is Phil who catches his eye but this is also the area where the story falls down for me. With so much going on the romance gets left behind. Andy and Phil don’t get enough on page time together for me to really believe in their romance (and I wanted to so badly). Because of the low-key romance this is probably the least favourite of trio for me but it does give a solid background to the theatre group and introduces us to the lead for the second story: Summer Season.
Summer Season focuses on the flirty Ryan from the previous story. The Sarky Players have taken to the road and headed for Cornwall to perform Shakespeare for a couple of weeks at a coastal theatre. There Ryan meets Stuart, a local recently back in the village while he looks for a job. They get off on the wrong footing but soon put that to rights and embark on a summer fling. Turns out Ryan isn’t quite the slut that his friends think he is. In this book, we get both MCs POV and a much more romance focused storyline, and because of that I enjoyed both the couple and their story much more than the first.
The final book in the series takes up pretty much where the second finishes (in fact, the three cover the space of a year) with Stuart dragging his new work colleague, Craig, to the Sarky Players as they get ready to cast their Christmas panto. (This is not a spoiler. The clue is in the title. Oh, no, it’s not!)
Craig is a nerd, heavily into Warhammer, and resigned to his belief that everybody leaves. So, when he gets together with Jason, who is older than him and has only just started exploring his sexuality, Craig is already prepared for the relationship to end before it properly begins. This, more than the age gap and the difference in their hobbies, is what puts a strain on their relationship. In this one I’d have liked to see more of the theatre side of things, however, it was good to see Stuart and Ryan playing matchmaker and Phil providing an ear for Craig’s worries.
Overall this series was a fun, light read with little to no angst, aside from some internal insecurities brought on by past events/previous relationships, with humour that is distinctively British in feel.