Posts Tagged ‘play’

Review of CAST’s production of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ in Ely Cathedral on Thursday 27th August 2015.

August 29, 2015

Cambridge American Stage Tour, established in 2000 under the patronage of none other than Dame Judi Dench,  is a group of talented actors, directors, designers and technicians from Cambridge University (UK) who band together to produce a play to take to schools and universities in America.

Under the directorship of Kennedy Bloomer, 9 cast members delivered Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ in Ely Cathedral on Thursday night, revelling in the frolics and trickery with tremendous enthusiasm and energy.

The familiar plot was ever present. Petruccio (played by Toby Marlow) decided it would be a worthwhile business proposition to marry Kate for her dowry.  He ranted and railed like a wild man shocking even the feral Katherina (Kate Reid) until she became a submissive and obedient wife as planned. As he was working towards this achievement, other suitors were freed to compete for the hand of her beautiful but cunning sister Bianca (Julia Kass).  In a bid to claim her affections the suitors adopted delightfully eccentric guises and invented wonderfully exotic schemes to satisfy the much tried father Baptista (Sarah Mercer) that one of them was worthy enough to gain Bianca’s hand in marriage.

Needless to say, everything seemed to go wrong, but as events propelled themselves towards the final scene, all was resolved and Petruccio and Kate won the day and were an example to them all. The speed and agility of the performers made it even more impressive when we realized most of the actors had three or so different roles to play.

There were some magnificent highlights: the determination of Petruccio, the facial expressions of Baptista, the camaraderie and ribaldry of the fellows, the hilarious ‘musician’ ‘tuning’ his instrument, the grotesque widow and her very reluctant partner, blokes tucking into a Take-away denying the poor starving Kate a single bite to eat: these were a few of the many memorable scenes in this highly entertaining production. Another amusing touch was the so realistic drunk who milled among the audience and pushed his way towards the stage to provide a novel way of announcing that it was the end of the interval.

The remaining remarkable members of CAST included: Will Bishop (playing Lucentio/Player/Servant), Aoife Kennan (Tranio/Curtis), Will Peck (Grumio/Bartholomew/Widow), Robbie Taylor Hunt (Horensio/Servant/Merchant) and Marco Young (Gremio).

This team should be a real hit in New York and Florida where it is next bound. The show returns to Cambridge in October and will be performed at the ADC Theatre from the 6th to the 10th of October.   To book seats: www and for more information about CAST contact:

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: Prime Time Murder, Viva Theatre Company 20th October 2011

October 22, 2011

Viva Theatre’s production of ‘Prime Time Murder’ had all the requirements of a good night’s entertainment. The cast knew their jobs. The characters were clearly defined. The action moved smoothly and realistically. Michael Burrell’s script was deliciously savoured, especially the witticisms and strings of ‘one-liners’.

The audience became an integral part of the set immediately as they found themselves seated in a ‘TV studio’ during the recording of a game show called ‘If the cap fits’. At appropriate moments the audience was asked to vote as individuals, holding up their ‘if the cap fit cards’ when they thought a particular description of the background of a person matched the name given.  In others’ hands, such activity could have easily detracted from the dramatic events on stage, but with this team, it became a natural and effective ingredient.

Central to the plot was the arrogant Game Show Host Jimmy Roscoe (played by Jon Bridgeman). His narcissism, meanness and history as a sexual predator darkened a script that was packed with the jaded banter of studio staff trying to overcome the inevitable in-fighting of such a tightly-knit community. The Director, Mary Haskins (Jenny Aspland), did indeed ‘direct’ proceedings and her calm authoritative voice brought sense and structure to a group of varied, sensitive beings.

Jackie (Delia Tickner), the Production Assistant, was everywhere, cheerfully battling to keep order relieving the tensions of her job with crowning moments of dry humour.

A delightful array of contestants enlivened events: Terrence Rainer (Lee Sherwood) and his macho crassness contrasted well with celebrity guest Veronica Mellows (Ann Pallet).  More spice was added by Susan Barnold (Sara Lang), a well-focused driving test examiner, and the erudite Professor Humphrey Blethyn (David Tickner) pontificated wonderfully.

Events were further enhanced with Veronica’s two squabbling children Tom (Philip Evans) and Lucy Emily Palmer). Tom’s ‘look’ at the end of the show was priceless. Vision Mixer Michelle (Kim Turner), the calm assuredness of Inspector Wormald (David Moat) and his obliging constable PC Butterfield (Scott Robertson) and Studio Security (Josh Schunmann) were also essential contributors.

One of the most entertaining characters for me was undoubtedly the Make-up Artist, Susan Roach (Esther Hiller). Her naïve timidity and heartfelt outbursts as events turned out quite differently to those she had expected were portrayed magnificently. She was indeed one of the best of an outstanding cast.

Producer David Tickner is to be congratulated for a fine show supported by an excellent team, namely: Costumes (Lynn Quelch), Lighting and Sound (Nigel and Simon Thompson), Cameraman (Steve Evans), Box Office (Martha Waterhouse and June Lawrence) and Publicity (Alison Palmer and Oliver Waterhouse).

Viva Theatre’s expected participation in theRSCOpen Stages project with a production of ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ at Anglesey Abbey next July is a fitting complement to their admirable achievement tonight.


Rosemary Westwell

Review ‘The Two of Us’ at the Maltings Thursday 30th September 2010

October 2, 2010

ADeC certainly know how to pack the Maltings. The production of ‘The Two of Us’, part of Theatre Royal Bury St. Edmunds’ Rural Tour, was a real hit.

The title suggested two people exploring and intense relationship as a couple but it was much more than that. Director Abigail Anderson was quite right when she described the writer Michael Frayn as a ‘consumate technician’. Words, actions and pace of delivery were orchestrated to perfection to produce four highly amusing plays that explored personalities and credible embarrassing situations magnificently.

The phenomenal acting ability of the two, Alys Torrance and Simon Nock, was in no doubt. Alys was the epitome of the exhausted mother of a  new born in ‘Black Silver’. In the second play, ‘The New Qixote’ she transformed into a mature party-goer who found enlightenment from a socially handicapped bore she had picked up the previous night.

Her husband’s foot, in ‘Mr. Foot’ captured the thought processes of a trapped suburban housewife losing identity. In the final play ‘Gnomes’ her roles as Jo, Alex and Bee were spot on. Jo, was the housewife and mother trying to produce a trouble-free dinner for her friends,. Alex, was the deep-voiced lover of Bee and Bee she portrayed delightfully as the emotionally insecure wife who recently abandoned her husband for Alex. These characters were all distinct and credible individuals sweeping in and out of the central dining room from a variety of entrances and exits with amazing agility and timing.   

Simon Nock complemented Alys perfectly. His portrayal of the new father, the nerdy uninvited partner, the controlling and intimidating husband in suburbia ,the slightly distracted dinner host and the tipsy thwarted husband had the audience chuckling in recognition.

Stage management, lighting and sound, stage set and programme were first rate, making the production one of the most entertaining events of the season.

Future events at the Royal Theatre Bury St. Edmunds include:

Friday 1st – Saturday 16th October ‘The London Merchant’ by George Lillo

Tuesday 9th – 13th November George Orwell’s 1984

Contact: Box office: 01284 769505

Future ADeC events at the Maltings include:

Friday 29th October 730 p.m. Arthur Smith

Wednesday 24th November 730 p.m. John Shuttleworth’s  ‘A Man with no More Rolls’

Sunday 5th December 730 p.m. Rich Hall

Contact: ADeC (01353) 616991

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!

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Rosemary Westwell