Season’s Greetings | 2nd – 7th December 2013

Seasons Greetings poster QRBy Alan Ayckbourn. Directed by Paul Marshall.

Enjoy watching family and friends celebrate Christmas for the umpteenth consecutive year.

Except not all is peace and harmony as the cracks quickly start to emerge.

Featuring the annual, excruciating, puppet show, drunken snakes and ladders, the rifling of Christmas presents – and that’s just the start.

Join us for this comedy. The perfect way to start Christmas!

The cast:

Season's Greetings CastCastCrew - e12 1156s

Season's Greetings cast

More photos below.

Clive                       Robert Hall
Harvey                  Del Stone
Pattie                     Alice London
Neville                   Peter Atkinson
Belinda                   Jackie Dowse
Phyllis                    Simone Thorn
Bernard                 Mark Storey
Rachel                    Sanchia Leddy
Eddie                     Geoff Dillon

Director                                        Paul Marshall
Stage Director                             John Heather
Set design & decor                      Adrian Pope
Lighting Designer                       Andrew Herbert
Sound Designer                           Ian James
Set construction                          John Heather & T62 crew
Puppet Theatre design              Ray Harris
Puppet Theatre construction   Andrew Heather
Puppet Maker                             Jackie Dowse
Special Effects                             Andrew Heather
Stage Manager                            Sally Guttridge
Asst Stage Manager                   Ann Herbert
Stage Crew                                  Hazel Imber, Hayley Norton
Technical Assts                           Jon Lewis, Danny McIIhiney, James Quinn
Props                                            Sally Guttridge, Ann Herbert
Wardrobe                                    Joan Martin, Ellie Garcia, Hazel Hall, Valerie Polydorou, Diana Quinn
Prompt                                         Margaret Uzzell

House Manager                           John Heather
Refreshments                              Audrey Knighton
Raffle                                            Heather London
Box Office                                    Nina James
Poster/Programme Editor        Graham Copeland
Programme Editor                      John Guttridge

Croydon Advertiser review by Peter Steptoe:

“Alan Ayckbourn wrote more than one play about Christmas and I have always had some reservations about this one, though in fairness it does contain great comic moments. His writing is not as witty as Coward’s but his observations on middle class angst are both accurate and funny.

There are three married couples in this dysfunctional household with two other relatives and a guest who is a one book author. Belinda (Jackie Dowse) is the frustrated housewife, whose chief recreation seems to be decorating the Christmas tree and has a shed occupying husband devoted to repairing things that go wrong. Peter Atkinson as husband Neville gave the part the absentmindedness it required, yet indicated he could be ruthless in business. Belinda got the hots for the visiting author Clive (Robert Hall) and the comic seduction scene was beautifully played, ably assisted by the subdued lighting which reduced any disparity in the ages.

Harvey, uncle to Neville and Belinda, had many of the comic lines and was still relevant today as the type of person who takes the law into his own hands. It was a shock to eventually realise how cruel he was and Del Stone made the most of him. His chief victim was the incompetent doctor Bernard played by Mark Storey as a sort of male spinster. He seemed to have the face to go with it, together with the ability to time a comic line. His scene showing his incompetence with his puppet show was masterly and he was assisted in this by the very pregnant Pattie (Alice London) whose own incompetence had been carefully rehearsed.

Director Paul Marshall kept a smart pace with the entrances and exits well timed and the cast’s ensemble playing excellent. I am not sure whether Ayckbourn became uncertain with his less attractive characters because it was essential that we did not dislike them. Phyllis (Simone Thorne) the Doctor’s wife did not seem to accord with his description of her before she appeared, incompetent off yet assertive when on.  Rachel, (Sanchia Leddy) Belinda’s unmarried sister was definitely neurotic and as Clive’s secretary wished to become involved.  Eddie (Geoff Dillon) as one of life’s failures came across as quite uncaring with regard to his pregnant wife yet his inadequacy failed to ignite our sympathy. Clive the author was like the curate’s egg, good in parts. It was a difficult part to play and to be shot at the end and declared dead by the incompetent doctor was trouble enough for anyone.

The ending I have often wondered about; was it because Ayckbourn had run out of ideas? The ending on dimmuendo was in complete contrast to the climatic frenzy of the interval break.

I did, however, enjoy the performance, and it reflected great credit on Theatre 62.”Season's Greetings Dec 2013Season's Greetings Dec 2013Season's Greetings in rehearsalCurtain Call

The Beauty Queen of Leenane | 30th September – 5th October 2013

The Beauty Queen of Leenane - Sept 2013 - posterby Martin McDonagh. Directed by Janet Clark.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane is set in the mountains of Connemara in County Galway, Ireland. The play is a blend of hysterical comedy, grand melodrama, violence and bleak tragedy. 

