Archive for February, 2014

Review of ‘Hi-de-Hi’ by the City of Ely Amateur Dramatic Society at the City of Ely Community College on Thursday 20 February 2014.

February 20, 2014

It is always difficult presenting a show that everyone knows very well, but the City of Ely Amateur Dramatic Society had no trouble in providing a wonderfully entertaining production of ‘Hi-de-Hi’.
All the favourite characters were there: Gladys Pugh (played by Helen Williamson) fawned over her hesitant boss Jeffrey Fairbrother (Doug Stuart), the hyper-active wannabe-Yellow-Coat Peggy Ollerenshaw (Fiona Gilbert) had us in stitches as she vainly sought to rise to stardom and Barry and Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves (Nick Timmings and Sarah Boor) affected airs and graces while degenerating all too soon into catty bickering. Mr. Partridge (Patrick Cain) was very much set in his elderly ways frequently expressing his reluctance for the children he was supposed to entertain with a colourful two-word response. Fred Quilly (Graham Stark) had us believing that he emanated a whiff of his beloved horses wherever he went and Hilary Bovis (Anne Bowman) left her husband the showman Ted Bovis (Richard Dodd) in no doubt that he would never be rid of her demands for cash. Ted was always up to mischief, while Spike Dixon (Matt Harvey) made valiant attempts to save him from himself and Mr Pritchard (Mark Parr) was the epitome of the policeman at work, even though he was on holiday. Tracy Bentwood (Natalie Burton) and the rest of the yellow coats, Betty Whistler (Helena Scott), Dawn (Carol Hebbard) and Mavis (Chris Evans) made a splendid team while the roles of the Bailiff and Gary were splendidly played by Robert Stafford.
The other contributors that helped to make the evening special included Mark Parr and Trevor Gordon-Potts (Set Design and Build), Adam Hebbard (Lighting and Sound), Annabel Reddick and Staff (Box Office), Daniel Mansfield (Ely Standard), City of Ely College, Angela Spencer and Sit Team, D Stuart (Photos), Disguise Leisure Lines (costumes) Bridget Goodge and the King’s Ely Junior School.
Congratulations must go to the director Tony Ransome for such a wonderful show. I certainly look forward to the next one.
Auditions for their production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ this summer are on Monday 3rd March 2014, 7.30 – 9.00 pm, Ely Museum, The Old Gaol, Market Street, CB7 4LS.
For more information
Rosemary Westwell

Review of Fen Speak the Babylon Gallery in Ely on 19th Wednesday 2014

February 20, 2014

ADEC have definite struck a winner. The Fen Speak open mic session at the Babylon Gallery last Wednesday night was well supported with 21 budding poets and writers presenting their work. Contributors included Deb Curtis, Clive Semmens, Zoe Choileain, Richard McNally, Poppy Kleiser, JS Watts, Chris Morgan, Emma Ormond, Matthew Mansfield, Emma Danes, Mike Alderson, Pete Irving, Bob Sheed, Mary Livingstone, Jonathan Totman, William Alderson, Paul Quant, Tony McCormack, George Ashdown, Caroline Gilfillan and, of course, myself (Rosemary Westwell).
There were items for everyone, poems that were finely structured, verse that captured the imagination, dark moments dealing with serious issues and splendid moments of humour.

Some of the highlights for me included: Caroline Gilfillan’s imaginary description of the young Pepys journeying to his grammar school in Huntingdon, Richard McNally’s ‘My Devonian Girl’ which was straight from the heart, Emma Ormond’s very clever ‘Glove Bird’ complete with fascinating hand movements and Mike Alderson’s ‘Along a corridor’ tackling mental health issues. Phrases like ‘the sun never quite shines’ and ‘older than Belsen’ remain in my mind. There were also Bob Sheed’s entertaining ‘The Snake Oil Salesman’, Mary Livingstone’s poem that captured the cat perfectly, William Alderson’s ‘Anna’ containing memorable phrases like ‘ There is no greater summer than oneself’, and George Anderson’s take off of Mrs Bouquet.

Many of the contributors had entered the competition to be Poet Laureate of Ely and eagerly await the results on Wednesday 19th March.

The next Fen Speak at the Babylon Gallery will be on Wednesday 16th April.
for more information contact Leanne Moden email:

Review: of the concert featuring George Harliono and the Uttlesforde Orchestra at Saffron Hall on Saturday 8th February 2014

February 9, 2014

George Harliono and the Uttlesforde orchestra presented an impressive concert on Saturday. George, a teenager who attends the Perse School in Cambridge, played Piano Concerto No. 1 by Liszt with amazing strength, agility and accuracy. Somehow, this lad demonstrated maturity way beyond his years as he became fully engrossed in the essential musicality of the work. There was more than virtuosic prowess in this performance. It was awe-inspiring. His exquisitely shaped dynamics, moments of delicacy with substance, his scintillating flourishes and his talent for showmanship had us transfixed.  We were privileged indeed to witness the beginnings of what will undoubtedly be a highly successful career as a concert pianist. It was no surprise that he was given a standing ovation and we were delighted when he came back on the stage, sat at the grand piano and played ‘Suggestion Diabolique’ by Prokofiev as an encore.

The Uttlesforde Orchestra, conducted by Richard Hull, was in good form. It opened the evening with a worthy performance of the challenging Stravinsky Symphony in C. The instrumentalists mastered well the short emphatic rhythmic and melodic snatches shared by different sections of the orchestra in a largely discordant texture. In the first movement the oboe in particular was rich and expressive and the woodwind as a whole displayed phenomenal precision.  This orchestra captured the exotic flavour of the second movement and gave credence to the restless separated elements of the themes in the final movement.

The concert ended with the orchestra playing ‘Symphony no. 2’ by Brahms. This suited the orchestra particularly well and we were thoroughly engaged with the sweeping, extended melodies of this composer. There were great moments of heightened passion, sadness or rustic jollity as the movements required while the final movement was filled with energy and power. As we were reminded of the special quality of Brahms’ potent thematic material this splendid evening came to a fitting close.

The next event for the orchestra will be on Saturday 5th April 2014 at Rhodes Centre, Bishops Stortford, 7.30 pm and will feature works by Verdi, Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn.


To find out more about George: