Author: Carl Osborne


 Newsletter No. 406 – May 2017


Dear Members,


Welcome to the May Newsletter. Spring has sprung and we are all looking forward to seeing you at Quartet next week.


Firstly, the committee and tech box crew would like thank Anne Lythe for Lighting and Sound desk dust covers – perfect Anne, THANK YOU!!


November Production & Auditions (apologies for the short notice!)

George Yates proposed play for November – ‘Death and the Maiden’ has been approved by the committee. This is a gritty 3 hander – details below.


Auditions will take place at the VH on Tues 23rd and Wed 31st May 2017 at 7.30pm.


Message from George:

There are only 3 characters so all parts are of necessity very demanding of the actors.

Woman 40s…long parts, Very good demanding lead character. Her husband 40s…less to learn. Doctor male 40s-50s-60s less to learn but both strong acting roles.


PLEASE CONTACT GEORGE YATES DIRECTLY if you would like read for a part. It is essential that anyone auditioning should have read the full play in advance to appreciate the commitment required. Scripts available from George…..01483 277354.


Described by The Guardian as a ‘first rate play…..a claustrophobic cat a and mouse thriller to raise moral questions.’ Although set after the Chilean Pinochet regime it raises questions for individuals and nations about what to do about revenge, retribution and forgiveness at the emergence of any democratisation after the horrors of a totally brutal regime…..just as appropriate today.


With a title from Schuberts 1824 famous string quartet, this gritty play by Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman was written in 1990 and first performed a year later. It has spawned a film and Opera.Examining the dynamics of three people in an unnamed country that is recovering from the after effects of a violent dictatorship.


Paulina Salas is a former political prisoner in an unnamed Latin American country who had been raped by her captors, led by a sadistic doctor whose face she never saw. The rapist doctor played Schubert’s composition Death and the Maiden during the act of rape; hence the play’s title. Years later, after the (also unnamed) repressive regime has fallen, Paulina lives in an isolated country house with her husband, Gerardo Escobar. When Gerardo comes back from a visit to the president, he gets a flat tire. A stranger named Dr. Miranda stops to assist him. Dr. Miranda drives Gerardo home and later in the night he returns………..





SOCIAL EVENT – Rattigan’s – The Deep Blue Sea @ The Mill Theatre Guildford – Friday 16th June

We are getting a group together for this production. The lead – Hester is being played by Gaynor Arnold. It is an amateur performance with some professional cast and Fudge has seen some early rehearsal action as was offered the part of Miller but sadly could not commit. It’s shaping up to be a wonderful play by a new company and Gaynor would be grateful of our support. I’m sure most of you will know the play. Fudge, Chris and Rachel Dews are already booked. IF you want to join us – PLEASE grab a ticket online for yourself or arrange someone to go with. We will meet at the Weyside Pub for a pre-show drink at around 6.30-6.45.


If you are coming please email CHRIS DEWS (see email address above) just so that we have an idea of who is meeting at the boozer. Tickets are selling so you will need to be quick. Link below.


Cranleigh Food and Music Festival – 30th September – Play Reading (TBC)

As part of this event we have been given the green light to stage a Reading of Wind In The Willows (TBC) in the toy department of David Manns in Cranleigh. The organiser of the reading will send out details in due course. This makes up part of our strategy to recruit new members in the 30-50 age group, which we desperately need (especially men!)


Members needed – particularly MEN – Help please

We all know that we have struggled to cast certain plays in recent years due to a lack of chaps who are willing, able and available to audition for parts. The committee are looking at ways in which we can effectively recruit in this area but please do put your thinking caps on too. We need your help. If you know anyone who might like to get involved – experience or no experience then please do encourage them to do so. If we don’t solve this issue, we are in danger of becoming a bit repetitive and somewhat dull, terms of the types of productions that we are putting on. Our future as a group depends on having enough active members (male and female of course) So PLEASE do your bit to help in any way you can – Thank you!!


Membership Subs

If you have not yet paid your subs please can you do so by bank transfer AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to:

Ewhurst Players Bank Account.  A separate email will follow with details regarding how many subs are still outstanding following our next committee meeting.


Ewhurst Young Players

Chris Dews reported that Sue Palmer-Jones and her partner with admin support from Jo Moore have offered to re-start the Young players sometime after the Summer holidays. Further details will follow in due course. Enquiries to Jo Moore


Woking Drama Festive 

Woking Council have emailed the players with details for contributions of one act plays to their drama festival on the 10th -21st October 2017. If anyone would like to put anything forward, the dead line is 13th July 2017. Please contact Fudge my email if you would like the information pack and application form.


Ewhurst Big Day Out

Jane Harry Approached the committee asking for help with setting up sound for Ewhurst’s Big Day Out at the Polo Club on the 15th of July. They have all the equipment they need but just require someone to come along on the day to set up the sound equipment and be available for any tech snags during the event. Anyone wishing to volunteer – please email her.