It tells the darkly comic tale of Maureen Folan, a lonely woman in her early forties, and Mag, her manipulative, ageing mother.

Two sisters have escaped into marriage leaving Maureen, with a history of mental illness, trapped in a small bleak cottage and a seriously dysfunctional relationship with her mother.  Her mother’s interference in Maureen’s love life puts in motion some dark and frightening consequences.

As events unfold the cottage is visited by the brothers Ray and Pato Dooley. Ray is the younger brother, an irresponsible and irrepressible young man. Pato is a construction worker fed up with his life which forces him to work in England to earn a living. A spark of romance occurs between Maureen and Pato and then fizzles out with disastrous results. 

This play was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre in 1996, then transferred to Broadway in 1998.  In 2010 it was presented at the Young Vic before going on tour. The play has received various nominations and awards: it was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Play; the 1998 Broadway production was nominated for six Tony Awards, winning four. 

Read John Drewry’s review of the production below.

Maureen Folan                      Debbie Griffiths
Maggie Folan                         Sue Appleyard     
Pato Dooley                            Tim Hinchcliffe
Ray Dooley                             Ian-Paul Munday

Director                                   Janet Clark
Stage Manager                       Sandie Campbell
Set design                               Adrian Pope
Set construction                    John Heather & T62 members
Lighting Design                      Andrew Herbert
Sound Design                          Ian James
Asst Stage Manager               Pieter Swinge
Props                                        Heather London, Beryl Neal
Technical crew                        David Hart, Danny McIIhiney, Alice London
Wardrobe                                 Margaret Uzzell
Prompt                                     Nina James
Make-up & hair                      Jean Golder, Christine Lever, Penny Vetterlein

House Manager                       John Heather
Refreshments                          Audrey Knighton
Raffle                                        Sandie Campbell
Box Office                                Margaret Uzzell
Poster/programme design    Graham Copeland
Programme Editor                 John Guttridge

Click on each photo to enlarge:  

     The Cast Beauty Queen Oct 13Beauty QueenBeauty QueenBeauty QueenBeauty QueenBeauty QueenBeauty Queen - set

Beauty Queen from the lighting & sound boxReview of The Beauty Queen of Leenane by John Drewry

“I’d like to open this crit on a wider scale, beyond the play, and then home in on the production itself as we proceed, because I think the backdrop might help, and provide a richer context.

This is, I believe, the sixth Theatre 62 play I’ve been asked to comment on, so either I’m doing something acceptable or Theatre 62 gets desperate every couple of years of so and can’t find anyone else.  I’ll assume the former, although you’re only ever as good as your last job.

I find Theatre 62 a remarkable place.  Other amateur groups seems to struggle with their programmes, their audiences are unpredictable in size, and their personalities, or rather persona, seem to constantly change, not always for the better.  In this sea of troubles there appears a steady ship, limiting itself to 5 or 6 productions a year, and always looking full up – that’s the overall impression, anyway.  Consistency seems to reign supreme in other areas, too. The sets are always good, the technical support serene, and the wardrobe confident.  You’re probably going to tell me that if only I saw the sheer panic, frustration and general screaming behind the scenes, I would think no such thing, but there we are.

You’re also not afraid of staging more controversial plays by enfants terribles like Martin McDonagh.  True, he’s been around now for some years, but to some of your audience (I know because I listened to them talking) this is new stuff.

Into this robust environment is another first.  This is the only amateur group I KNOW with the courage and enlightened policy to invite a critic and live criticism.  There may be others, but I don’t know of them.  This is not to be confused with adjudication at amateur festivals, where everyone wins a prize because otherwise they don’t enter next year.

So that’s your creds out of the way.  So far as my own creds are concerned, I was many years involved intimately with amateur theatre, both as chairman and artistic director.  In more recent years, I got my Equity card for directing grand opera as well as professional theatre.  I had a run through Kent of my production of Dick Barton Special Agent in 2012.  I write material from time to time, most recently my one-act play NO WAY BACK, which premiered at a private function in April this year where the guests of honour were Lord and Lady Fellowes.  So I’ve kind of been around, which of course is no guaranteed qualification as a theatre critic.  But at least I have empathy, if not sympathy.

I have a couple of small confessions.  Well, not so much confessions as a positioning statement if you like, I’ve seen Beauty Queen more than once, have read it intimately, and am a great fan of Martin McDonagh.  I have some prior knowledge of the two men in the play, and little or none of the two women.  Ian, I have seen on this stage on many occasions.  Tim, I have seen and indeed cast on many occasions, including my production of The Fall of the House of Usher, and something I’m staging locally next month.

