Posts Tagged ‘Keith Gallois’

Review of ‘Goodnight Mr. Tom’ by Viva in the Performing Arts Centre Soham Village College on Thursday 25th October 2018

October 26, 2018

Viva Keith Gallois Judith Collingswood and Alison O'ConnorIf ever there was a performance that demonstrated beyond a doubt that live theatre outshines films, it was this one. Throughout the performance we were kept spellbound. We were there with the characters, living their parts. The acting was so good that we were never divorced from the tensions and emotions of the scenes being played out before us.

Mr. Tom, played by Vaughan Moll, was the epitome of those cantankerous old men that we know so well: all thunder and bluster on the outside, all heart on the inside. William (Oscar Vaughan) was the poor child so poorly done by. We felt his pain and wonder as he was slowly drawn out of his world of trauma and abuse into a loving and meaningful relationship with his adoptive father-to- be.

Costumes, hair styles and make up were so realistic that we were easily transported into life during WW2. One minute, children were jauntily rushing out of school as if they did not have a care in the word, at others, the reality of the most gruesome factors of a country at war and a childhood lost through abuse from an unstable parent were brought home.

Other main characters that shone were Zack (Torin Fahy) the vivacious, chatty child who enlivened the villagers’ lives with his unforgettable charisma, the unhinged and abusive mother Mrs Beech (Chloe Grimes), the warm -hearted much more motherly Mrs. Fletcher (Sarah Boor), kindly Annie Hartridge (Kerry Hibertt), the heavy-smoking, and sympathetic Dr Little (David Tickner – who also made a very colourful ticket collector), the Nurse (Sue Perry) and the consultant Dr Stelton (Peter Crussell, also the vicar).  George (Daniel Allgood), Ginnie (Tabby Kirk), Carrie (Lillie Coghlin), and the evacuees all helped to establish a realistic world of children with their games and antics. The remaining characters, too numerous to mention, were all just as effective and essential to the plot although mention must be made of the puppeteers: Sienna Warder and Sophie Jones who did a splendid job.

This was an excellent production. Judith Collingswood, Keith Gallois, Alison O’Connor and their team and are to be congratulated for such a meaningful, tear-jerking show. The tissue kindly provided inside the programme was definitely needed!



Review ‘5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche’ at Witchford Village Hall on Saturday 25th April 2015

April 26, 2015

Mandy Murrum and Becky GreenThe title of this play made me decide that I didn’t really want to spend an evening with 5 lesbians, so I had decided not to review. However, after the smooth-talking of Director Keith Gallois, I relented and I’m very glad I did, for the acting was superb. If it had been the least bit uncertain, we would have collapsed into a heap of nervous embarrassed giggles, but instead there was outright genuine laughter. It was true comedy at its best. Every time I looked at the audience, a group of people I thought would never have enjoyed this topic, was smiling and thoroughly enjoying the antics on stage. Even when the play was repeated on the same night, there were many people who stayed and enjoyed a second serving. Personally, I found it useful to pick up tiny nuances that I may have missed the first time.

The play presented a group of suppressed ‘ladies’ in America at the time when there was real fear of the atomic bomb and, as the title suggests, the popularity of the quiche. The almost suffocating touchy-feely motherliness of the group of women came across really well and the metaphorical significance of the egg and associated innuendo in the situation were magnificently portrayed.

The actresses to be congratulated are Lucy Short (playing Wren), Kate Lacey (Dale), Becky Green and Sarah Boor (Lulie), Many Morrish and Kirsten Green (Ginny), and Rania Kurdi and Leisha Dodd-O’Brien (Vern).

Also to be congratulated are the Director, Keith Gallois, Producer Carolyn Sellers and technician Dee Ireland. This was a wonderful production that had a professional touch – everything went extremely smoothly, with realistic sound and effective, on cue lighting. The quiche served afterwards also went down very well.

WADS (Witchford Amateur Dramatic Society) has risen again. If you want to be involved in an up-and coming, exciting group – join the members at the Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 12th May at 7 pm at the Witchford Village Hall Committee Room.Lucy ShortKate LaceyKirsten Green

Review: Witchford Voices in St. Andrew’s Church, Witchford on Monday 18th July 2011

July 22, 2011

Enthusiasm, liveliness and rhythmic drive permeated the songs delivered by Witchford Voices in their concert in St. Andrew’s Church, Witchford. Under the directorship of Naomi D’Cunha, a host of popular songs filled the programme. Supported by Dee Ireland’s fascinating Sound and Lighting the show entertained the packed audience with polished precision.

This large choir demonstrated moments of considerable talent. Full rich harmonies, fantastic and vibrant pulsation and amazing clarity of diction in the most rapid of lines were the order of the day. The programme included many popular numbers: Billionaire, Don’t Stop Believing, Fix You, Just the way you are, Hallelujah, Lean on me, and Run. Other cultures were delightfully represented most noticeably in Baba Yetu and Africa with Kyrie Eleison providing variety in the list. The carefully orchestrated commentary on the songs by different members of the choir certainly added to the overall impression that this choir knew how to organize themselves and the input of Keith Gallois, Helen Williamson, and Joe Robbins undoubtedly contributed to this effect.

This choir has come on since it was first inaugurated and the medlies from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Les Miserables were a step in the right direction. How such a packed choir managed to suddenly produce costumes and props for Les Miserables was amazing and the effect delightful.