Thanks for reading




Ewhurst Players “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”

Ewhurst Village Hall – 27th January, 2017


Though not performed as frequently now as in olden days, Ali Baba and The Forty Thieves remains on the panto rota and here was made somewhat “less gory” by Director Marian Heathcote than the original tale of the Arabian Nights, thankfully.   Containing all the elements we associate with traditional panto, this version by Alan P Frayn was therefore well chosen with the usual local and topical references eg Fatima’s Hazelbank Store, that “well known Iraqi grocery chain” with stores throughout Baghdad, and one in Ewhurst too, quaintly!


A generally strong company of twenty two, including a few children and very young adults all gave their utmost energy and talent to make the show run smoothly, which it did.


Outstanding performances were given by the following;  Andrew Hull as Mustafa with boyish daft charm and a range of comical facial expressions;  Wendy Davies as Queen, charisma and experience obviously showing through;  Daniel Williams as Asbad, chief of thieves, with plenty of attack and verve in the role;  Barrie Heathcote as a highly effective Vizier with world weariness and superb diction, even in a smaller role;  Nicki Payne as Bashim and Julia Heathcote as Grabbit, the idiot baddie double act with superb mutual rapport, timing and delivery of lines, and comic business.    They were all top drawer performers.


Only a tad less than excellent were Sophie Shickell as Ali Baba, in the principal boy role;  Chris Dews in the Dame part of Fatima, who just needed to point his phrases a little more and use pauses to be truly dynamic.   He certainly has stage presence and there is a gifted Dame there, given more experiences in these roles;  Alsatia the dog (evil) in black played by Lou Worby and her opposite number Caterina the cat (good) in white, played by Catherine van’t Riet – both worked really well, but again needed a little more attack in general.


That extra 10% makes all the difference and – though this is a general  rather than specific observation – top panto performers  must be larger than life with huge energy, confident delivery, much use of body language and facial expressions.   The very best players have all these qualities, most of which are only gained through stage experience, which can however sometimes be found even in relatively younger players.


Sharon Welland did really well as Marjana, (the slave girl and story heroine) and so did Jo McInnes as Crown Prince (son of the Sultan) and Kats Koster-Shadbolt as the Princess (whom he marries).   Fabian Cole gave good support as Notsobad, the stage partner of Asbad.   Fabian apparently took over the role at short notice, most creditably.   Double acts and especially baddie ones have such potential for fun and both Daniel and Fabian added greatly to the show’s enjoyment.


Bill Pilcher, clad in turban was a most competent Sultan and Natalie Davies, the daughter to the Vizier was a pretty and realistic storyteller Scheherazade.


Chorus members Peter Bradley, Imogen Fowler and Melissa Sweet all played full parts doubling as thieves, dancers etc.  with the three children Lucy Payne, Neave van’t Riet and Katie Welland all showing promise in smaller roles.


Camelia the camel was not credited in the programme, which is a shame as he / she did well.   Talking camels are not often found in panto, but I was very pleased that Camelia could talk, and did so – extremely well in fact! Skin parts are a major part of panto and the two people involved deserve a mention!


In general the performance had pace – and certainly energy – but only on a few occasions cues were slow to be picked up.


The opening set of two bead curtains covering stage exits left and right with turbans painted above were effectively portrayed and the director Marian Heathcote, who is highly experienced, used the rather small stage to its utmost, to her great credit.


The music throughout was sung lustily and tunefully, though panto players are not known for their operatic power, as was evidenced here.    Song highlights were these – “Life’s a Happy Song”;  “We could have been  anything we wanted to be”;  “The moment I wake up / It must be Love”;  “All by Myself”;  “You are the Wind beneath my Wings” (excellent comedy and hilarious routine);  “The more I see You”;  “Be Our Guest”;  “Love was made for Me and You”;  and finally the Finale song “We got the Feeling”.   I found the drumming rather loud on the opening number “Panto Express”, but perhaps my ears became attuned as, after that, the band under Musical Director Simon Fraser gave good support with just the right volume.


Many of the panto scenes were done outstandingly well, my particular favourites being these:  the Hazelbank Store;   Alsatia and Caterina dialogue scene; Bashim and Grabbit as new gang members, wearing “L” plates;  the corny dog jokes (Pal, Chum, Winalot etc);  the kitchen scene – very strong and most effective, (though I trust the coated sponges “frisbeed” into the audience during my visit were thrown out less enthusiastically during subsequent performances);  Camelia’s entrance and Ali Baba’s  singing; spirits of the Cave (Junior chorus in attractive gold costumes);  the strobe lighting for Ali Baba’s escape (an effective end to Act one);  Fatima’s jokes with audience;  the white chalk cross scene on Ali Baba’s door;  the oil sheiks disguised with beard and sandals(classic panto at its best!);  Notsobad’s tongue twister (superbly done);   young lady dancer and her acrobatics;  the songsheet scene (“Ali Baba’s camel”) really well run by Mustafa;  the Act two finale.