So adjusting the focus a little closer, the context of the play itself.  With no intended racism, there is such a thing as the Irish persona, or the Irish caricature.  The thick Mick is personified in Maureen’s confession to Pato in Scene 4.  I promise you, to this day in Southern Ireland, you’ll hear them talk about the potato famine after a couple of draft Guinnesses.  When I was there in 1986, the old boys were still going down to the Post Office to collect their IRA pensions from the 1922 debacle.  The “Irish Question” has occupied much of English politics since the 19th century.  There is a lot of history, most of it not good, which can produce appalling tensions to this day.  The Irish mind can be as eccentric as the English mind, and has produced perhaps as many geniuses.  It is a more sensitive mind in some ways, certainly a more poetic one, and can crack.  Hence Maureen’s breakdown in an English environment “it all just got to me”.  There’s nothing new about any of this, of course.  Read J P Donleavy’s The Ginger Man for a refresh some time.

McDonagh exploits all of this.  The brooding, dark tension between mother and daughter, as black as draught Guinness, in a highly restrictive and claustrophobic environment.  This is why the scenes in Beauty Queen are so often staged in the dark, half-light of an Irish cottage or an Irish pub.  Janet Clark took the alternative decision and bathed all the daytime scenes in strong light. It’s not a criticism.  It’s a point of view.  Do we weigh the audience down with the black morose side of the play by underlighting, or do we go lights, camera, action and let the words do the work?  We were treated to a brightly lit production, which at least gave Adrian Pope and his merry men the opportunity to focus us on the ghastly distressed nature of some of the furniture and especially that dreadful sink with all its current history.

Then there’s the awful isolation of Irish country life.  You have to shake your head for a moment when you realise McDonagh has set this play in 1989.  Could just as easily have been 1959 except for the TV and the telephone.  The desire to get away, epitomised as a metaphor by the young and itchy Ray “I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to be here”.  Yet although 1989 is quite recent, Beauty Queen is already a period play.  Mobile phone and broadband communication technology have effectively relegated everything pre-21st Century to a period which no longer exists.  Isolation is disappearing or rather being subsumed by the impression of staying in touch 24/7, wherever you may be.

It’s interesting trying to label this play.  Is it a comedy, a tragedy, a farce, a drama or a melodrama?  Well, it’s a director’s dream because it is all of these, meaning it’s nigh impossible to be accused of “turning it into a melodrama” or “focusing too much on the comedy”.  You can pull all the stops out with this play.  It’s certainly a comedy, in some ways a ritual comedy.  Complan and porridge see to that.  Of course it’s a tragedy.  Quite apart from someone getting brutally killed, it has the structure and ingredients of tragedy.  The inevitability of tragedy, knowing the vital letter is never going to arrive (the Greek black sails and white sails).  It’s certainly got farce – pouring infected wee wee down the sink has the side-busting horror of true farce.  By the way, I wouldn’t have been able to resist making sure that pot had been brimful, and poured very slowly and deliberately into the place where the washing up is done. 

It’s a drama – overall a powerful drama, which is what gives the audience that final, satisfied feeling.  They haven’t just had a good laugh.  They haven’t just enjoyed the melodrama of a grisly murder scene.  They’ve enjoyed the opus of a master dramaturge.  There are even elements of what Beckett would call tragi-comedy – the nothingness, the bleakness, the isolation are somewhat redolent of Waiting for Godot.

I would add yet another ingredient.  It has poetry. Not just in its overall construct, but much of the language itself.  This is down to the use of syntax.  “And the hot water too I do be scared of”, “It’s Tuesday I’ll be back there again”, “Six o’clock the news isn’t on til”, “It’s cold I am”, “Maybe it’s deaf you’re going”, etc., etc.  This is not diddly-dee mock Irish invented as an affectation.  It’s the construct of the Irish language in translation.  Similar to a German down sitting, if you like.

Slipping in and out of the accent is a common problem for any production.  I have seen and heard various degrees of success with this play.  The Irish accent was handled extremely well by all of the cast.  There’s always a price to pay for accents, of course.  The better and more consistent they are, the more you have to be watchful of articulation and speed.  There’s also an awful lot going on with this text.  And sometimes what I call the sign-posting, critical messages for the audience to receive and understand, can be sacrificed to accent and character.  Projection, however, was faultless throughout.

This was an excellent production.  The problem always for directors is that, rather like Tolstoy’s families, you don’t notice the good ones, only the bad ones.  So often satisfied audiences remember the story, particular actors, costumes, sets, but ask them whether they appreciated the lack of masking and the brow likely furrows.  Other directors notice, though.  The strong hand of Janet Clark was detectable throughout.  I never saw any masking, and she choreographed her actors with skill.  There was no unnecessary moving around for the sake of it, and quite rightly Ray was the only one jumping up and sitting down, because the character has ants in his pants.  Most of the eyeball to eyeball stuff was well managed – actors generally don’t look at each other enough – you probably know the old Cagney adage – put your feet firmly on the ground, look them straight in the eye, and say the words.  There was perhaps one place where fixing more with the eyes would have added considerable effect, and that was when Pato comes down in the morning to Mag’s horror and surprise.  Mag looked away too often and too soon which gave away some comic opportunity – the transfixed stare can really be milked in scenes like that. 

