Goodnight Mr Tom – Louth Playgoers Production


I only have a vague recollection of Michelle Magorian’s children’s novel Goodnight Mr Tom from watching the film and TV series some years ago, but I do remember it being a wonderful story with sad, yet powerful moments.  Set in a little village in 1941 we see children evacuated from London.  A completely different life for some, and especially for  the little boy in ‘Mr Tom’s’ care.  The audience were taken through the transition of William to life in the country; his visit back to his difficult home in London with his negligent mother, and back to the country.  Poor little William had a lot to contend with in his short life, and things didn’t get much better when he went through further losses when back in the village.


In my opinion Louth Playgoers have a great track record of putting on productions that audiences want to see, and this play was no exception;  they performed to nearly sell out audiences every night and justifiably so as the whole show was professional, entertaining, engaging and dramatic.  I went on the second night, Wednesday 6th December, with a few friends and family, and every one of us thoroughly enjoyed the performance.

The cast overall were brilliant and worked together really well, but I want to mention just a few individuals; I thought Tom Oakley ‘Mr Tom’, played by John Elliot was totally believable and gave a compelling performance, emotional, heartfelt and engaging.  William Beech, the young evacuee was played wonderfully by Robert Husband, I totally felt for him all the way through; he showed timidity, the difficult circumstances he’d come from and his difficult background could really be seen in how he portrayed that character.  Another standout performance for me was the role of Zacharius Wrench, played by Ben Jones.  I did hear after the show that this was Ben’s first ever performance so I can’t wait to see what he does next.  His character, exuberance and larger than life personality really shone out in every scene.


Congratulations to the whole cast, you could feel the emotion, through both the happy and the more difficult to watch scenes and most of the audience left with more that a little tear in their eyes.


This is the first production that Daniel Wakefield has Directed at the Riverhead Theatre; Daniel said in the programme “it was daunting… there was 18 different locations to change throughout the show”; he said he wanted to keep the set simple without the need for major set changes.  This worked really well as the set was indeed simple, but with a few changes here and there, transformed very cleverly from one location to another, keeping the story and the dialogue moving throughout. Two other elements were also brought into the show that I enjoyed; puppetry and projection; the snippets of film really transported the audience back to the time of the story; my mum certainly enjoyed re-living some of the experiences of her childhood during the second world war as she watched with me.  And although I enjoyed the puppet dog, which also worked really well, the audiences laughter as they reacted to the dog in certain emotional moments was a little distracting and a bit unnecessary.


Well done also to the backstage crew including wardrobe and set design and build and the sound and lighting crew.  A brilliant job; and another well done to Daniel Wakefield, Director (also responsible for designing and operating the lighting)  and Laura Martin, Assistant Director.  I’ll look forward to seeing some more future performances!

To see other up coming performances at Louth Riverhead Theatre please look at their website for ‘What’s on’



Review – Confusions – JamJar Productions – Louth Riverhead Theatre


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!


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!).


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!


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!


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.


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
LN11 0BX


‘Live in Five’ – Louth Playgoers


19466624_10159141116900413_3020045263018780907_oWhat a great evening of fun and laughter I had last night at the very first show for this brilliant play, written by local Louth talent, Beth Raithby (who happened to be sitting in the balcony for the whole show without the audience knowing until the end – you really did deserve that applause Beth!)

Louth Playgoers described the show:

The winner of our 2016 Scratch Night, “Live in Five” written by Beth Raithby follows the hilarious SLWK News Team. Sex. Booze. Moles with socks and rogue panthers. It’s all in a day’s work. But with the Station Manager on her way and the team at loggerheads, anything could happen!
Tickets £7
Booking info: or Box Office is open Mon -Sat 10am-1pm 01507 600350


Phone: 01507 600350


It was a pretty fast paces comedy, in which a series of very different characters, all of which were played brilliantly, all came together in the stressful environment of a back stage newsroom; directed by John Hewer, assisted by writer Beth Raithby.

There were only 8 roles, and every one of them was portrayed very well.  I loved all the characters in different ways so I’m not going to pick any of them out in particular (see the cast list and their roles below), but for them all to remember the vast amount of lines was remarkable!  Each one of them had a different persona, which regularly clashed, as you would imagine when stresses run high.  If you don’t appreciate regular use of profanities, it’s possibly not the show for you; but in my opinion the bad language was appropriate in the context of the show and not overused or deliberately offensive in any way and often added to the hilarity of the scene.

The set was very simple but effective, and I liked the use of the clock and calendar which gave the audience a sense of the lapsed time.  Even the set changes, although done in full view of the audience, despite the lowered lights, did not detract from the performance.

I applaud the whole cast for their obvious hard work in pulling together a play like this that left each cast member no room for error.  With the amount of laughter coming from the theatre – and there was a lot of it – the rest of the audience obviously thoroughly enjoyed it too.