There were a number of notable highlights: The opening sound effects. the rhythmic momentum and the meaningful backing of Africa, the highly amusing characterization of the Billionaire, the clearly marked variety of styles in songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and some gorgeous soft moments that were beautifully shaped in Hallelujah and Run.

This choir shows great potential and it will be interesting to watch their progress in the future. They have already added Ely Cathedral as a venue and a European Tour to their list of notable achievements.

Future events include:

Sunday 4th December 2011 St Andrew’s Church

Friday 9th December 2011 St. John’s Church, Waterbeach

Monday 12th December 2011 Ely Cathedral

Friday 16th December 2011 Witchford Voices Party

The European Tour:

June 3rd 2012 Markt, Bruges, Belgium

June 4th 2012 Hospital of St. John, Damme, Belgium

June 4th 2012: Kerk St. Paulus, Ghent, Belgium

June 5th 2012: Cité Europe, Calais, France


Twitter @witchfordvoices

Review: Witchford Voices in St. Andrew’s Church Witchford Tuesday 20th July 2010

July 23, 2010

Witchford Voices raised the roof of St. Andrew’s Church Witchford for both of their evening performances on July 19th and 20th 2010. Their popularity knows no bounds. From a village with very few singers, Witchford has fast become a centre for singing enthusiasts county wide, thanks to the hard work of Keith Gallois, Naomi D’Cunha and Helen Williamson (amongst others).

Naomi knew her music, and supported by knowledgeable colleagues produced a programme of great songs. Often singing unaccompanied or to recorded accompaniment, the singers knew their music. Not a sheet of paper was in sight – all singers’ eyes were glued to their conductor whose control and inspiration were impressive.

The 90-or-so-strong choir – with 50 of the members performing for this concert – sang with a vibrant enthusiasm that was unforgettable. The packed audience was easily caught up in this wonderful group’s exuberance.

 The opening item: ‘One Vision’, attracted our attention immediately with its tremendous impact. Some of the choir’s potential became apparent in the gentler phrases of ‘May it be’, while we were transported to other more spiky cultures with captivating rhythms in the following three Gospel-like melodic incantations. 

A variety of people interspersed the singing with snippets of information that kept us entertained and informed. Their contributions were just right – not too long and not too short and with just the information we wanted to know.     

The familiar and popular ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Don’t stop believin’ led us to the interval when a free drink was ready and waiting.

‘Adiemus’ by Karl Jenkins, ‘Down by the River to Pray’, ‘Man in the Mirror’, ‘Run’, and ‘Lean on Me’ followed and made the evening complete. In these pieces particularly, the balance and rhythmic precision of this huge choir were phenomenal. One of the highlights was ‘Run’ which began with a gorgeous rich tone in the altos and the men’s tone in ‘Down by the River we Pray’ was also impressive. 

The evening was a delightfully warm and summery and super management meant that everything went off like a dream. Our village church looked resplendent enhanced with a background of colourful lighting produced by Dee Ireland.

Cleverly arranged part singing, rhythmic zeal and excitement, and the ability to convey the sheer joy of participating in this momentous event made the evening a roaring success.  You are advised to book early for their Christmas events:

Sunday 5th December Evening Christmas Concert, St Andrew’s Church, Witchford in aid of Marie Curie

Friday 10th December Evening Christmas Concert, St. Mary’s Church. Ely in aid of Marie Curie


Choir manager


Membership secretary/treasurer

Musical Director Naomi D’Cunha

review Witchford – WADS YOUTH ‘Our Day Out’ by Willy Russell

October 4, 2009

Review of WAD’S production of Our Day Out at Witchford Village College

Our Day Out, a play by Willy Russell about underprivileged teenagers going on a rare outing, was the perfect choice for the 11-16 year-old members of WADS YOUTH to perform at Witchford Village College. The large cast featured strong characters including a very uptight senior member of staff Mrs. Briggs constantly at odds with Mrs. Kay the sympathetic, supportive teacher who organized the outing, a bashful young teacher Colin struggling to overcome the excessive sexual advances of Linda, a troubled young girl Carol threatening suicide in a bid to avoid returning to her problematic home life, the inevitable couple of streetwise lads at the back of the bus Reilly and Digga, a seasoned bus driver with low tolerance to children Ronny and a control-freak of a Lollipop Lady .  

In this cleverly crafted play, the remaining cast added spice to an almost predictable kaleidoscope of disastrous events culminating in a delightful scene with the children attempting to abscond with various animals that they had ‘acquired’ from the zoo. The remaining cast included Ronson, Sue, Little Kid, Pam, Kathy, Susan, Karen, Andrews and Headmistress, Zookeeper and Maureen.

This production was extremely well orchestrated and the slides and videos as part of the staging helped bring the production alive and make the local adaptations entirely appropriate –the production was a real ‘Witchford’ event. The Director Esther Hiller and Co-producers Keith Gallois and Sarah Boor are to be congratulated for such an excellent show. There was additional excellent input from the prompt and those responsible for lighting: Keith McPherson, graphics: Tim Bustin, Simon Gamble and Keith Gallois, costumes and props: Sarah Bloor, additional vocal training: Tessa McGinn, programme editing: Emma Grace and stage construction: Adrian Peberdy and Parents.

If the very high standard of this production is any indication of what is to be expected in the future, WAD’S next show: Snow White on the 5th and 6th of February 2010 should be outstanding. Book early!

local contacts:


Rosemary Westwell