NODA Review – A Bunch of Amateurs

Ewhurst Players – ” A Bunch of Amateurs”

Ewhurst Village hall – 19th May 2018

This Ian Hislop / Nick Newman comedy drama had a surprising depth which became more apparent as the story unfolded. The plot concerned an egotistical, fading Hollywood film star cast as King Lear at Stratford. Unfortunately for Jefferson Steel – played with marvellous depth by Peter Bradley – Stratford St. John is in deepest rural Suffolk and not, as he thought, in Shakespeare’s Stratford upon Avon.

This eight hander, set in the present, had many twists and turns in the plot and the eventual recognition by the play’s egotistical central character of his own nastiness and contempt for “lesser talented players”, thus enabling him to gain internal peace at long last, was a sort of “Damascus” conversion. That he eventually fulfilled his “destiny” to play King Lear at Stratford upon Avon and be accepted as a valued member of The Stratford Players (Suffolk) provided a redemptive and heart warming denouement to this fascinating piece.

Director Meg Bray, assisted by Mike Richardson, had clearly invested enormous effort into the characters and casting. An experienced cast featuring only one distinctly young player brought a wealth of stage experience to bear, which must gladden the eye of any director, even one as richly experienced as Meg.

An innovative and humorous insert into the programme proper, was the faux programme given by The Stratford Players featuring a production team of such gems as these:-

Prompt            Justin Tyme

Vocal Coach    Ivor Lisp

Costumes        Will Ittfit

and several others in similar vein. To my mind this is one of the (many) joys of watching amateur theatre. One would not find this done at Chichester or The National, more is the pity!

The set, designed by Chris Dews, was simply, but skilfully arranged as the rural Barn Theatre, with a real farm feel to it. Other scenes such as Mary’s B&B were simply but effectively set out with good use of lighting by Carl Osborne, no connection with “Phil Terr”!

Anne Lyth’s costumes were effective and realistic. Top class sound design and effects were courtesy of Bill Pilcher. These featured a number of themes from famous films, including “Superman” and “Jaws” among several others, equally well known.

Peter Bradley as Steel was hardly off stage throughout. His was a monster of a part, which he will long enjoy having played. Peter’s performance was among the very best I have seen this year.   And I have seen some corkers, you may be sure!

Tricia Cooper as the tough resourceful Lear director Dorothy Nettle was a marvellous foil, her refusal to give an inch to the American tyrant providing fascinating theatre,

Molly Fraser as Steel’s daughter Jessica, modern, talented, humane and with an ability to best her father in so many ways, gave a peach of a performance in this rewarding role.

Jamie Boyes’ character Nigel Dewbury was a little more one dimensional and therefore less rewarding to play than some. However, Jamie provided the Tweedle Dee to Steel’s Tweedle Dum and their constant bickering and sword versus umbrella fight provided much of the high drama to the play. A skilfully played role!

Wendy Davies as the jealous Mary Plunkett brought her considerable stage experience to this role. Mary exudes charisma on stage and I saw her give yet another in a string of fine performances I have witnessed.

Chris Dews was the somewhat star struck, slow witted Denis Dobbins and bumbling stage manager, and most convincing in the role.

Jay Garland played Lauren Bell, the local brewery’s advertising manager and effectively, via her husband, the show’s financial backer and a resourceful and able character.

Anne Lyth played herself as the King Lear wardrobe mistress.

All in all, this was a fast paced and highly enjoyable production and I commend it, not least the excellent diction throughout.


Jon Fox

NODA Area 19

NODA Review – Dick Whittington

By Jon Fox


Whatever should a company do when it boasts two Idle Jacks? Why, start the show with them both on stage in a comic repartee scene of course, what else! Barry Harrison-Fudge (Fudge to all) was Idle Jack in this instance and his “brother” Chris Dews shared the run. Fudge was a mesmeric presence throughout this production, showing professional polish, comic timing, in fact the lot!

Dick Whittington was well played by Jo McInnes giving a sterling performance. Mollie Fraser as Alice Fitzwarren, in love with Dick, was also a splendid Alice. The pivotal Dame part of Sarah the Cook was played in charismatic style with good timing and vocal clarity by Charlie McLean, whose sole previous acting experience apparently was playing a dead body! Where have you been hiding your talent all this time Charlie? And why?

Tom the Cat, athletic and heroic with feline grace was excellently played by Sophie Shickell, radiating stage presence and making a marvellous foil for Dick. The spitefully horrible Queen Rat – no less effective for not being a King Rat – was given frightening reality by the capable hands, and tail, of Nicki Payne. Rats got a hard time from we humans. Well this one gave the humans on stage a hard time and the show was much the more enjoyable for it.

Julia Allan Patel and Sharon Welland were the comic bad double act Rot and Stench respectively, showing good comic timing and much comedic acting. The scene in the sea with the driftwood was top class.

Julia Heathcote was a delight as Fairy Bow Belle, her Dame Edna spectacles, pink ballet tutu and droopy wand, together with an excellent comic flair meant that she really stood out in what was a special performance.

