Review – Confusions – JamJar Productions – Louth Riverhead Theatre

23213247_10155027476191464_1946850990585969267_o

From the same company that brought ‘Two‘ and ‘Sleuth’ in previous years, it was an absolute delight to watch Jamjar Productions portrayal of Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Confusions’. I was intrigued when I first heard it had been chosen as the next show as I thoroughly enjoyed the previous production.

The production is a series of 5 plays, with 20 characters played by just 5 actors.  The links between the plays were clever and funny and the wide range of characters between the individual plays was very diverse.  I really enjoyed comparing some of the characters to ‘real life’ people I had met in the past!

23032682_10213189045295176_3092617004786094041_n

Mother Figure, ‘Lucy’, played by Sophie Grundy-Holmes, gave us a wonderful insight into motherhood, and the strains on relationships where one partner is often away… Holly Mapletoft and Matt Sargent played what I couldn’t work out to be either nosy or concerned neighbours ‘Rosemary’ and ‘Terry’;  all 3 characters worked together well, and it was interesting to see the change in characters as the scene played on, with the dominant moving from one actor to another!

In the second play, we get to meet Lucy’s husband ‘Harry’, brilliantly played by Jamie Harris;  a travelling salesman who has a bit too keen an eye on the ladies, Paula and Bernice (Sophie and Holly), fuelled with a few too many whiskies, helped along by waiter Darren Melton!  Drinking Companion is a very clever insight into the world of business travellers (some of them anyway!).

23130779_10213189049735287_2852190234933438131_n

The third play, Between Mouthfulls, is a hilarious look at a ‘romantic’ night in a cosy restaurant where two couples are out for dinner.  I loved the way the clever use of silence brought the audience attention from one couple to another; the scene was brilliantly portrayed, and the fabulous props and set team should also get a special mention, well done Pat and Alan Fisher, and Rob and Holly Mapletoft. The waiter, played once again by Darren Melton, certainly deserved his feet up moment at the end of that play after the twist in events!

23167808_10213189055615434_5553590172805509172_n

I think the fourth play, Gosforth’s Fete had to be my favourite.  Matt Sargent showed yet another completely different character, he has a fantastic ability to transform, not only his voice, but his facial expressions.  We also saw another side to the brilliant talents of Jamie Harris, playing the village vicar…  I’m not going to say too much, but I saw a side of Jamie I’d never seen before, and his whole portrayal of that character was exceptional!  I don’t think I’ve laughed so much for a long time!

23031349_10213189054255400_3820634674726528997_n

Holly, playing ‘Mrs Pearce’ the special guest of the Fete, looked like she had great fun playing that part, from being pulled around by Mr Gosforth, to getting lost in the fields…  an absolute riot from beginning to end.

Finally, Talk in the Park, the fifth play, was very simply set on 4 park benches; and consisted just of dialogue, which throughout all 5 plays was word perfect.  It showed just how awkward it can be when strangers start talking to each other…  some difficult yet entertaining dialogue, and definitely thought provoking.

22894067_10213189071175823_649635483867316433_n

Well done to all the cast and crew for a very entertaining evening.  Once of the best and funniest shows I’ve seen at Louth Riverhead Theatre and congratulations to the Director, Rob Mapletoft  and Producer, Jamie Harris.

The Director, Rob, says of the show:

I first saw Confusions at Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Stephen Joseph Theatre’ in Scarborough a number of years ago…

…I enjoy trying to push the drama out to the audience, making them feel part of the action, so apologies in advance to those of you in the front row!

I find ‘Confusions’ intriguing, Ayckbourn finds the dramatic in the hum-drum everyday parts of life, and pushes unlikely characters together in uncomfortable situations.  Each character may be very different from the next, but they all share similarities and insecurities.

I also like the structure – five short interconnected stories that give a taste of very different lives.  Each character with their own motive.  Could be confusing?!

The show is on for just one more night, Saturday 4th November, and there are surprisingly still some tickets left.  If you have a free evening, I urge you to get your tickets now and go and enjoy a great evening of fun!

Click here for your tickets at £10 or £9 for concessions or call:

Telephone: 01507 600350
The Box Office is open for advanced booking every Monday to Saturday from 10.00am – 1.00pm.

