Archive for February, 2011

Review of Young Nomad’s production of Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Round and Round the Garden’ in the King’s Theatre Newmarket on Thursday 24th February 2011

February 25, 2011

The future of drama in Newmarket is assured. Young Nomads, under the directorship of Wallace Wareham, entertained a packed audience in the King’s Theatre Newmarket with a wonderful production of Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Round and Round the Garden’. These young thespians certainly knew their stuff and brought the characters to life as well as any experienced company.

Norman (played by Tom Stanford) was a deliciously seductive womanizer, Tom (Joshua Jenkins) a relatively insensitive and preoccupied vet, Sarah (Rebecca Littlechild) a woman very much in charge, Annie (Jenny Offley) an impressionable stay-at-home girl, Reg (Joshua Matthews) the irritating husband of Sarah and Norman’s wife, Ruth (Rosmy Cesaro) was expectantly confused and long suffering.

In a typically hilarious way, events contrived to send these couples in a whirl of frustrating developments in their relationships. Norman and Annie’s planned weekend away never quite got off the ground. Norman’s insatiable desire for the female form certainly ruffled Sarah’s otherwise immaculate countenance and Tom seemed to take forever to express his desire for Annie. The off-stage cat up the tree had a major role in distracting the reticent vet.  Also off-stage was the mother who needed constant care and who brought this large family together.

In typically Ayckbourn fashion, these fine actors and actresses poked fun at society’s attitudes and couples’ irritations of the day: Reg and Tom, two bores chatting about the mundane issues of cars were completely unaware of Norman and Annie’s explicit antics a few feet away. The fact that a couple could not find a piece of fuse wire easily became a major issue and Ruth’s vanity and her refusal to wear glasses — these all helped create mayhem. The audience was in stitches.

Aside from the lengthy speeches that were not only impeccably recalled but were delivered with captivating clarity and the cannily designed stage movements, as with all good productions, staging, costumes, lighting, music, programmes even elegant ushers in black suit and tie – all supporting activities were conspicuously first-rate.

This was indeed a splendid evening.

The next Nomads production to look forward to will be a thriller: ‘Ladies in Retirement’ Monday 28th March to Saturday 2nd April. Box office: 01638 663337

Rosemary Westwell

news: The King’s School Ely Music Festival Finalists’ Concert

February 18, 2011

The King’s School Ely Music Festival Finalists’ Concert took place on Thursday 17 February 2011 in the octagon and south transept of Ely Cathedral. The adjudicator, Mr. Simon Kirk, Director of Music, St. John’s College School, Cambridge, awarded The Walser Trophy for Senior performers to Rowan McConkey and the Walser Cup for Intermediate performers to Bryony Ding. Rowan (classical guitar) played Capricho Arabé by Tárrega and Bryony sang Daddy’s Song from Ragtime by Flaherty.

Other participants included intermediate instrumental winner Yuki Kimura (violin) playing Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso, C.J. Porter-Thaw (one of the 3 famous Choirboys), with Anna Hamilton and Isobel Leventhorpe singing as an ensemble Telephone by Lady Gaga, senior singing winner Martha Eddy performing Ah Belinda by Purcell and the Senior Orchestra playing Finlandia by Sibelius conducted by The King’s School Ely Director of Music Ian Sutcliffe.

The accompanists were Assistant Cathedral Organist Jonathan Lilley, Vanessa Scott, Oliver Hancock, and Melody Day.

The next major King’s School musical event with be the Gala Choral Concert on Friday 18th March 7.30 in Ely Cathedral presenting the Vivaldi Gloria and Mozart’s Requiem tickets £6 – £10 (under 18s free) available from Ely Cathedral Box Office 01353 660349 (Mon-Fri  11 am – 3 pm)

Valentine’s Day Concert held in Ely Cathedral on 14th February 2011.

February 18, 2011

A glass of champagne, flickering candlelight and dazzling talented musicians playing music that evoked the essence of romance — what more could one want? The Valentine’s Day Concert held in the octagon in Ely Cathedral on 14th February was a sheer delight. Nicola Loud (violin) wowed the listeners with her amazing technique, coaxing the instrument to reach great heights of emotional intensity or amazing the audience with feats of rare vitality, dexterity and agility.

Warren Mailley-Smith (piano) was with her at every turn. His perfection in synchronizing with the violinist to evoke exactly the same expression or breakneck virtuosity was phenomenal.

His performance of Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’ after interval captured exactly Beethoven’s moods expressed in his strong melodies, dramatic contrasts and excitable outbursts.

The evening opened triumphantly with a show piece that had us sitting up and taking notice. From the moment the first strands of Sarasate’s ‘Zigeunerweisen’ were played we knew that this evening was not simply a performance of ‘nice’, romantic music: this was an evening of gutsy, passion supported by phenomenal technique.

Few aspects of love were omitted. The programme offered passionate earthy gypsy-inspired energy in ‘Zigeunerweisen’, and Monit’s ‘Czardas’, simple beauty in Gluck’s ‘Melodie’ from ‘Orfeo and Euridice’, the cozy warmth of familiar favourites by Kreisler, the moving ‘Meditation’ by Massenet, and the final piece, Franck’s formidable ‘Sonata for violin and piano in A’ (a wedding gift for a virtuosic violinist of the day), offered sophisticated expressions of exhilaration, contemplation, and ardor.

This was an unforgettable evening and the sight of a young man waiting for someone while clutching a large bouquet of flowers and wearing a huge grin endorsed the feelings of warmth and inspiration the evening evoked.

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Review of Witchford Amateur Dramatic Society’s pantomime Cinderella

February 11, 2011

Witchford Amateur Dramatic Society’s pantomime Cinderella was wonderful. With moments of excitement, humour, tragedy and suspense, the packed audience was delighted with this year’s offering.

Director Claire Skilbeck, Producer Sarah Fretwell and Musical Directors Naomi D’Cunha and Jonathan Carter presented a delightful show that involved a large cast of enthusiastic participants, the most enchanting of all being the host of youngsters who assumed their roles very competently and entertainingly.

The familiar plot included the usual characters: a beautiful and talented Cinderella (played by Claire Mead), a deliciously evil stepmother Evillia Stone – Broke (Lucy Short) and her long-suffering husband (Adrian Peberdy), two wonderfully outrageous ugly sisters Florabella (Sarah Boor) and Ermytrude (Chris Grant), the amusing, loyal friend Buttons (Joe Robbins), the highly presentable Prince Charming (Carole Robbins), the highly adaptable squire Dandini (Elise Gallois), the magical Fairy Godmother (Gillian Hardman) and her amazing assistant Wildfire (Emma McClagish), the skirt chasing King (Craig D’Cunha) , his long- suffering wife (Jo Peacock) and a wordy Lord Chamberlain (Hannah Pauley).

The story unfolded gradually with plenty of space for corny jokes, a huge variety stage-packed musical numbers that were skilfully choreographed (particularly One way or Another, Don’t stop believing and Shout). The contribution of Sam Robbins and Sophie Denly singing One Time definitely added to the ‘ah’ factor.

With effective support from musicians and staging, lighting, costumes and front of house crews, this was a most rewarding and uplifting village affair.

For more information about WADS contact