So well done everyone – if you haven’t got tickets to see this brilliantly funny play, you have tonight and tomorrow to take advantage of the few tickets there are remaining!

Esme Blake – Station Executive – Efficient; Acerbic; Exacting – Holly Mapletoft

William Calloway – News Presenter – Charming; Charming; Even-More-Charming – James Burgess

Matt Booker – News Presenter – Brash; Belligerent; Boozer – Derek Maher

Jessica Fletcher – Floor Manager – Pragmatic; Unfazed; Focused – Kim Birchall

Heather Wilson – Weather Reporter – Commanding; Cynical; Seductive – Erica Slonskyj

Daniel Jones – Off-Site Reporter – Caring; Foolish; Absent-Minded – Daniel Wakefield

Maisie Hawthorn – Autocue Operator – Naive; Ditsy; Innocent – Lydia Reeves

Colin – Matt’s Mate – Confused; Gullible; Broke – Darren Melton


Thanks also to all the technical and stage crew:

Sound Design – Christoper Peters, Assistant Director – Beth Raithby, Technical Advisor – Daniel Wakefield, Lighting Operator – Bryony Plaskitt, Sound Operator – Joel Howard, Set Design – John Hewer, Bob Booth, Eric Cahill, Props – Ashley Stevens & Hambledon Productions, Costume – Hambledon Productions & Cast


Booking info: or Box Office is open Mon -Sat 10am-1pm 01507 600350


Phone: 01507 600350



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


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.


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


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+




Preview – ‘Two’ – JamJar productions – Louth


I’m really looking forward to this intimate production of the Jim Cartwright’s ‘Two’ with Jamie Harris ad Sophie Grundy at the Studio in Riverhead Theatre, Louth on 9th February.  I have seen several productions from Louth Playgoers, both Directed by Jamie Harris and with Sophie Grundy in various roles and I’m really excited to see how this particular insight into life in a Northern Pub will work in this setting.

Jamie Harris first joined Louth Playgoers in 2010 after graduating from Aberystwyth University with a degree in Drama.  In his time at Playgoers he has acted in 18 productions, directed 10 and been the lighting designer on 5.  Recent directing credits include ‘Songs We’ve Always Wanted to Sing’, ‘Sister Act’ (which I absolutely loved!), ‘LPS Christmas Concert’, ‘Practice to Deceive’ and ‘Musical Memories’ (which had some incredible talents on show!).  He also Directed the 2013 Pantomime ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and the 2015 pantomime ‘Beauty and the Beast’.  His most recent acting credits include, ‘Sense and Sensibility’, ‘Sleuth’, ‘Practice to Deceive’, ‘Journey’s End; ‘The Ladykillers’ and ‘Me and My Girl’.    I recently saw the Pantomime ‘Dick Whittington’ which Jamie also Directed;  see the review here.  Jamie’s next directing ventures will be ‘LPS Summer Concert 2017’ followed by the 2018 pantomime.

Jamie Harris in ‘Practice to Deceive’

Sophie Grundy was a delight to watch in the recent pantomime ‘Dick Whittington’. (See link above for my review of that production).  It was her third leading role in pantomime and she told Louth Playgoers “I can’t wait to get back on stage and bring my character ‘Alice’ to life!”.  Sophie recently appeared in ‘Songs We’ve Always Wanted to Sing’, and was a part of the ‘Sister Act’ cast which she said was an incredible experience.  Before Dick Whittington, her last acting role was a Princess Rose in ‘Sleeping Beauty’ in 2013.  However, her most recent work was as Assistant Director on ‘Sleuth’ which was shown in July in the Studio Theatre at the Riverhead,  she also found that a great experience.  Sophie is really looking forward to performing in this production of ‘Two’ with Jamie Harris, despite the show being only a week before her wedding!  (It’s certainly one way of taking your mind off your big day Sophie!)

Sophie Grundy in ‘Dick Whittington’

Louth Playgoers Say of this production:

From the company that brought you the sellout production of “Sleuth,” JamJar productions is proud to bring you Jim Cartwright’s “Two.” This classic play from 1989 gives an intimate insight into the colourful life of a Northern pub, via a rich tapestry of witty, moving and at times heartwarming dialogue. A bickering landlord and landlady, along with a further 12 pub regulars who enter their lives, are brought to the stage by just 2 actors. You’ll laugh at the flirtatious Moth and his long suffering girlfriend Maude, you’ll hate the aggressive Roy and feel for his abused wife Lesley, and you’ll fall in love with Fred and Alice who just want to sit alone and watch the tele! A play which takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions, it is both hilarious,heart wrenching and above all honest. So pull up a barstool before last orders are called!