The Riverhead Theatre
Victoria Road
Louth
LN11 0BX

 

Advertisements

Review – ‘Ton of Bricks’ – Stroke of Genius Community Theatre Company

img_2757

This particular show had completely passed me by until I was asked to accompany my friends, Dawn, Jeannine and Helen on a bit of a girlie road trip to The Robin Hood Theatre in Averham.  It’s a small public theatre situated in the countryside close to Newark on Trent in Nottinghamshire, seating 150, it has the reputation of producing professional, high standard entertainment and it certainly didn’t let us down last night!

The main reason for our trip was to support one of our dear friends, Cliff McArdle who we all met in the cast of the rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar in Lincoln Cathedral in 2015.  Cliff wrote all the Music and Lyrics for ‘Ton of Bricks’, with the script being Written and Directed by Carolyn Drury.  After the show, Cliff said he found the experience a really rewarding one, that was made easier by the clear directions given by Carolyn Drury; he said, “She knew exactly what she wanted from each song , and all I had to do was to write them!”  Well, what a fabulous job Cliff did with every single song; although he’s ‘dabbled’ in song-writing for many years, this particular show was his first foray into composition not specifically for children (despite it being set in a village school), having left the teaching profession a few years ago to concentrate more fully on music and song writing.

The show itself was set in a Village School, where the rich, older generation London weekend visitors were buying up all the property in the village, leaving the local young people, wanting to stay in their village, with no affordable housing.  The result of that, lead to the decline in the numbers of children attending the local school, with the stark fact that it might close within a year or two.  A fleeting thought by the Head Teacher, led to a series of well planned discussions and events, eventually saving the school from it’s sad demise.

There were some brilliant characters that were totally believable from beginning to end.  The wonderfully buoyant Head Teacher, Mrs Esther Dawson played by Sarah-Lee Taylor was so obviously drowning in ‘Paperwork’ as portrayed in a fabulous duet with her efficient school Business Manager Sarah, played by Kerri Saxby.  Despite her drive to success as Head Teacher, she was lonely, having only in the last few years been widowed.  Her school and her ‘school children’ meant everything to her so she needed to save it and them at all costs.

Mrs Dawson was plagued on a daily basis by her nasty neighbour from hell Bob, played brilliantly by David Baliol-Key earning him a very loud ‘booooo’ at the end!  He made Esther Dawson’s life a misery but it didn’t just end there; Bob’s very sad, downtrodden and very bullied wife Marilyn played by Yvonne Cockayne, showed the audience just what a mean character he was, fortunately getting his comeuppance in the end being left one lonely old grumpy man.  Sarah-Lee in pensive thought, gave a wonderful rendition of ‘If Only’, a beautiful song asking the question we might often ask ourselves, I wonder what would have happened if only…?

Two hilarious cleaners Molly and Sandra, played by Zanda Pepper and Flick Millis, doubled as ‘scene shifters’ earning special thanks in the programme from their mum, Writer and Director Carolyn Drury.  They were both wonderful, even just walking on stage, and the looks passing between them brought laughter from the audience.  Their duet ‘Get the bleach’ made me wonder whether there must have been some glue in their buckets and elastic on their mops…  (I will forever wonder!).  (I also thought I saw a slight resemblance to a couple of other ladies in the community meeting towards the end of the show… maybe some older, well-to-do great aunts also lived in the village and occupied a couple of the elusive properties…?)

The snooty Councillor/land owner Edward Montague played by Tony Smith, seemed initially to be the baddy, but with the help and money from the charming suave and sophisticated building entrepreneur Tony Marshall played by Ian Carr, eventually saved the day in more ways than one!

A gorgeous duet by Ian and Sarah-Lee, ‘What do I like?’ showed us that even with our personal differences and preferences, love can still prevail…  after all, we all like a bit of the ‘bright lights’ sometimes!

The wonderfully portrayed ‘posh’ head boy and girl were stunning in their performances, looking down their noses at the lesser beings in the playground, otherwise known as ‘Year 7’s’; Giles played by Kane Stone, was clear and articulate as well as showing a kind brave side, winning the heart of the unexpected girl by breaking up a fight.  Tara, the head girl, played by Hannah Roe, showed more than a hint of ‘Miranda Hart’ (Sorry Hannah I had to say it!).  She showed a brilliant sense of comedic timing and an altogether hilarious performance; their duet ‘I want to go where the action is’ was both enthusiastic and passionate.

fullsizeoutput_b7af
Kane Stone in rehearsal
fullsizeoutput_b7c3
Hannah Roe in rehearsal

The other 3 teenagers played by Lewis Wilby, Jo Anna Geary and Toby Lobmeister, despite looking and acting like the sort of teenagers you don’t want anything to do with, were obviously misunderstood, and their song, ‘Pride’, a mix of solo and trio, was very touching…

“…Yes, we’re often skint,

but we’re rich in the important things,

the importance a family brings

fills us up with pride…”

The Year 7’s really got involved in the whole show, both singing, acting, speaking and choreography;  I was impressed by their passion and obvious enjoyment throughout the performance.

One of my favourite numbers, apart from ‘Pride’and ‘If Only’ (there were many favourites!), was the solo ‘Sunday, Sunday’, sang again by Ian (despite my friend Jeannine speculating in advance Sarah-Lee would join Ian in her dressing gown before the end of the scene!).  The humorous reference to building Mr Trump’s wall in Mexico was a delightful addition to the script making it very current!

Since I left school back in 1982, I haven’t had much to do with teachers or schooling apart from through my son’s education, until I joined the Jesus Christ Superstar ensemble in 2015, where I met Cliff and a lot of other either current or past teachers…  being part of a community with a lot of people with a teaching background, you pick up a lot of vibes about the state of schools today, including the fact that record numbers of teachers are leaving the profession.  This production highlighted perfectly for me some of the key issues facing both schools, teachers and students in our world today with both hilarity and extreme sadness with hints of bullying, theft, overwork and long term sickness amongst the teaching staff (the lazy jobsworth caretaker Frank played by John Dodd a typical example).  The script was delightfully funny yet emotional and each song, and the unique, elusive harmonies, were performed with a sense of confidence and assurance.  It was also great to see Cliff supporting the male harmonies whilst playing the keyboard during a few numbers!

Jeannine said about the show:

“Cliff…. I can’t tell you how proud we ALL were of you… the show was fantastic… very refreshing to be honest…
We had no idea what we were coming to…I just thought that we were kind of coming to support you in this fantastic venture… which was ok in itself anyway… You’re our friend and we wanted to support you…
We had no idea that it would be such a brilliant show…
Interesting script… Amazing songs and harmonies… some wonderful performances from the youngest on stage to the older ones… I liked the choreography, it went perfectly with the songs…
It was funny yet at times rather moving…
I just loved it Darlin’ ….. Well worth coming over for……THANK YOU…”

Helen said:

“What a great show!  Funny in places, poignant in others. Very strong cast who were fully into their characters. Loved the score with themes running through it for the characters. Clever lyrics and I really enjoyed all the songs entwined in the final song. I had no idea what Jeannine and gang were taking me to, down the dark country lane, but what a great night. Well done you and your team x”

Dawn said:

“Well, I thought it was incredibly well observed, a modern tale with totally believable characters and songs that just, well, fit in perfectly with clever and moving lyrics.  I went from laughing out loud to holding back the tears”

fullsizeoutput_b7bf
Helen Kent, Jeannine Ridha and Dawn Wilson waiting for the show to begin

I don’t know what more to add other than what has been said already above, except congratulations to all the cast and the Production Team, especially Carolyn, Cliff, the Choreographer Rebecca Ladds, the musicians, Stage Manager, Jean Baliol-Key, the sound, lighting, set design and construction and all others involved.  You’ve done a brilliant job and I really hope it’s not the last we see of the writers of this – this show needs to be seen again and again.

Congratulations!

fullsizeoutput_b7be
Cleaner’s break time!

 

Photo’s taken during show rehearsals…

Review -‘A Chorus of Disapproval’ – The Lincoln Company, Louth Playgoers

15977681_10158275436705413_1620925541114069701_n

Having read previously that this show was about a group of people taking part in amateur dramatics I was very interested to see exactly how a play could be made with this subject.  I have to admit, when the curtain went back and my husband and I were introduced to the whole company, in ‘cheap low quality’ and ‘amateurish’ looking costumes, performing a ‘very interesting’ song and dance routine, I really did wonder what we’d let ourselves in for, especially as I’d got such high hopes for cast members I’d worked with previously!

