Author: Fudge

Quartet – NODA Review

Ewhurst Players “Quartet”

Ewhurst Village Hall, 19th May, 2017

 

Ronald Harwood’s beautifully observed study of former professional opera singers from the Carla Rosa company now in residence at Beecham House retirement home for musicians in rural Kent, is one of the finest vehicles for mature players to showcase their acting talents.   Opening on a hot June late morning in a splendid set of a music room with posh furnishings and a patio leading to the gardens with birdsong and pictures of composers on the walls.

Wendy Davies as Cissie perfectly captured the essential amiable, but forgetful early stage dementia of Cissie, who for reasons unknown thought everyone had just returned from Karachi.   Wearing headphones she sat listening to “Rigoletto” oblivious to all else, especially the saucy talk from Wilf.  A highly experienced actress is Wendy who never disappoints in any role.

In stark contrast George Yates played Reggie with truthful intensity.    Reggie craved order and routine and had barked at the unfortunate matron who substituted apricot jam for his usual breakfast marmalade.  A nicely observed portrayal of a decent but reserved man putting up with he pitfalls of old age, except when confronted by the arrival of his ex-wife, with whom he eventually remade a sort of bond.  A great role to play and apart from one or two stumbles done supremely well.

As different as chalk from cheese was the sex-mad Wilf all eager to talk dirty to the hard of hearing Cissie.    Peter Bradley referred to the prostate, piles, cataracts, teeth falling out and spoke in coarse terms of how he hated the ageing process.   Nevertheless, an engaging character was Wilf, dovetailing perfectly with the  more refined Reggie.   Peter relished playing this role, and how it showed!   By comparison with what is all too common in modern theatre and in stand-up comedy routines Wilf’s language was relatively mild, but his obvious enjoyment of “talking dirty” made it seem at least mildly shocking and all the more enjoyable for that.

The imminent arrival of Reggie’s hated ex-wife Jean really put the cat among the pigeons and when, in the form of Patsy Mortimore, she finally arrived all “Grande Dame” and diva-like bemoaning her “fate” of having to live among the lesser lights, the story began to take a more interesting shape.   Reggie could not bear to be in the same room with her and, when at last, they had meaningful conversation, old resentments quickly came to the fore.

Cissie, having been the butt of Jean’s cutting and insensitive comments about excess weight then reminded Jean that Verdi translates as Joseph Green.   Jean of course was fully aware of this but dotty Cissie had probably already mentioned this fact a many times, we may assume.   Jean, walking with a stick was bemoaning awaiting her new hip operation.  Jean actually moaned a great deal about many things  and Patsy really got inside her character   The question arose as to the proposed annual performance of the quartet from Rigoletto to mark the anniversary of Verdi’s birth on October 10th, just over three months away.

The luncheon gong sounded, and Wilf announced “lunch” and on their return and following scene the very next morning   Jean was still being adamant that she would not sing Gilda as she had lost her singing voice after having a child in her 30s.    She was refusing all entreaties, terrified of people saying and thinking she was way past her pomp. Patsy played this strong willed yet highly vulnerable character with consummate skill.

Scene two was set next morning and all had changed costumes.    Jean was still adamant in her refusal to play Gilda.

Now, in Act Two some three weeks later in early morning, with a slightly rearranged set (sofa moved against the wall and a rail of costumes upstage, with a trunk of Rigoletto costumes in front of this),  all appeared in their night attire except  the suited Reggie.   The men’s and women’s dressing rooms were either side of the rail.    Jean, having finally been persuaded to sing Gilda, they were all preparing themselves to practice the quartet.    Very interesting and revealing dialogue took place between the two men and two women, in their respective dressing rooms with prominent make up mirrors either side of the rail, with effective use of the fourth wall.  Reggie  was resplendent in Rigoletto’s red and green tights (his costume was provided by a company in Manchester –  Woodland Community Players)

The final scene took place front of cloth with the four “singing” their hearts out to a recording of “Bella figlia dell’amore”, well marshalled by Musical Director Bobby Swanson (played from the floor by Simon Fraser) ending to rapturous and well deserved applause.   Some extremely impressive miming, one might have thought they were all actually singing this beautiful quartet.   Simon also played operatic highlights before the performance and during the interval, unobtrusively.

The stage set was an impressive one  all in all and was built by Chris Dews aided on painting / decorating by Rachael Edmondson, Victoria Helstrip, Jeannie Metcalf and Nicki Payne.

Effective lighting was provided by Carl Osborne and Sound was well handled by Bill Pilcher.

Anne Lyth did sterling work on wardrobe which was well fitted and apt.   The rail of costumes was colourful and one could quite believe they were those of ex-professional opera  singers.

Jean Metcalf gave just two prompts on the night I attended in a very wordy play. The diction throughout was clear and the characters highly believable.  Ewhurst Players were fortunate to be able to call upon all the  mature and experienced players of this standard, from which I am sure that any watching less experienced members would have gained  much in studying timing, pauses and body language.

Meg Bray, the play’s director, should feel highly satisfied with the way her characters played their parts and of the warmth, emotion and interplay between her actors. She was faithful to the spirit of Harwood’s masterpiece.   A clear success for Meg!

With the customary impressive front of house team  again providing warm hospitality and a tasty meal I have to conclude that Ewhurst Players  fully maintained, even enhanced their already impressive reputation as a rare theatrical  jewel in deepest Surrey.

Jon Fox – NODA District 19

Newsletter 408 – July 2017

Newsletter 408 July 2017

Greetings to you all, and welcome to Ewhurst Players July Newsletter!

 

Voyage Around My Father – Noda Accolade of Excellence

Looking back – huge congratulations to Mike Fanya and Victoria Heaslop along with all the cast & crew of Voyage Around My Father who have been awarded ‘Accolade of Play Excellence’ by NODA, a South East region.