The action was all well-managed, too.  One of the difficult elements to control in a play like this is the tension, like a watch-spring, resisting the temptation to explode at the wrong times.  This was generally very well handled, by both the director and the actors.  There really should be only two releases of tension.  One is Maureen’s reaction to Mag telling Pato about her mental breakdown.  The other is the burning of the hand.  Both were magnificently acted.  Mag’s pain was horribly real, and I saw many heads go down in the audience, unable to bear the sight or endure the screams.  Equally, Maureen wanting to kill her mother on her revelation to Pato was highly convincing.  I would guess as a director you used the old method – go for mother for real, and make Pato HAVE to prevent you getting to her.  It was great stuff.  And if you accept that the rest is unresolved tension, it will automatically control it – there was some earlier shouting which I feared would overspill, and just stayed within its boundary.  Remember, the more controlled and unbearable the tension, the greater the explosion when it occurs.

I saw the production twice, on Tuesday and Friday respectively. Word control was great on both evenings.  The prompt was used once on both evenings.  Who cares?  Only the actors, that’s who.  But the audience forgives and forgets.  The important thing is that the prompt is there when you need them, loud and clear, and invisible when you don’t.  Always take your hat off to a good prompt, actors, they’re part of that backstage support without which you cannot function.  Full marks to Nina James and her ilk, who have to sit through rehearsals and six performances like Victorian children who must not be heard.  They must have the patience of Job.

The only thing I will say about the difference between Tuesday and Friday was that by Friday the comedy had been revealed.  It wasn’t just a different audience.  By Friday, you’d got hold of the comedy and mastered it.  In a sense, anybody can burn somebody’s hand over a stove, but getting the timing and nuanced gesture right over a cup of suspicious tea takes audience exposure – no amount of rehearsal quite gets it.

Choice of music (other than the specified Delia Murphy song) was conventional Irish.  Like the strong lighting the director made a decision, and that’s the important thing.  I have heard deliberately discordant nails-down-blackboards stuff used to emphasise the blackness.  It’s a personal choice, and not the stuff of criticism.

For me, the most evocative scene was Maureen bringing Pato back, and the chatting across the table.  It was so utterly real and very moving in its way.  This had to be the result of close collaboration between director and actors.

Sound cues impeccable on both nights, undoubtedly the result of another close collaboration during rehearsals and performance  between Sandy Campbell and Ian James, with Pieter Jan Swinge undoubtedly providing the extra support.  Andrew Herbert’s lighting was strong in every corner, no unwanted shadows, and effective in the night-time contrasts.  The stove was very good.  Margaret Uzzell, as always, provided an authentic feel to costume.  Make-up and hair from Jean Golder, Christine Lever and Penny Vetterlain, put both ladies firmly in period.  As for Adrian Pope and John Heather, I don’t know how they do it time and again.  I can only suppose they breathe a sigh of relief from time to time when a director decides he or she will produce in the round.

The set was simply great.  A lot of care in the detail, including, as I said earlier, distressing certain items for seedy authenticity.  The bright lighting made parts of the set look a little clean, largely a psychological effect, I think.

So, to the performances themselves.  There are two characters in this play and two caricatures.  Pato and Maureen the characters, book-ended by the two caricatures, Ray and Mag. It is this construct which provides the melodrama.  The caricatures manipulate the characters, one consciously, the other selfishly.  It is important to grasp this, because it provides the fulcrum to the production – and it defines the caricatures.  Ray must be played as an impatient, self-centred young man.  It is his lack of care which creates the inevitable tragedy.  Mag epitomises the manipulative, evil old woman, again self-centred.  The only power Mag doesn’t have is the physical power.  When she oversteps the manipulation, Maureen’s physical power takes over.  Trapped in this maelstrom are our two doomed lovers.

Ian-Paul Munday has come a long way.  Ray’s impatience, frustration, impetuosity and physical restlessness were studied and effective.  So was his bravado, his obsession with owning the poker so he could clobber a few coppers, redolent of Irish disenchanted youth.  Like most disenchanted youth, he just doesn’t have enough to do.  He wants to keep moving but has no direction.  I enjoyed his performance.

Then we have manipulative Mag.  This is a difficult part.  She gets all the great words, of course, but this character has to play to the audience as well as to the cast.  We need to wonder, maybe even anticipate with a certain relish, what evil piece of chicanery is going to come out of that mouth next.  Behaving at times like a helpless child, this is a dangerous character who will destroy anything to get her wicked way.  I though Sue Appleyard’s playing to the cast was excellent.  But she could have done more with the audience, you know the kind of thing – the Princess Diana eyes from her early days, even the secret smile from time to time, purely for the audience to see.  We need to conclude absolutely that she deserves everything she gets, God forgive us.  The actress needs to convey absolutely that she’s in charge, the centre of power.  In a way, Sue’s acting was too real, she gave the impression sometimes of being truly buffeted by events rather than pretending to be. Overall though, her performance was compelling.