It soon became apparent that the cast had become very adept at getting across the ‘amateur’ vibe; I knew exactly what they were capable of and it certainly wasn’t amateurish!

In summary, the story follows a young, seemingly shy and placid, widower, Guy Jones (played by Mark McCredie) as he attempts to join Pendon Amateur Light Operatic Society (PALOS). After a very amusing audition, he gradually rises through the company ranks, mainly by his inability to say no to anybody or anything, and through what other people in the cast read into him!  The company then attempt to put on The Beggar’s Opera, and Guy becomes the male lead, while simultaneously conducting various liaisons with several of the female cast. Many of the scenes and songs from John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera are kept within the play, usually being sung with their own, new context.

The play was Directed by Rebecca Mann who says in the programme:

“I was particularly interested in working on Ayckbourn’s play because of the absolute recognisability of these characters found in village halls across the country taking part in amateur dramatics.  I think that every theatre enthusiast and amateur thespian will see someone they’ve met – perhaps even a reflection of themselves!”

I totally agree with Rebecca.  Having only been involved in amateur theatre for the past 2 years, I could see a remarkable resemblance to some of the cast and crew that I have worked with in that time…  We laughed incessantly, as did another particular audience member, very loudly, at many stages throughout the show. It was especially amusing while the cast seemingly took weeks to get through the first 2 pages of the script, going over and over the same sections time and time again, and changing direction and lead roles at every rehearsal, with half the cast sitting out until they were needed;  all of which were hilariously brought to life by each and every cast member!

Rebecca also says:

“We had fun finding the quality of the performances inside ‘The Beggar’s Opera’.  Gay’s characters already give plenty of room for exaggeration –  adding on Ayckbourn’s characterisation only allows for more eccentricities!”

The whole cast certainly went to town with their exaggeration and obviously had a blast rehearsing and performing in this show.  Each character had their own unique idiosyncracies which were accentuated to highlight their individual traits and quirks. The energy, enthusiasm and skill with which each character was portrayed made it simple for the audience to completely relate; understanding who they were, and some insight into the background of their particular individual role.

16804283_10158449984295413_7361233032357580555_o

All the cast did extremely well but I particularly enjoyed the performance by Mark McCredie, playing Guy Jones.  Mark graduated from the University of Lincoln with a First Class BA (Hons) Drama degree.  Mark played ‘Judas‘ in the 2015 production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ in Lincoln Cathedral, and his interest is now primarily in physical and musical theatre.  His interpretation of the quiet, subdued young widower Guy, barely opening his mouth, transforming into Crook-Finger’d Jack (hilarious what you did with your digitus secundus!), Matt of the Mint and then finally Macheath, the star of the show…  his voice as well as his characterisation also transformed, as his character grew in confidence, and he delighted the audience as he fluently performed his auditions and ballads – typical of opera’s of their time; (the Beggar’s opera being the only example of the once thriving genre of satirical ballad opera to remain popular today).

Tom Hallmark played Daffyd ap Llewellyn, Director of ‘PALOS’; he’s a first year drama student at Lincoln University and loves comedy, particularly classic sitcoms.  Tom showed several sides to his character, the firm and often harsh director, friend, absent husband and performer (his rendition of the beautiful Welsh song ‘All through the night’ or ‘Ar Hyd y Noswill be one of my most remembered from the show!  Wouldn’t it be hilarious if all auditions could be like this!  I really enjoyed Tom’s portrayal of Daffyd, and the contradictions in how he behaved as a man v director… showing how typically directors hold all the power and control but like all power it can be abused.

We saw corruption, swinging, cheating, politics and sexual tension…  the show had it all, and Hannah Llewellyn, wife of the director, Daffyd, played by Sophie Cole really had it all; her declaration of undying love for Guy, although gloriously portrayed, wasn’t reciprocated.  She captured the attention of the audience several times throughout the show with her beautiful solo soprano melodies! I saw Sophie and several other cast members perform recently in the Lincoln University production of ‘Treasure Island’.

The cast also included Laura Potente playing Bridget Baines, an aggressive, angry character, but one fuelled with tension and a love for creating havoc with a keen eye for the men, usually someone else’s!