Fudge and Victoria, attended the NODA, AGM and award ceremony to receive the award in Bognor, last weekend.

This was a superbly successful production and well worthy of the award.

Ali Baba & Quartet DVD showings

Marian is arranging a showing of the DVD of our January Pantomime, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. We are hoping this will take place in the village hall during September, date to be confirmed. There is to be a ploughman’s type supper and drinks so should be a lovely evening.

A further email with full details will follow from Marian in due course which you can reply to confirm your attendance.       Contact: cbheathcote@btinternet.com or any of your committee.

Meg Bray is arranging a showing of the recording of Quartet, which we’ve arranged to hopefully take place in October.  Again, date and venue details to be confirmed in the coming days.

Contact: bray.meg@googlemail.com or any of your committee.

As usual – these events are an opportunity for the cast & crew to re-unite and watch the show that they worked so hard on and for members who perhaps didn’t get a chance to come the production for any reason OR simply can’t get enough and fancy a social. So look out for further details in due course

 

New Sound and Lighting Equipment Workshop

You’ll be aware that we have been upgrading the sound and lighting equipment, and Bill and Carl are keen to show volunteers how to operate the new kit.

They are holding an informal workshop at the hall for any who wish to try their hand on Saturday 9th September at 10am for a couple of hours.

It would be great to get new blood operating the new kit, but all members are welcome to have a try. Feel free to turn up on the day but if possible PLEASE contact Bill or Carl to give them an idea of who may be coming.

Contact: Bill or Carl  bill.pilcher@ex-cell.co.uk or osbornec2@hotmail.co.uk

 

Manns Cranleigh Play Reading Toad of Toad Hall Saturday 30th September

Cranleigh will be holding the annual Food and Music Festival. This event attracts performers from near and far at venues through the town. The committee felt that it would be an opportunity to raise the profile of the players by performing as a reading some extracts from the play Toad of Toad Hall.

We have been given the venue of Mann’s Toy Department and we expect to perform four fifteen to twenty minutes slots, two in the morning and two in the afternoon. Jay Cuthbert has agreed to assist Felix who will be directing this reading.

Please contact Bill Pilcher by email if you would like to take part in the reading or be on hand to talk to members of the audience about the Ewhurst Players.

Contact: Bill Pilcher: bill.pilcher@ex-cell.co.uk

 

November Production: Death and the Maiden 15th – 18th November

Rehearsals for this production start on 20th September and George Yates has wasted no time in assembling his team

Assistant Director:      Victoria

Stage Manager:           Mike Richardson

Props:                          Hilary Roberts who may need an assistant

Sound & Lighting:       Carl Osbourne

We need a ‘prompt’ also a FOH coordinator, along with FOH and bar volunteers.  The set is to stay more or less as it is now but will need re decorating if the painting team are available.

Please don’t be shy in coming forward to assist with any of these roles – If you are available to help PLEASE contact Geroge Yates as soon as possible.

Contact: George at jadugeorge@aol.com or 277354 or any of your committee.

 

January Production 25th-28th Jan & 31st Jan – 3rd Feb

Your Committee are pleased to announce that the 2018 what 2018??? Yes 2018 January production is to be Grease The Musical – Schools edition. Directed by Nicky Payne and Sophie Shickell

Sophie and Nicki are extremely excited to be putting on this exciting musical this Christmas. Below is a brief synopsis, but we are sure you all know at least one of the songs.

Experience the friendships, romances and adventures of a group of high school kids in the 1950s. Welcome to the singing and dancing world of “Grease,” the most successful movie musical of all time. A wholesome exchange student, Sandy and a leather-clad Danny,  have a summer romance. Sandy joins the pink ladiesbut never really quite fits in! Danny is too cool for words and the leader of the popular group ‘T Birds’. Rydell High school has set these young people up to achieve.  Grease is the word!!!!

So come along and join us and audition for this amazing show. Dates: Wednesday 20th and Tuesday 26th September. Venue TBC.

If you are interested please contact Nicki 07920 779 792

Or Sophie 07791 433025

This is an exciting production and a break away from our normal Pantomime, and includes a significant cast of about 17 people, but I know with our normal enthusiastic membership we can pull it off.

Children & Chaperones needed !   There will be roles in this production for under 16’s so we will also require Chaperones as usual. More details to follow in due course.

Publicity

Meg and Alan Bray have put themselves forward to take over publicity for EP and have now been co-opted by the committee to take on this vital role From Tricia who can now concentrate solely on being Hon Treasurer. Great thanks to Meg and Alan.

Contact :  bray.meg@googlemail.com

May 2018 Deadline – September 1st 2017

Just a reminder that the Deadline for Directors wishing to put something forward for May is approaching. The committee has not received any offers to date so if you are considering putting something forward – go for it!

A reminder of the deadlines – May  – September 1st /  November – March 1st / Christmas  – May 1st

Thanks from Gaynor

Thank you to all who supported Gaynor in attending the performance of Deep Blue Sea which was enjoyed by all.

Ewhurst Big Day Out NEXT WEEKEND

Jane Harry is still looking for a volunteer to assist with the PA system during the day time on this event. It’s a straight forward role to assist the announcers. No sound tech experience needed just another pair of hands really. You won’t be needed for the whole day – if you can help or want to ask any questions please email Jane – geoffjane67@gmail.com

 

Dates for Your Diary 

Sound & Lighting workshop                                     Sat 9th September

Grease Auditions                                                         20th & 26th September

Cranleigh Food Festival play reading at Manns    30th September

November production                                                15th – 18th November

 

Ok that’s all for now folks

Have a great summer!!! There will be no August Newsletter and our next committee meeting is on the 20th September

Chris