Sophie Shickell, doubling as Choreographer set mainly simple dance and movement routines which were well rehearsed, well carried out and which contributed much to the show’s success.


Wardrobe under Anne Lyth with Fee Fraser, Molly Fraser and Hilary Pannell was well above average panto standard and made a strong impression overall.   There was plenty of bright colour, which is vitally important.   Alsatia and Caterina were particularly effective, as were the Sultan, Vizier, Marjana “et al”.


Make up and hair was done in real panto style – I especially liked Alsatia / Caterina – and credit must go to Nicki Payne and Sophie Shickell!


Lighting and sound effects were well used by Carl Osborne and Bob Foley respectively.


Though I have noted a few possible areas for improvement, the whole production was highly enjoyable with all the important ingredients and in particular the vital company energy and life being very much in evidence.   The company did the production team and themselves, not to mention the audience, proud.


Lighting          Carl Osborne

Sound              Warwick James



Jon Fox – NODA District 19


 Newsletter No. 405 – April 2017


Dear Members,



I hope that you are all enjoying the beautiful Easter sunshine! This is my first attempt at writing the Players newsletter so sit back, read and enjoy.


Voyage DVD showing

A massive ‘thank you’ to Fudge for organising a very successful evening, many have

remarked on how much they enjoyed themselves! Also – HUGE thanks to Bob Foley as always for filming the show and for putting together the fantastic DVD for us all to enjoy. Recording these moments for the archive is hugely important and we appreciate that it is a time-consuming task that we are always extremely grateful for – Thanks Bob!


Quartet by Ronald Harwood – May 2017

Meg has reported that all is going well with rehearsals and that the set has been designed and built.

However – It wouldn’t be a Ewhurst Players show without a little added ‘Drama’, so we take this opportunity to inform you of a change of cast member. We welcome George Yates onto the cast. In a change to the original cast, George has kindly offered to take the role of ‘Reggie’. With just over 4 weeks to go this will certainly prove to be a challenge for George so let’s all offer any help and support he needs to take this part on at short notice. The cast are working hard all always and it is shaping up to be a wonderful show.


Most of the backstage crew has been filled but we are always looking for support.  So, if you think you would like to help decorate the set please contact Nicki :07920 779 792 or if decorating is not your thing, we still need help front of house, serving the fish and chips or running the bar.  Please let Chris know on 01483 272378.


Tickets go on sale on Tuesday 18th April, please make sure you book them in good time so that you are not disappointed.

Box Office details

17th – 20th May 2017 Doors open 7pm & Perfomance starts at 7.45pm

£15.00 p/person includes your Fish & Chips & a Pud. BAR will be available with wine, beer and soft drinks from 7pm  –  Box office – OPENS Tuesday 18th April – book online via –

Or for those require phone booking – please call 01483 272378.

For more info about the play – please see the Ewhurst Players Website.


Your New Committee

Committee members and an outline of responsibilities are as follows:

Chairman            –              Chris Dews

Secretary             –              Barry Harrison-Fudge

Treasurer            –              Tricia Cooper

Bill Pilcher          –              Technical Advisor and Digital Memorabilia.

Victoria House   –              Social Media and Membership.

Sophie Shickell  –              Social invites including Noda Rep and Fact Sheets

Carl Osborne      –              Website Content updates and Script Management

Nicki Payne         –             Audition File, Hall Bookings, Child safeguarding and Lead Chaperone.


Co-opted onto the committee:

Jo McInnes         –             Publicity


We are here to help run the group, if there is anything you need please feel free to speak to one of us.


This year, some of the ‘duties’ of the Secretary have been divided between the committee members to ensure a more even spread of duties can be achieved. This also means that the Secretary role is not so onerous and time consuming for one individual to handle.


ALL secretary related enquiries should be directed to Fudge, who will forward to the relevant person to deal with if it isn’t himself. Thank you!!!


Retiring Officers & committee members – THANK YOU!!!

As the first newsletter from your new 2017 committee may we take this opportunity once more to say another HUGE thank you to the retiring officers and committee members for their tireless work and commitment to The Players over recent years. Especially Hillary and Angela who have both committed huge amounts of time and energy to the cause and leave a nice tidy, steady ship in their wake. Thank you, guys, !!! xx Fudge


Future Events

Sunday 2nd July, East Beach, Littlehampton.  All welcome including 4 legged friends, similar to last year with a BBQ and kite flying to name some of the fun.

Keep an eye on the newsletters for more info about this and other exciting future events.


November 2017

Again, we send out a plea!!!!  We desperately need a production but more importantly we need YOU !


the director!!  Please come forward as soon as you can so that we can fill this void!


That’s all for now, we look forward to speaking to you soon.