Mr Ames, (the fabulous pianist) was played by Ed Wellman, Enid Washbrook by Jess Bark, Rebecca Huntley-Pike by Lauren Simpson, Fay Hubbard (the not so subtle swinger fighting over the pants was very amusing!)!) played by Samantha Miles and Ian Hubbard (the apparent loser in the swinging game!) played by Joe Giggs.  Jarvis Huntley-Pike was played by Simon Panayi, Crispin Usher (and the wonderful knee in the groin moment) played by Elliott Sargent, Linda Washbrook  (and the fabulous ‘girl fight’ with Bridget) played by Hannah Thorpe and finally Ted Washbrook (with his moody exit from rehearsal), played by James Ashfield.

All the performers of this show are either current or previous students from the University of Lincoln – all proving the dedication, professionalism and a passion for performance!

The Musical Director was Mark Wilde (past musical director for ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ in Lincoln cathedral, 2016, and current musical director for ‘Jekyll and Hyde: the musical’ 2017 also in Lincoln Cathedral).  Assistant Director and Stage Manager was Emily Cartwright.

Other thanks,

For the Lincoln Company:

Production Manager – Martin Rousseau

Stage Manager – Alex Kent

For the Riverhead Theatre:

Stage Manager – Bob Booth

Lighting – Roy Hobson

Sound – Brooke Vickers

Programme Design – Jeremy Smith

—————————NOTE——————————

For those of you who missed out on seeing this marvellous production at Louth Riverhead Theatre, you’ll be pleased to know that The Lincoln Company are going to be performing ‘A Chorus of Disapproval’ for 2 nights only, at Lincoln LPAC, tickets are available here.

Fri 24th Feb – Sat 25th Feb

The Lincoln Company 


Tickets: £10 Full // £8 Concessions // £5 LIVE PASS

Running Time: 2 hour 20 mins (inc. interval)

Age: 12+

16806730_10158449984375413_8175315880896826401_n

 

 

Jekyll & Hyde – TICKETS ON SALE NOW

I can’t believe the day is nearly here, 14th February, when we’ll be able to buy tickets for the eagerly anticipated show ‘Jekyll & Hyde: the musical’ to be performed in Lincoln Cathedral in August 2017.  August seems like a long way away, but rehearsals with the Starring Lincoln Theatre Company and it’s typically large community cast […]

new-j-h-logo-906x245

We’re here, 14th February, when tickets are on sale for the eagerly anticipated show ‘Jekyll & Hyde: the musical’ to be performed in Lincoln Cathedral in August 2017.  August seems like a long way away, but rehearsals with the Starring Lincoln Theatre Company and it’s typically large community cast have been underway since September 2016 and are set to ramp up over the next few weeks now the lead roles have been cast.  (Watch this space over the coming weeks to get more information about who is starring in the cast!)

I had the pleasure of taking some photos in one of the rehearsals at the Assembly Rooms in Lincoln just before Christmas, where the group had it’s first run through…  I was spellbound – although I’ve listened to the soundtrack for the past 5 months in preparation, nothing could have prepared me for the tension, the seriousness, the comedy and the horror that is brought to life by the lead roles going through the motions with their lines and bringing their own individual characterisations to the script and score…  To be honest, if that’s how I felt in the first run through, I can’t imagine what I’ll feel and what the show will look like when I see it for real in August; I can’t wait!

dsc_0588

 

 

 

 

If the past 2 years productions are anything to go by, tickets won’t last long.

ALL tickets for ALL performances were sold out within 5 hours in February 2016 for the 2nd years production of Jesus Christ Superstar and I’m convinced that if tickets don’t sell even quicker this time, I’d be very surprised!

dsc_0756dsc_0680

Lincoln Cathedral’s Website said:

Lincoln Cathedral will open its doors once more in August 2017 to entertain, delight and dazzle audiences with the Broadway bestseller ‘Jekyll and Hyde: the musical’.

Tickets will be available to purchase from Tuesday 14 February 2017 from 10am.

We anticipate there will be a high demand for tickets so recommend you book early to avoid disappointment.

A link to enable you to purchase your tickets will appear on this page at 10am on Tuesday 14 February.

This hit show was written for the stage by Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse and is based on the classic novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. The musical was written in the 1980s and has been performed worldwide to great critical acclaim. The musical is a much lighter take than the original gothic horror and explores the epic struggle of man between good and evil.