Tim Hinchliffe revelled in his John Le Mesurier impersonation.  I’m being slightly flippant.  It was an excellent performance.  The self-effacing, mobile eyebrowed, laid-back Irish drawl worked rivetingly.  The speech opening the second act was handled expertly.  I have seen this read, rather than acted as a stream of consciousness, but it’s not the right way, and Tim got a well-deserved round of applause on the Friday.  I would have led an applause on the Tuesday if I’d been an ordinary audience member.  The speech itself, however, contains a potential trap.  In a rambling awkward text, we learn that poor old Pato couldn’t rise to the occasion.  If the audience misses this, or is an alpha-sleep and not paying absolute attention, it is unlikely to be picked up in the confrontation later on between Mag and Maureen towards the end.

The thing we directors and actors must never forget is that generally the audience sees it once, whereas we live with it for 6, 8 or even 12 weeks.  It is desperately important therefore for the director and the actor to ensure that overt signposting is used in critical places.  Sometimes you have it spell it out.  If you doubt what I say, do what I do and try some vox pop audience research.  Ask a member of the audience why Maureen kills her mother.  The kind of answer you get is “Because she’s off her rocker.  Because she can’t stand any more berating.  Because her mother derided her lack of sexual experience.”  You can further prompt with the question “What critical thing did Mag learn from reading Pato’s letter to Maureen?”  The typical answer you get is “That Pato wanted to take Maureen to America”.  It is rarely you’ll get “That Pato couldn’t get it up”.  Audiences have a singular, linear experience lasting about 90 minutes.  There is no chance to rewind.  For this reason it’s a good discipline to identify, right from the start of rehearsals, the crucial milestone messages that MUST be got across, and to practise forms of emphasis accordingly.

Finally, we come to Maureen herself, played by Debbie Griffiths.  This, I think, will be the shortest character crit.  I saw Marie Mullen play it 17 years ago at the Royal Court, and I think Debbie’s performance was better.  It was exemplary.  She played downtrodden, resentful, passionate, insane, repressed, sexy and hard, all in the right places.  The accent was faultless.  Her contribution, along with everyone else’s, ensured this was the best production I have seen at Theatre 62.  I’m able to make only one recommendation, which is a general one.  Start acting five yards before you get on stage (unless you’re Dustin Hoffman, who starts five weeks before).  Entering on stage and then starting to act is always awkward.  In several scenes, this was covered by the script with voices off.  But if, for example, you’re coming in from the cold or the rain, make sure you’re suffering before we see you.”

Rehearsal Photos:

Queen Leenane rehearsal 2Queen Leenane rehearsal 1Queen Leenane rehearsal 3Queen Leenane Stage Manager (L) & Director (R)

Calendar Girls | 17th – 22nd June 2013

By Tim Firth. Directed by Howard James

Calendar Girls - poster - Theate 62When Annie’s husband John dies of leukaemia, she and her best friend Chris resolve to raise money for a new settee in the local hospital waiting room. They manage to persuade other members of the W.I. to pose nude for an alternative calendar with help from the hospital porter Lawrence who just happens to be an amateur photographer.

The news of this spreads like wildfire and the press soon descend on the small village of Knapeley in the Yorkshire Dales. The calendar is a success however a strain is put on the friendship between Chris and Annie because of their new found fame.

This is based on a true story and has been performed all over the country. It was also made into a best-selling film.

Find out how Theatre 62 supported Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research here.

Calendar Girls curtain call - June 2013















Photos below by BVF Photography:

Calendar Girls June 2013

Croydon Advertiser review by Peter Steptoe:

“This play by Tim Firth is not a great one as there are many scenes and this tended to mitigate against character development. But it does have that feel good factor, makes one realise what it is to be British and sends its audience home happy.

Theatre 62 gave it full value and the set was evocative of any of the Church halls that I have visited. Also congratulations to Director Howard James on the tasteful nudity which was the highlight of this play.

The death scene of husband John (Pieter Jan Swinge) was intensely moving with his gasping for breath while continuing to be understood, a considerable achievement and Annie (Janet Clark), his wife, showed the value of silence in conveying her grief. To raise funds for a sofa in his memory the Women’s Institute produced a calendar with middle aged ladies appearing in various stages of nudity. Annie’s best friend Chris (Pauline Whalley) was the local florist and together they made a formidable couple. Ruth (Jan Greenhough) was the shy one tied to a husband who erred with Elaine the attractive Rachel Cormican . Celia (Jackie Dowse) made the most of nature’s appendages and Sanchia Leddy as Cora the Vicar’s daughter but a single mum played well on the piano.