Barrie Heathcote as Alderman Fitzwarren and living firmly in Old London Town, long before the days of easy travel, was nevertheless from “oop North” and “reet gradely” he was too. His accent brought some distinct character to what is usually a less rewarding part to play.

Two highly experienced actors – and it showed – in Wendy Davies and Peter Bradley, played Dora and Harry with practised ease.

Some amusing antics were charismatically played between Louisa Worby as Queen Megabazooma and Fee Fraser as the High Priestess “red-carded” by the Queen for overacting. In panto! I suppose, had she been underacting – as I see to my horror all too frequently upon the amateur stage – she would have won a medal. Great comedy and, of course, actually a compliment. How I despair though at those who don’t act enough! There were none in this show, I am pleased to report!

Fabian Cole did well as the ship’s Captain. Julie Edwards made a distinct impression as the horrible Stenchess and also doing well was Lucy Payne as Rat.

Rosie Bishop, Lottie Welland and William Wood in chorus parts added sterling support.

The singing was enthusiastic, mostly tuneful, well put over and, most importantly, of all featured well-known tunes. Not all amateur pantos obey this important rule.

Some energetic and well rehearsed routines were set by the choreography team of Wendy and Sophie.

Musical Director Simon Fraser, who wrote and adapted many lyrics, together with his three piece band, gave sterling support to the enthusiastic singers, some of whom were more talented at singing than others, but the overall standard was a good one.

Experienced show director Marian Heathcote had packed plenty of enjoyable comedy business in this rattlingly good production. How good to see slosh in an amateur panto; always an essential part of traditional panto, but sadly often lacking these days. I loved the rats comic dialogue while clinging to some driftwood upon the sea. Sarah’s false beard and seagull in her blue wig was good panto as was the marvellous under the sea scene. Most effective!

The South Sea Island scene was a real highlight with colourful frocks and fabulous feather headdresses. Bright colours and glitz is so necessary and in this show we had it in all its glory.

I also much liked Jack’s red with green trim costume with his baseball cap worn backwards. As if there is any other way! The dramatic storm scene was well carried out and more real drama was achieved in the hypnosis scene. As ever and in true panto tradition , Dick and the beautiful Alice fell in love in mere seconds.

Lighting by Carl Osborne and sound with full effects by Bill Pilcher added much to the overall effect.

Anne Lyth made sure all costumes were correctly well fitted. Hair and make up, some of it quite special, was in the capable hands of Nicki and Sophie. Well done all you ladies!

Meg Bray stage managed and with her willing team the many set changes ran smoothly.

A special word of praise for the informative programme with quality pics and , glory be, a comprehensive page devoted to NODA and our aims. This is enough to gladden the heart of any NODA rep!

In all, this production was a pacy, colourful and well enacted show ensuring that traditional pantomime is very much alive and thriving in deepest Surrey.


NODA Review – Death and the Maiden

Ewhurst Players “Death and the Maiden”

Ewhurst Village Hall – 16th November, 2017

Ewhurst Players have chosen a three hander of two men and one woman to carry the flame for their main autumn production. In choosing this gripping if somewhat uncomfortable-to-watch play, they have for me, as a NODA rep. at least, broken new ground using merely three players.

Right from the start, seeing Paulina hide out of sight as her husband Gerardo welcomed his (car breakdown) rescuer Dr. Roberto Miranda in for a late night drink, the obvious tension was amply displayed. Izzy McLean as Paulina Salas was all angst, suspicion and wanting vengeance. Her body language perfectly captured the turmoil of her character and as the plot unfolded and she herself became dangerous to both her “tormentor” and indeed her husband, the tension rose to near boiling point.

Simon Fraser, as the initially bewildered Gerardo Escobar, who then became very angry with Paulina and enraged that she would blithely take justice into her own hands, had a wonderful role to play and did so with great skill. His relationship with Paulina was laid bare when his long ago affair with another woman was revealed. It was clear that Paulina still had never got over it or really forgiven Gerardo.

Paulina, in painfully real style, strove to torment Dr. Roberto Miranda, her former tormentor who captured and raped her many years ago. Izzy’s playing was that of a clearly gifted actor. When Dr Miranda appeared, bound and gagged, sitting helplessly in a chair, having been knocked unconscious by Paulina in the night, it was difficult to fully know how we in the audience felt, as the author Ariel Dorfman clearly intended. This deeply painful play certainly succeeded on many levels in examining our own ethics, emotions and views on several areas of life and this was in fact the true richness and depth of this multi layered play.

Ben Aveyard, as the suffering Dr. Miranda, portrayed both his physical and emotional pain, anger, bewilderment and guilt – if indeed he even was guilty? – in beautifully nuanced manner. Sitting in his underwear with bare feet and a flimsy T-shirt, it was difficult not to sympathise with his predicament, whether guilty or not.

The gun was prominently used, a key prop. obviously, but I thought it rather odd how Gerardo clearly had the chance to seize it from his wife, but did not. I could not decide whether or not this hesitance was intended by the plot, or indeed the director. Presumably others in the audience would have thought the same.