The powerful pop rock music charts the struggle of a Doctor attempting to find a cure for his father’s mental illness, which goes drastically wrong and creates an alter ego who soon wreaks havoc on the streets of Victorian London. So many of the shows themes are universal; love, honour, family, life, death and illness. Thought provoking and moving – this will rock Lincoln’s theatre world!

The performances will run from Tuesday 22 August to Friday 1 September (please note that there will be no performance on Sunday 27 August). The Theatre in the Nave project involves over 250 members of the local community in its cast and crew.

Tickets will be available to purchase from Tuesday 14 February 2017. The best way to purchase your tickets will be through this website. The Cathedral Shop will not have a pre-allocation of tickets for sale, they will simply be able to assist you in purchasing tickets online through Eventbrite.

Accessible seating will be available to purchase by phone only on 01522 504394.

Click the Lincoln Cathedral link on 14th February for tickets!

 

maxresdefault-2

NOTE:  Although I’ve been rehearsing for the past 4-5 months with the cast, I’ve decided not to continue as a member of the cast this year.  I’m trying to ramp up my own business and may have the opportunity to travel  fairly extensively early in the summer, so I’m continuing to review shows within this blog, as well as write more about Jekyll & Hyde as it progresses over the coming months, including interviews with cast members and some of the lead performers, musicians and back stage crew.  As one of my hobbies is photography, I’ll be able to share some insights into the rehearsals, although don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers – you’ll have to buy your own ticket to see the show when they go on sale in 10 days time!

799db6b23507ecfa90c23ec74e0731

Jekyll & Hyde – only 10 Days to go!

clxzet6wqaa1ipc

new-j-h-logo-906x245

I can’t believe the day is nearly here, 14th February, when we’ll be able to buy tickets for the eagerly anticipated show ‘Jekyll & Hyde: the musical’ to be performed in Lincoln Cathedral in August 2017.  August seems like a long way away, but rehearsals with the Starring Lincoln Theatre Company and it’s typically large community cast have been underway since September 2016 and are set to ramp up over the next few weeks now the lead roles have been cast.  (Watch this space over the coming weeks to get more information about who is starring in the cast!)

I had the pleasure of taking some photos in one of the rehearsals at the Assembly Rooms in Lincoln just before Christmas, where the group had it’s first run through…  I was spellbound – although I’ve listened to the soundtrack for the past 5 months in preparation, nothing could have prepared me for the tension, the seriousness, the comedy and the horror that is brought to life by the lead roles going through the motions with their lines and bringing their own individual characterisations to the script and score…  To be honest, if that’s how I felt in the first run through, I can’t imagine what I’ll feel and what the show will look like when I see it for real in August; I can’t wait!

If the past 2 years productions are anything to go by, tickets won’t last long when the box office opens at 10am on Tuesday 14th February.  ALL tickets for ALL performances were sold out within 5 hours in February 2016 for the 2nd years production of Jesus Christ Superstar and I’m convinced that if tickets don’t sell even quicker this time, I’d be very surprised!

 

dsc_0756dsc_0680

Lincoln Cathedral’s Website says:

Lincoln Cathedral will open its doors once more in August 2017 to entertain, delight and dazzle audiences with the Broadway bestseller ‘Jekyll and Hyde: the musical’.

Tickets will be available to purchase from Tuesday 14 February 2017 from 10am.

We anticipate there will be a high demand for tickets so recommend you book early to avoid disappointment.

A link to enable you to purchase your tickets will appear on this page at 10am on Tuesday 14 February.

This hit show was written for the stage by Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse and is based on the classic novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. The musical was written in the 1980s and has been performed worldwide to great critical acclaim. The musical is a much lighter take than the original gothic horror and explores the epic struggle of man between good and evil.

The powerful pop rock music charts the struggle of a Doctor attempting to find a cure for his father’s mental illness, which goes drastically wrong and creates an alter ego who soon wreaks havoc on the streets of Victorian London. So many of the shows themes are universal; love, honour, family, life, death and illness. Thought provoking and moving – this will rock Lincoln’s theatre world!

The performances will run from Tuesday 22 August to Friday 1 September (please note that there will be no performance on Sunday 27 August). The Theatre in the Nave project involves over 250 members of the local community in its cast and crew.