Lee Howson as the photographer displayed his embarrassment when discovering he was photographing nude his primary school teacher Jessie (Joan Hedley) . Lynn Rushby was Marie the Chair of the WI and a sort of female Mainwaring from Dad’s Army. Jan Stockwell made the most of her one dimensional character Lady Cravenshire as did Richard Trantom as the florist and husband of Chris.

Sometimes the northern accents interfered with comprehension but I, like the rest of the audience, went home happy.”


Annie                       Janet Clark
Chris                        Pauline Whalley
Cora                         Sanchia Leddy
Jessie                       Joan Hedley
Celia                         Jackie Dowse
Ruth                         Jan Greenhough
Marie                       Lynn Rushby
Brenda Hulse/Lady Cravenshire    Jan Stockwell
John                         Pieter Swinge
Rod                          Richard Trantom
Lawrence/Liam     Lee Howson
Elaine                       Rachel Cormican


Director                                Howard James
Set Design                            Adrian Pope
Lighting                                Andrew Herbert
Sound                                   Ian James
Stage Director                     John Heather
Set Construction                Members of T62
Stage Manager                   Liane Marchant
Asst Stage Manager           Katherine Whalley
Technical Programming    Jon Lewis
Piano recordings                 Bernard John
Props                                    Lynne Craig, Nikki Wilkinson, Maggie Hoyle, Ann Herbert
Wardrobe                            Emma Kerby-Evans, Valerie Polydorou, the cast
Prompt                                Beryl Neal, Katherine Whalley

House Manager                  John Heather
Refreshments                     Audrey Knighton
Raffle                                    Lynne Craig, Liane Marchant, Tricia Melluish
Box Office                            Margaret Uzzell
Poster/Programme Design  Graham Copeland
Programme Editor             John Guttridge

Calendar Girls June 2013Calendar Girls 2013

Good Things | 3 – 8 December 2012

by Liz Lochhead,  directed by John Oakenfull.

Production dates: 3th-8th December 2012.

This is a poignant, hilarious, “Cinderella story” with a lot to say about love the second time around.

Susan Love, suddenly single and with the dreaded 5-0 staring her in the face, has an old dad in his second childhood, a daughter in the throes of aggravated adolescence and an ex-husband who, unfortunately, still has the power to wound.

It is set in the charity shop where she is a volunteer. She deals with, colleagues who have their own problems, a succession of customers and people, who’ve donated “things”, but are they Good Things?

Photos below.

Susan                                             Janet Sharrock
David                                             Nigel London
Marjorie                                        Claire Morris
Fraser                                            Howard James
Actress                                          Sanchia Leddy
Actor                                              Ian Evans

Stage Director                              John Heather
Set Design                                     Adrian Pope
Set Construction & decor           Andrew Heather, T62 members
Lighing & Sound                          Ian James
Stage Manager                            Heather London
Asst Stage Manager                    Nicola Wilkinson
Technical Support                       Andrew Herbert, Jon Lewis, David Hart
Lighting Operators                     James Quinn, Alice London
Props                                             Beryl Neal
Costumes                                      The Cast, Margaret Uzzell, Danny McIIhiney
Make-up, hair                              Jean Golder, Penny Vetterlein, Christine Lever
Prompt                                          Nina James

House Manager                           John Heather
Refreshments                              Audrey Knighton
Raffle                                             Heather London
Box Offce                                      Margaret Uzzell
Posters, programme design       Graham Copeland
Programme Editor                      John Guttridge

Production & rehearsal photos:

Good Things Dec 2012Good Things 2Good Things 3

Good Things 4Good Things 5Good Things 6Good Things 7Good Things 8Good Things 9Good Things 10

Good Things in the Bromley Times - 29 Nov 12 (not Peter Pan...)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream | 1 – 6 October 2012

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Patricia Melluish.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most delightful and well known comedies.  It is a play of such lightness and joy, romance and confusion, that even the most Bard-resistant audience members will be swept away by the tale of four lovers lost in an enchanted forest.

Production photos at bottom of page.

