Write Up: Summer Soiree at Deepdale, 14th July 2019
The play featured was ‘Last Tango in Little Grimley” – yet another sideways and tongue in cheek glance at village dramatic endeavours. In this case the struggle for survival and eventual triumph; a not unfamiliar situation these days.
The opening scene finds us eavesdropping on the none too polite exchanges in the Committee room of the Little Grimley Players. Chairman Gordon (Colin Brown) struggles to keep his cool in rambling discussions between the other committee members… Joyce (Berry Butler), Margaret (Christine Bower) and Bernard (David Martin) on the perennial issues of lack of support, fragile finances, lack of responses to Gordon’s recruitment efforts and ideas for forthcoming productions are taken up and put down by Gordon with little regard for impartiality or regard for controlling his temper. Joyce’s bright enthusiasm in suggesting ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ is dismissed unless it could be reworked as ‘Two Brides for One Brother’. Undaunted, she’s excited when he reveals he’s written a play on the premise that ‘sex sells tickets’ if it’s properly advertised and features local characters. She’s sold on the idea when Gordon reluctantly agrees to include a song but Margaret at first haughtily refuses to be involved if tits are to be on show but then agrees providing she deems it to be ‘artistically’ justified.
We then see the show in rehearsal and get the impression it cannot possibly work. Gordon struggles to keep order as difficulties mount. A well orchestrated confusion ensues over missing pages of script, Joyce’s uncharacteristic flare-up over doing it without scripts, news of rivalry in the form of a new cabaret club, Bernard’s intrusive set building and finally blacking out the stage, cause Gordon to stomp off to the pub.
The last scene finds us back with the committee reviewing the show and learning that, against all the odds, the show was a success. Sell outs for every performance and takings of £854; was the success in the large part due to Margaret’s sudden lack of inhibition and revealing all? No more thoughts of disbandment – an offer from the cabaret club secures another production and Gordon is already writing the sequel.
Our four seasoned actors managed the considerable number of entrances and exits and stage moves with comparative ease – not as straightforward as you might think, juggling scripts, keeping the pace and direction in the dialogue and in Berry Butler’s case trying not to corpse when Christine Bower broke into, I assume, an impromptu stiff-legged limp when the script required her character, Mrs Sodbury, to come on with a lamp. David Martin playing Bernard gave him a hangdog difficult character who provides a good foil to the exasperated Gordon.
Evidently, Pippa Martin, the director, spotted its potential when it was a last minute substitute in the Southern Counties Drama Festival. There it received a special award in the spirit of the “show must go on” and here it proved to be a winner for Woldingham stalwarts and a worthy rival to the World Cup Cricket and the Wimbledon tennis finalists! It also gave Hannah Taylor a last minute ace with her excellent efforts in operating the music and effects for the show.
Review Play-reading – ‘The Droitwich Discovery’
On a lovely Spring evening in May there was a good turn-out of the Players at the North Downs Golf Club for this event. The chosen play was ‘The Droitwich Discovery’ and was directed and introduced by Tony Dent.
The scene is a BBC studio where a new drama series is being recorded. This is a challenging play for the cast of six actors as they play 23 parts between them; each differentiated by changes in accent and dialect.
A group of tourists meet the ghost of Terry Shakespeare, expertly played by Chester Stern, as he leads the rest of the cast through a variety of humorous situations loosely based on Shakespeare’s plays. The audience particularly enjoyed Christine Bower and Berry Butler playing the parts of two toddlers.
Joe Crisfield played seven different parts and easily switched between accents including Spanish, Scottish and midland English. He was ably supported by Becky Crisfield and Sarah Greenwood, all weaving the different strands of the story with a light comedic touch.
The evening finished with light refreshments which were enjoyed by all in a convivial atmosphere.
THE WOLDINGHAM PLAYERS – OPEN GARDEN
The weather is lovely – but not everything in the garden is!
The Players held their popular annual Cheese & Wine party at the Village Hall on Friday 22nd February. This gave us the opportunity to perform our entry for the Southern Counties Drama Festival at the Barn Theatre the following week, giving everyone involved with the play the opportunity to gain experience of performing before an audience ahead of the Festival.
“Open Garden”, a one act play by James Muirden, has a cast of five characters, two couples and a ‘Loo Person’. Harold and Victoria are the hard working owners of the garden played by Joe Crisfield and Allison Blair, together with the visitors Hugh and Henrietta played by Rick Morris and Sarah Greenwood – all performed to a high standard. The Loo Person in charge of the sanitary arrangements turns out to be well known in the past to two of the characters; mayhem takes over when the sun goes in and a storm erupts. Catherine Elliott, a relative newcomer to the Players, managed to convey both male and female attributes as the Loo Person with great skill, even down to a quick change on stage!
An appreciative audience thoroughly enjoyed this pre festival performance, after which everyone tucked into ample refreshments provided by the Committee.
Now for the main event! The Players performed at the Barn on 28th February – and wow, did they step up to the mark. They gave an outstanding performance and the Adjudicator and the audience were full of praise.
The results were announced on Saturday evening; we were shortlisted for Best Adult Play and Catherine Elliott for Best Adult Actress but the Glow Theatre Group with their professional background and expertise won again and go on to the next round of the Festival.
Colin Brown, is to be applauded for assembling such a talented cast backed up by a strong team of backstagers and directing such an interesting and entertaining piece for the Festival – well done.
For further information contact one of the Officers:
History of the Society
Woldingham’s dramatic society was founded in 1927 and, with only pause in wartime, has been active with productions every year. We aim to produce one or two full-length plays every year at the well-equipped Woldingham Village Hall – in the past occasional musicals, but these days classic drama, thrillers, comedy and farce. We enter annual one-act play drama festivals as often as we can, principally the Southern Counties Drama Festival and since 2010 the Leatherhead Drama Festival.
We have had some notable successes at these. In recent years Blue Remembered Hills reached the semi-finals of the All England Festjval in 2004, the Dear Departed won at Leatherhead in 2010 and A Little Box of Oblivion was the best adult performance at the Southern Counties in 2017.
We welcome guest actors and they have contributed greatly to some of our productions in recent years. We are always on the lookout for new members, actors, back-stagers and anyone who is keen to contribute.
A regular feature of our programme is play-readings, all acted nowadays. We try to hold 3 or 4 each year and they afford the opportunity for aspiring actors to get a taste of the fulfilment that can be enjoyed.