Tickets will be available to purchase from Tuesday 14 February 2017. The best way to purchase your tickets will be through this website. The Cathedral Shop will not have a pre-allocation of tickets for sale, they will simply be able to assist you in purchasing tickets online through Eventbrite.

Accessible seating will be available to purchase by phone only on 01522 504394.

Click the Lincoln Cathedral link on 14th February for tickets!

 

maxresdefault-2

NOTE:  Although I’ve been rehearsing for the past 4-5 months with the cast, I’ve decided not to continue as a member of the cast this year.  I’m trying to ramp up my own business and may have the opportunity to travel  fairly extensively early in the summer, so I’m continuing to review shows within this blog, as well as write more about Jekyll & Hyde as it progresses over the coming months, including interviews with cast members and some of the lead performers, musicians and back stage crew.  As one of my hobbies is photography, I’ll be able to share some insights into the rehearsals, although don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers – you’ll have to buy your own ticket to see the show when they go on sale in 10 days time!

799db6b23507ecfa90c23ec74e0731

Review – The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe – Lincoln Minster School

 

lion-logo

I was really fortunate to get tickets for me and my husband to see the Lincoln Minster Senior School perform ‘The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe’ last Saturday following a tip off from one of my friends recommending it to me; and we were delighted to be welcomed at the door of the hall by someone (one of the cast’s mum) greeting us with ‘Welcome to Narnia’…!

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis, published by Geoffrey Bles in 1950. It’s the first published and best known of seven novels in The Chronicles of Narnia (1950–1956).  This particular stage version was adapted especially, and brilliantly, by Lincoln Minster School’s Head of Drama, Jenny Wafer.

Having not seen a school production since I took part myself in  ‘Joseph and his amazing technicolor dreamcoat’, probably back in 1976/1977 if my memory serves me, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show; but having been pleasantly surprised by Lincoln University Graduates in ‘Treasure Island’ a few days before, I had high hopes for an entertaining evening, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed!

hl2c7856

As we walked into the relatively small hall, we were faced with the ornate ‘wardrobe’; flanked either side by moveable walls and curtained entrances, and at the back of the hall, ‘the lamp post’… a point of reference throughout the production.  The evacuees were the first members of cast to reveal themselves and I was immediately hooked by their characters.  Peter Pevensie, the first of the siblings played by Aidan Turner, showed himself as the level headed of the 4; the sensible one.  Then there was Susan, played beautifully by Nicole Lyttle, a kindly and bouncy character who’s continuous chatter and movement highlighted the nuances of her character really well.  Then came Edmund, wonderfully played by Finley O’Sullivan; his humorous, argumentative and naughty nature, came across sometimes as being a bit bullish but at times showed his vulnerable side. And lastly there was Lucy, played by Hannah Secker. At first I thought one of the weaker cast members but I was sorely mistaken.  Her quiet nature and sensitive personality was brilliantly portrayed and I soon realised that it was down to her acting ability and skill on the stage showing a level of innocence that I’m certain belied her real persona and age.

Other characters in the house included the starch Mrs Macready, played by Gracie-Mai Wood, Professor Kirke, the children’s guardian, played by Charlie Servonat-Blanc and Ivy and Betty, played by Olivia Webb and Tilly Mair.

470a4781

The world of ‘Narnia’ is a land of talking animals, mythical creatures and the ‘White Witch’ who had ruled for 100 years of deep winter with no Christmas.  ‘Narnia’ in Watkins Hall was beautifully magical…  the set allowed the wardrobe to move away, turning, revealing white, sparkling trees with glimmering lights and snowy scenery.  I found out that the whole production was student led, so the lighting, sound and set was all planned, organised and created by the senior students; they made and painted the set themselves and taught their own choreography; a superb testament to their passion and skill, led by Cathy Servonat.  The costumes throughout were exceptional, from the WWII evacuees in simple attire to the creatures of Narnia that were modernistic in their look, with suggestions and hints at the animal portrayed.