Some of the cast and crew (click on images to enlarge):

Details of the cast below:

Theseus                                   Alec Raemers
Hippolyta                                Rachel Cormican
Egeus                                       Tony Skeggs
Hermia                                    Ruth Aylward
Helena                                     Lauren Santana
Lysander                                 Stephen Whalley
Demetrius                               Richard  Stewart
Philostrate                              Janet Edden
Oberon                                    John Heather
Titania                                     Carolyn Taylor
Puck                                         Ian-Paul Munday
1st Fairy – Rose Petal           Janet Edden
2nd Fairy – Snowdrop          Amy Burnell
Peaseblossom                         Sue Hicks
Cobweb                                    Charlotte  Haslegrave
Moth                                        Christine Lever
Mustardseed                          Alice Foster
Forget Me Not                       Sandie Campbell
Pansy                                       Myrna Delicatta
Quince                                     Del Stone
Bottom                                    Pieter Swinge
Flute                                        Ryan Gray
Snout                                       Bernard Harriss
Snug                                         Jeremy Clarke
Starvelin                                  Ian Evans

Did You Know?  Two of the “The Dream’s” cast members appeared in Theatre 62’s first Shakespeare production, The Tempest, back in 1964: Carolyn Taylor and John Heather. Also pictured in the photo on the left: Maurice Uzzell, Jack Mortimer and Ray Bardell (click on images to enlarge).

So, what’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream all about?  Well, it opens with two reluctant brides: Hippolyta, who is to marry the Duke of Athens after being conquered in war, and Hermia, whose father is trying to force her to marry Demetrius when she is in love with Lysander.

Hermia and Lysander flee Athens and escape to the nearby forest of Arden, not realising that they are being pursued by Demetrius and Hermia’s best friend Helena (who is in love with Demetrius).  Following so far?

What none of the four lovers is aware of is that the forest is also home to fairy folk who have come together to celebrate Midsummer.  The Fairy King and Queen are arguing bitterly, but the King sees Helena being spurned by Demetrius and decides to intervene by sending his servant, Puck to put Demetrius under a love spell.  Needless to say this does not go according to plan and madness and mayhem ensue both in the human and fairy realm.

There is a laugh-until-you-cry subplot (featuring the famous ‘Bottom’) which centres around a group of local tradesmen getting together to put on a play to celebrate the Duke’s marriage.  Their disastrous attempts at rehearsals, not helped by one of them being turned into an ass, are the source of much hilarity.  Their performance for the Duke, which takes place right at the end of the play, when all romantic matters have been happily resolved, is excruciatingly, brilliantly awful!


Stage Director                              John Heather
Lighting Design                            David Hart
Sound Design                               Andrew Herbert
Stage Managers                          Liane Marchant, Heather London
Choreographer                            Hollie Campbell
Composer & Singer                     Serena Newman
Asst Stage Director                     Del Stone
Set Construction                         John Heather, Del Stone
Stage Crew                                   Alice London, Nicola Wilkinson
Techncial Assts                           Ian James, Danny McIlhinery, James Quinn
Props                                            Beryl Neal
Costumes                                     Margaret Uzzell, Joan Martin, Valerie Polydorou, Diana Quinn
Make-up & hair                          Christine Lever, Alice London, Penny Vetterlein
Wigs                                              Christine Lever
Prompt                                         Mary-Jane Ransom, Janet Clarke

House Manager                           John Heather
Refreshments                              Lynne Craig, Audrey Knighton
Raffle                                             Heather London
Box Office                                     Margaret Uzzell
Poster/programme design         Graham Copeland
Poster artwork                             Robert Hall
Programme Editor                       John Guttridge 

Review by Peter Steptoe, Croydon Advertiser:

“Director Patricia Melluish wisely decided to have this delightful piece of Shakespeare nonsense performed in the round. Obviously adept at this type of theatre, she kept her cast moving when necessary and for those not speaking, standing in the four exits and not blocking the audience’s view.

Often when amateurs are performing the Bard I get the impression that they do not understand the words they speak, but this was not the case for the production by the Theatre 62 Company.

Alec Raemers as Theseus showed his authority and in the end compassion for the Mechanicals. I liked Quince’s (Del Stone) nervousness when presenting his play and Pieter Swinge as Bottom made the most of his overacting, while his donkey braying was realistic. Ryan Gray as Flute played Thisbe with the necessary high tones and was slim enough to have a feminine silhouette. Bernard Harris as Snout made an excellent wall and Jeremy Clarke as Snug was as ferocious as an elderly lion could be.

John Heather played Oberon in an ‘elderly actor laddy’ style which seemed to suit the part and Ian-Paul Munday was not the smallest Puck I have seen but was good with the magic dust.

Demetrius (Richard Stewart) and Lysander (Stephen Whalley) convinced as the rival lovers for the hands of Hermia (Ruth Aylward) and Helena (Lauren Santana). These four actors played extremely well together.

The fairies moved elegantly and Carolyn Taylor as Titania did her best to convince us of her love for the donkey.”   

Limited selection of photos: 

A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Glass Menagerie | 25 – 30 June 2012

By Tennessee Williams.  Directed by Paul Marshall.

Tom brings a work colleague, Jim, to meet Amanda, his mother and former ‘Southern Belle’, and Laura, his insecure and slightly crippled sister who is absorbed by her collection of glass animals. Amanda is desperate to find a husband for Laura – but is Jim the answer to Amanda’s prayers?    