I have to say the whole idea of a confession, forced by threat, I found a tad unconvincing, even though this was a key part of the plot. The idea of Paulina inserting some inconsistencies with which to trip up the Doctor – as she admitted not being one hundred percent sure he was in fact the rapist – seems to my mind a writer’s device which, though superbly well portrayed by all three players, jarred somewhat for my liking. On the other hand, one could say that the lack of total certainty on Paulina’s past, prior to the confession, pointed towards a degree of mental frailty, beyond which one might expect and leaving one to draw conclusions about the truth or otherwise of her own past life. I have tried to look at it both ways, which is probably exactly what was intended by the author and skilfully interpreted by the excellent director George Yates, assisted by Victoria Helstrip.

All in all, I found myself unsure as to Roberto’s guilt, as doubtless others have, over the years. Did he or didn’t he? We will never know and the huge mirror, designed for the audience members to look into their own reflection and hearts provided a powerful but somewhat frustrating penultimate scene.

At the final scene at the concert when the play’s title “Death and the Maiden” by Schubert was played, Paulina and Roberto – or was it merely his image? – stared at each other as the lights faded. An enigmatic conclusion to a thought-provoking play.

A word of praise for the effective set of a wooden cabin set in an unnamed South American country. Oars, a lifebuoy and predominance of wicker furniture perfectly set the remote setting. Good sound effects by Bill Pilcher for the truck arriving and leaving among others made a realistic impression. Even better lighting by Carl Osborne added much to the overall effect. Anne Lyth did sterling work on wardrobe and George Yates, who together with Chris Dews designed the atmospheric set, deserves a distinction for creating this realistic cabin.

Despite my comments about the confession, I found this a top class play of professional standard by all three players and director. Challenging productions and Ewhurst Players clearly go together like fish and chips. Tasty and wholesome!

Jon Fox

NODA District 19

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.


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


Newsletter No. 407 – June 2017

Dear Members,

Hopefully you are all enjoying the beautiful sunshine that June has to offer. For those green fingered amongst us we also welcome the rain. I have had a wonderful weekend visiting some of the beautiful gardens in Ewhurst where I bumped into many of our members.


A massive thank you and well done to everyone involved – it was a huge success and the Players delivered yet again in true style. We were very pleased that we are able to donate £600 collected from the raffle and bar to Meg’s chosen charity ‘Parkinsons’.

November Production – Death and the Maiden

George was very pleased with the turn out and has cast the play as follows:

Paulina – Izzy McLean [Welcome back]
Gerardo – Simon Fraser [Nice to see you on stage performing away from the ivories]
Doctor – Ben Aveyard [Some type casting I think]

We look forward to seeing this powerful production come to life. As always we will be in need of support from the members. Many positions to fill backstage, so if you feel you would like to help out in any way please contact George 277354 or Chris 272378.

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

This event is still taking place – not too late to book your ticket so please do so ASAP.

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.

EAST BEACH – LITTLEHAMPTON Sunday 2nd July, 10am

Similar to last year, all welcome including the furry four-legged friends. Bring a picnic and enjoy fun and games on the beach.

Deadline dates for productions

The committee have been in discussion about changing the deadline dates and they are now as follows:

  • May production – September 1st
  • November production – March 1st
  • Christmas production – May 1st

Membership Subs

We hate to name and shame BUT – we have 121 members of which 37 are currently up to date with their payments. Our subscription is small but it helps us to see who amongst you is available for supporting our group. Tricia is waiting anxiously for your payment. It’s very easy. You can set up a standing order and you can find our bank details below. These people currently have not paid, but forgive me if you have paid over the last week.

Woods, Worby, Wilson, Williams, Wichman, Westaway, Welland, Wheeler, Watson, Vivers, Verden, Van t Riet, Mc Innes, Mc Donald, Mc Glone, McLean, Mc Math, Morris, Nelson, O’Hara, Pannell, Pinn, Rashbrooke, Sadeghzadeh, Sanctuary, Sanson, Saunders, Smith P, Smith A, Southgate, Stewart, Tappin,Taylor R, Taylor G, Thomas, Turner, Dunlop, Dyball, Edmondson, Faithfull, Francis, Fuller,Geoghagan C, Gordon, Hallatt, Handley, Hearsey, Hedger, Hemingway, Jackson, Kelsey, Leslie, Lewis, Marvin, Dean, Davis M, Davies N, Cox, Cole, Chaundy, Carmichael, Butcher, Bryan, Brininger, Bray, Branch, Bradley, Boyes S, Boyes J, Bakota, Birchmore, Biggins, Beresford, Barter, Baker, Aveyard, Arnold G, Arnold V, Allan-Patel.

If you no longer wish to remain with us for whatever reason then please drop Fudge or Tricia a quick email and we can remove you from our mailing list. We thank you for your support.

Ewhurst Players – sort code: 40.19.22 – acc no.: 71402528

We the committee are always looking for ways to make our group more appealing to a range of different people. If you have any suggestions that you would like to put forward, please contact a member of the committee.

Best wishes to you all,


 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. geoffeve67@gmail.com

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 – https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/ewhurstplayers

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.