Newsletter March 2018
Since my last major newsletter we have held two Play-Readings at North Downs Golf Club with sandwich and bar refreshments, plus fizz from the Players for the pre-Christmas one. It gives us a wide, narrow acting area, entrance from one side and a nearby and closely packed audience amongst the tables, and serves our purpose for a convenient venue admirably. Collections are made to help defray expenses. Reviews appear in the Magazine.
On December 7th Colin Brown produced Open Garden, a one-act by James Muirden. Set in a well-tended two-acre garden opened for the day to the public, for one or two of the participants past amorous adventures come to the fore and colour subsequent not always expected events. Happily for the old school, both couples stay together, having learnt what really makes them tick. Christine Bower, Mark Tapley, Berry Butler, David Martin and Val Bellinger had a lot of fun as the cast and a good audience enjoyed both the scripted and unscripted jokes. Congratulations and thanks to Colin, who also master-minded the watery sound effects.
On February 22nd , Christine Bower produced extracts from Key for Two by John Chapman and David Freeman, a play recently performed at the Miller Centre. Original cast members Allison Blair, Ewan Rose and Reg Anderson were joined by Colin Brown and Sue Simpson. It was most successful, enjoyed by a full house (again) including some who had seen the original. A divorceé in her elegant Brighton apartment juggles her two married lovers, a visiting friend plus husband from New Zealand and inevitably one of the wives. The cast did well, what with scripts or recollection and a multitude of props. Much fun was had by all.
Unfortunately a satisfactory cast could not be assembled for a Spring Production, but the chosen play, A Bunch of Amateurs by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, will be the Autumn Production, October 31st to November 3rd. It will be directed by Pippa Martin.
There will be a Summer Soireé, with a play-reading to be produced by David Martin, on Sunday July 29th subject to confirmation.
Write-up: Acted Play Reading on 22nd February 2018
The Players performed a witty play called ‘Key for Two’ written by John Chapman and David Freeman renowned for their hilarious comedies. This play was produced at the Miller Centre recently and three of their actors were co-opted by our Producer Christine Bower for our enaction of the first act of this skit on human relationships – all very offbeat.
The setting was the inside of an elegant flat in Brighton inhabited by Harriet, a divorcee living on her own, played by Allison Blair. Can you imagine the ‘goings-on’ that might ensue when the hostess entertains two married gentlemen callers on different days of the week, plus her friend Anne whose marriage to Richard, a vet from New Zealand, is under strain; parts played by Colin Brown, Ewen Rose, Sue Simpson and Reg Anderson respectively.
The reading was most entertaining with lots of mime, appropriate confused movements and mistaken identities. The actors and the audience enjoyed themselves immensely.
Congratulations to Christine for a carefully thought out production including a multitude of props! The North Downs Golf Club was our venue with tasty refreshments provided. Altogether a fun evening.
For further information contact one of the Officers:
David Martin – 01737 763395, firstname.lastname@example.org
Berry Butler – 01883 652448, email@example.com
Colin Brown – 01883 652005, moc.n1531737727sm@nw1531737727orbpm1531737727uj1531737727
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.
REVIEW: Natural causes
Christopher Sykes spends an evening at one of the most professional and most entertaining events to be enjoyed recently in the Village.
Black comedy at its funniest and best always beats expectations and that’s exactly what happened at May 2017’s performance of ‘Natural Causes’, written by the talented Eric Chappell and performed by the brilliant Woldingham Players.
Truthfully, you could well believe that this performance was the forerunner of a move to the West End, similar to the way many plays are first trialled and launched in the provinces. Sad therefore that so many Villagers, especially the younger folk who rarely attend these events, and will never know what they missed. Not so the nearly 200 (few of whom were under 50) who attended over its three night run and will never forget.
If I hesitate in outlining the plot it is because it may shock you and my adjectives of admiration will be dashed and disbelieved. Sadly, I cannot water this down so please swallow the idea of an odourless, all-natural poison which causes a painless suicide and is delivered on special request by a visiting ‘consultant’!
Personified by the brilliant Reg Anderson, Vince visits a beautiful country house, acting like a double-glazing salesman, mistakenly assuming that his solution was the final solution for owner Walter, played in a slightly John Cleese way by Joe Crisfield. It wasn’t; he wanted it for his very depressed wife Celia, played by Rachel Rowson, because he was having it off with his secretary Angie, coquettishly played by Harriet Jackson. (Take a shock break now for an Interval, drinks and raffle and delighted chat throughout the Village Hall).
Pretty dangerous to leave poison like that around in sherry glasses because you never know who’s going to drink it or be given it. So naturally, the chaos of near-misses, personal confession and comedy left us all in a fit of giggles and unending surprise. Not least surprising in response to a call from Walter was the sudden appearance of a Samaritan, Withers (“Damn, we are not supposed to mention our name”), played in his often frenetic way by Gary Pollak. He too was so befuddled that the temptation of a shot of sherry would have been a great relief even though he thought he had been done for after downing an orange juice. Fortunately, they all survived except one.
Naughty Vince hung around hoping for a bit of nooky now that Walter and his girlfriend had eloped, but wife Celia was more interested in counting her chickens (money actually). Now totally confused but ready to move on to another client in Slough, Vince inadvertently took a taste of his own medicine and that was the instant ‘Fin’ on an unmissable night!
Once again congratulations to all the cast and many thanks to clever producer Colin Brown, backed up by his plethora of regularly hard-working backstage and front of house team. 175 productions in 90 years is why Woldingham Players is so professional!