‘Two’ is running in ‘The Studio Theatre’, part of Riverhead in Louth on 9th, 10th and 11th February.  The tickets for this ‘up close and personal’ performance are very limited and are selling well, so ensure you book now to avoid disappointment.

Watch out for my review of this show on 10th February!

Box Office

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
LN11 0BX


Photo’s courtesy of Darren Hobson Photography

Review – ‘A Party to Murder’ – talking Scarlet


I’m glad I spotted the advertised show at the New Theatre Royal Lincoln recently, ‘A Party to Murder’…


Despite a mix up with my booking which was completely my fault (the Box Office were extremely helpful in sorting it out!), my husband, Danny and I had a very enjoyable evening last night, Monday 14th November.

‘A Party to Murder’ – Synopsis 

Six people have come in secret on Halloween to play a murder mystery game at a rustic island cottage. Secret passageways, incriminating letters, hidden compartments, bodies in the window seat and a twenty five year old unsolved mystery twist and turn toward the unexpected and terrifying conclusion.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what the experience was going to be like, having not seen many plays before, and certainly none in Lincoln, I’ve only ever really seen musicals or opera; but after the first few minutes, when I must admit I really wasn’t sure (I can’t say any more than that without giving away too much), it was a delight!

The cast were all brilliant, Ben Roddy as Konrad/Charles and Natasha Gray (Emmerdale) as Mrs McKnight/Valerie, set the scene, which took place in a cottage on an island, in the middle of a lake, somewhere in North America on 31st October 1988.  With a halloween theme, and regular references to Agatha Christie, we knew, as an audience, we’d be in for a few twists and turns, but I never expected to be carried along from scene to scene, in such a compelling way!


The Eastbourne Herald quoted:

…takes you on a lurching ride of suspense and surprises.  It is a Russian doll of a plot: lift one painted layer, and there is another beneath.  And in a second half of utterly unexpected developments, you never know whether you have reached the final enigmatic face.  There is intrigue, darkish humour and genuine tension… it’s really good entertainment… the plot twists had Tuesday’s opening night audience gasping until the very final line

I cannot disagree with a single word in the review above…  I have a tendency to physically jump when startled, and Danny enjoyed my looks of constant surprise as I was regularly shocked  throughout the performance!

We were kept guessing right to the very end, and without a doubt, never, for one moment, could anticipate the outcome of the plot!

Exceptional performances by all the cast including Oliver Mellor (Coronation Street) who played Ernie/Willy, Michelle Morris (The Knock) who played Evelyn/McKenzie, Claire Fisher who played O’Karma/Henri and last but by no means least John Hester playing Merryweather/Elwood.  I was very pleasantly surprised by their professionalism and portrayal of their various characters throughout.  Every word was very clear and easily understood, and despite there only being one stage/set, it was so well put together that as an audience, we were in the room with them.  I was amazed at their ability to swap their characters and voices as quickly as they did;  it was all very believable.

If anyone from the Lincoln or surrounding area is considering a night out either today, Tuesday 15th or tomorrow Wednesday 16th November (including matinee performances Wednesday) please don’t hesitate, it’s well worth a visit!


Thank you very much Talking Scarlet for this production… I’ll certainly be looking out for more shows in the future!

talking Scarlet was founded in 2001 as a trading name for Big Dog Productions. Since then the company has produced and collaborated in productions at theatres all over the country and toured internationally.  It is now a fully independent Limited Company run by Patric Kearns and Jane Shakespeare.






Preview – Nobody’s Perfect – New Theatre Royal Lincoln


New Theatre Royal Lincoln just posted the following:

To introduce the return of matinee plays the theatre would like to offer half price tickets for the 2.30pm performances on Thursday and Saturday this week for ‘Nobody’s Perfect’! So why not come to the theatre and enjoy an afternoon of comedy, you will not be disappointed. Call the box office for matinee ticket offer. #wesupportntr 

Box Office – 01522 519999

What’s it about?

“Love Is All Around” is the name of a feminist publishing house where Harriet Copeland is running a competition to find new romantic fiction written by women only. Leonard Loftus is trying to get his books published, but Harriet keeps sending his manuscripts back because they are the work of a man. When Leonard finally sends a manuscript based on his experience as a single parent, and uses the female pseudonym “Myrtle Banbury”, Harriet is impressed. She finds the writing superb and insists on meeting Myrtle so she can hand over the prize money and get Myrtle’s signature on a contract. In order to collect the money, Leonard is forced to carry on the pretence that “Myrtle” exists, by dressing up as a woman and pretending that he is his own fictitious aunt. Leonard’s teenaged daughter, Dee Dee, and his father, Gus, play along with the deception with the inevitable hilarious consequences.


Visit Theatre Royal website for more information about this show!