470a4329

Once in Narnia, happy go lucky Lucy had her first encounter with Mr Tumnus, played by Stephenson Catney.  I think, overall, he was my favourite character in the show…  his mop of unruly hair, little white horns, and brilliant characterisation, had me mesmerised whenever he was on stage.  He played the twitchy faun, that desperately tried to be good and ultimately kind, but with underlying slyness where he was trying to hide the fact that he was really working for the white witch that was ultimately tearing him apart…

The other mythical characters included Jacob Baker and Poppy Wells who played Mr and Mrs Beaver, the squirrels (Olivia Parkinson, Felicity Waddingham, Zoe Lyttle and Sasha Neesham (they also played robins, an eagle and wolves); and there was a fox (Poppy Rogers) and other mythical creatures including Tilly Mair as a Dryad and Olivia Webb a Naiad, whilst Sophia McGill was a unicorn.  All these characters worked throughout the show, not only to bring magic to Narnia, but in moving the set around between scenes, transforming the stage from wardrobe to magical lands, and back again, several times.

hl2c8293hl2c8068

We saw Gracie-Mai (Mrs Macready) also playing Maugrim, the head wolf; Captain of the White Witch’s Secret Police, quite a scary but impressive character. Father Christmas (Seth Birkinshaw, who also played 1st wolf) also made an appearance, visually and with very distinctive vocals and the giant, Rumblebuffin, was a huge puppet, with the voice by Ted Latus.  The white witch was guarded by two crow guards played by Jacqui Henes and Esther Yip

hl2c8331470a4952

Our first glimpse of The White Witch was when the big pile of gleaming snow turned to reveal her sitting on her throne; adorned in glittering robes, embellished with sequins, diamanté, and silver thread, shimmering in the house lights, covered with a beautiful white fur robe.  Amber Ackerman played a chilling part; scarily angry and dangerous and with a booming voice that would make any innocent or guilty person quake in their boots.  The power she portrayed was brilliant, in contrast to the earlier scene where she showed remarkable versatility by showing us the complete opposite, convincingly persuading the vulnerable Edmund with her tempting Turkish Delight Treats.

An outstanding, stand out performance!

470a4715

The White Witch was accompanied by the evil dwarf, Grumpskin, played by Katie Care.  I worked with Katie previously as a cast member when she sang the beautiful descant part in the musical piece, John 19:41 at the end of Jesus Christ Superstar in the 2016 production in Lincoln Cathedral.  Her beautifully melodic, angelic singing voice (as heard again in Mr Tumnus’ lullaby) was as far away from her portrayal of Grumpskin as you could ever wish to see.  I admire her versatility which was remarkably evident when walking through the aisle to the stage; she was both threatening and menacing and her loud, harsh and raucous voice made me jump and edge away from my seat beside the aisle several times!  Very disturbing and brilliantly played.

470a4482

We saw for a second time, Charlie Servonat-Blanc playing ‘Aslan’ the rightful King of Narnia and other magic countries.  He showed remarkable versatility in the contrasting performances; Professor Kirke, a quietly spoken, yet funny character, but Aslan, formidable, strong and authoritative showing great power.

470a4859

hl2c8586

Overall I was delighted with the whole performance; the ending left us looking for more as Professor Kirke slipped through the wardrobe doors into the twinkling light of Narnia with a nod and a wink.

470a5160

Before I end, it would be remiss of me to not mention the interval…  we were asked to leave the hall as the set was manipulated ready for the second half, and walk over to another building where we were delighted and surprised by some complimentary refreshments.  Red or White Wine, orange juice, and some tasty treats to choose from including the best mince pies I’ve ever tasted – thanks to Head Chef Rob Smith, who made an appearance on BBC radio Linconshire with Melvin Prior on Monday December 19th.

Congratulations to all the cast and backstage crew, wonderful teamwork:

Scenic Art: Cathy Servonat, Finn Dillon, Ben Harris, Katie Mysers, Imogen Burch, Amelia Barrett, Lauren Lee, Oliver Blanchard, Regina Fan, Bella Wong, Carole Waynes, Hettie Holmes, Julia Higgins.

Lighting Design and Operation: Edward Latus

Sound Design: Jonathan Kobrus, Jenny Wafer

Sound Operation: Jonathan Kobrus

Costume: Birmingham Costume Hire

Stage Management: Caitlin O’Beirne, Sebastian Newell and Joshua Mackey

Choreography: Amber Ackerman

Mr Tumnus’ Lullaby performed by Katie Care

Costumes for Grumpskin and the Crow Guards designed and made by Nicole Lyttle

Directed by Jenny Wafer

Production Images were provided by Patrick Stubbs: available at Natural Expressions (client ordering password: Narnia)