It is a sensitive piece of drama – an intimate, absorbing and heartbreaking personal drama which examines how fragile the human heart can be, and how easily it can be broken.

The Glass Menagerie won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play in 1945 when it was premiered on Broadway.

Production photos & reviews below.

Older Tom Wingfield                                      Del Stone 
Amanda Wingfield (Tom’s Mother)              Samantha Elgar
Young Tom Wingfield                                     Ian-Paul Munday
Laura Wingfield (Tom’s Sister)                     Jessica-Ann Jenner
Jim O’Connor (The Gentleman Caller)        Geoff Dillon

Set design & decor                       Adrian Pope
Stage Director                              John Heather
Set construction                           John Heather, Andrew Heather, Tony Jenner, T62 members
Lighting Design                            Andrew Herbert
Sound Design                               Ian James
Projection                                     Andrew Herbert, Ian James
Technical support                       David Hart, James Quinn
Props                                             Sally Guttridge
Wardrobe                                     Margaret Uzzell, Joan Martin
Make-up & hair                           Jean Golder, Christine Lever, Penny Vetterlein 
Prompt                                         Heather London

House Manager                           John Heather
Refreshments                             Lynne Craig, Audrey Knighton
Raffle                                            Sally Guttridge
Poster/programme design       Graham Copeland
Programme Editor                     John Guttridge
Box Office                                    Margaret Uzzell










Reviewed by Peter Steptoe
Tennessee Williams is a major American playwright and this play was the first confirmation of his talent. Reputedly autobiographical it relates the story of a failed marriage in the hard times of the 1930’s.
The narrator is the son of the family who later recalls his memories of those days and his subsequent desertion, for apparently he never returned. This difficult part was expertly played by Del Stone as the older version of Tom Wingfield.
Samantha Elgar was the Southern Belle type of an over doting Mother whom I found somewhat irritating and this is of course a compliment. The accent was believable and the speech pattern very quick but then she had a lot to say. Gentlemen callers were her speciality as a means of entering her daughter into the marriage market.  
Her son young Tom Winfield was aggressively played by Ian-Paul Munday which illustrated his frustration at the dead-end job in a shoe warehouse. Jim O’Connor (Geoff Dillon) was the clerk where he worked and though successful at school was subsequently a failure. He was the gentleman caller brought home to dine unaware that it was to meet Laura, Tom’s sister. She was beautifully played by Jessica-Ann Jenner as the shy introverted one. This actress had the rare ability of stillness and her scene with the gentleman  caller as she gradually blossomed out was very moving.
Paul Marshall the Director and the set designer and sound and lighting team are to be congratulated for this production.

Great Expectations | 27 February – 3 March 2012

by Charles Dickens, adapted by Hugh Leonard, directed by Rosemary Harris.

This play is based on the penultimate novel of one of the greatest writers of the 19th century, Charles Dickens.

It was published when Dickens was at his prime. It is an absorbing mystery as well as a morality tale, the story of Pip, a poor village lad, and his expectations of wealth is Dickens at his most deliciously readable.

The cast of characters includes kindly Joe Gargery, the loyal convict Abel Magwitch and the haunting Miss Havisham.

Pip                                        James Mercer
Herbert Pocket                  Matthew Sanderson
Young Pip                           Danny Mcilhiney
Estella                                 Emily Smith
Joe Gargery                       David Kinch
Magwitch                            John Oakenfull
Mrs Joe                               Samantha Elgar
Biddy                                   Ruth Aylward
Pumblechook                     Pieter Swinge
Jaggers                               Andrew Herbert
Miss Havisham                  Carolyn Taylor
Wemmick                           Del Stone
Aged Parent                       Ray Harris
Miss Skiffins                       Samantha Elgar
Molly                                   Samantha Elgar

Set design:                          Ray Harris
Stage director:                   John Heather
Sec construction:               John Heather & T62 members
Set decor:                           Adrian Pope
Lighting design:                 Ian James
Sound design:                    John Lewis
Stage Manager:                 John Guttridge
Asst Stage Manager:        Ann Herbert
Stage Crew:                       Barbara Gadsden, Nina James
Sound Programming:       Ian James, Jon Lewis
Technical Support:           David Hart
Props:                                 Sally Guttridge, Ann Herbert
Wardrobe:                          Margaret Uzzell, Joan Martin, Valerie Polydorou
Make-up & hair:                Jean Golder, Christine Lever, Penny Vetterlein
Prompt:                              Muriel Kidd

House Manager:                John Heather
Refreshments:                   Audrey Knighton, Lynne Craig
Raffle:                                 Ann Herbert, Sally Guttridge
Box Office:                         Margaret Uzzell
Poster/programme design: Graham Copeland
Programme Editor:           John Guttridge 

The play was reviewed by the Bromley Times, to read the review, click here