News and Events

Review: Di & Viv & Rose

Review of Di and Riv and Rose by Theo Spring, 25 June 2018.

Performed at Theatre 62, West Wickham, from 25-30 June 2018

As is eruditely pointed out in the programme notes endorsing female friendships in literature, Amelia Bullmore’s play brings a modern take on the enduring friendship between three girls of very diverse characters.

As is only clear from the closing scenes, it seems to have been kind, ebullient and rather promiscuous Rose who threaded the three university friends together in their house share. Viv is the studious, brainy one, aiming for a first class degree, Di, a lesbian, is sporty but unsure of her way forward and Rose, who sleeps around, who cooks, who cares and soon loses any career prospects when she gives birth to twins from who knows which of eight possible fathers.

The casting for the three seemed perfect. Laura Gamble’s Viv was prim, proper and, with one delightful exception, un-giving,  again until a final reveal. Diane Carters’ Di gave lesbian dating problems both humour and angst and Rachel Cormican’s Rose was warm, funny, affectionate to her friends and the mainstay of the trio’s friendship.

So much was good about this production. Spanning the period from 1983 when the girls first met at university, to 2010 when they are worldly-wise women, an overhead screen led the audience through the time scale with additional clues given through their changes in costume. Music played a prominent role with tracks from the various years.  There was one spectacular musical eruption when all three let go with exuberant well-choreographed moves to Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now which, played back at the end, after the tale had taken a sad turn, revived the joy of their house-sharing time.  This playback was just one of many excellent uses of back-projection and images in the hands of Jon Lewis and technical co-ordinator Ian James, all seamlessly delivered.  The demands of a set requiring, amongst others, a corridor in university halls complete with old-fashioned pay phone, a main set of the student’s living area, an apartment in New York and a café on the concourse of a busy train station were so well met by set designer Alan Matthews where ingenuity was copiously used.  Costumes were changed with rapidity, as demanded by the change of year (s) and here Wardobe Mistress Diana Quinn and her team had input from the cast from their own wardrobes. On a very hot June night, my sympathy went out to Laura Gamble as Viv, in her thick black winter coat.  The delivery of what was certainly a high calibre production does not come without dedicated and enthusiastic collaboration from a wide group of personnel. The programme bears witness to many of the names involves and, as always with such productions, there was likely input from un-named helpers too.

Director Howard James can only have been thrilled with the way his ‘girls’ interpreted their roles and most certainly did both him and Theatre 62 proud.  The play was new to me – I was very pleased to make its acquaintance and, should it come my reviewing way again, I doubt I shall see it better performed.

Di and Viv and Rose | 25th – 30th June 2018

Di and Viv and Rose by Amelia Bullmore

Directed by Howard James

The hilarious and heart-warming comedy features three fun-loving young women, house-sharing for the first time.

It’s 1984 and, as Prince says, ‘Let’s Go Crazy’. The play is a thoughtful exploration of friendship’s impact on life and life’s impact on friendship.

Cast

Di…………………….Diane Carters
Viv……………………Laura Gamble
Rose………………..Rachel Cormican

Review by Theo Spring

As is eruditely pointed out in the programme notes endorsing female friendships in literature, Amelia Bullmore’s play brings a modern take on the enduring friendship between three girls of very diverse characters.

As is only clear from the closing scenes, it seems to have been kind, ebullient and rather promiscuous Rose who threaded the three university friends together in their house share. Viv is the studious, brainy one, aiming for a first class degree, Di, a lesbian, is sporty but unsure of her way forward and Rose, who sleeps around, who cooks, who cares and soon loses any career prospects when she gives birth to twins from who knows which of eight possible fathers.

The casting for the three seemed perfect. Laura Gamble’s Viv was prim, proper and, with one delightful exception, un-giving,  again until a final reveal. Diane Carters’ Di gave lesbian dating problems both humour and angst and Rachel Cormican’s Rose was warm, funny, affectionate to her friends and the mainstay of the trio’s friendship.

So much was good about this production. Spanning the period from 1983 when the girls first met at university, to 2010 when they are worldly-wise women, an overhead screen led the audience through the time scale with additional clues given through their changes in costume. Music played a prominent role with tracks from the various years.  There was one spectacular musical eruption when all three let go with exuberant well-choreographed moves to Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now which, played back at the end, after the tale had taken a sad turn, revived the joy of their house-sharing time.

This playback was just one of many excellent uses of back-projection and images in the hands of Jon Lewis and technical co-ordinator Ian James, all seamlessly delivered.  The demands of a set requiring, amongst others, a corridor in university halls complete with old-fashioned pay phone, a main set of the student’s living area, an apartment in New York and a café on the concourse of a busy train station were so well met by set designer Alan Matthews where ingenuity was copiously used.  Costumes were changed with rapidity, as demanded by the change of year (s) and here Wardobe Mistress Diana Quinn and her team had input from the cast from their own wardrobes. On a very hot June night, my sympathy went out to Laura Gamble as Viv, in her thick black winter coat. The delivery of what was certainly a high calibre production does not come without dedicated and enthusiastic collaboration from a wide group of personnel. The programme bears witness to many of the names involves and, as always with such productions, there was likely input from un-named helpers too.

Director Howard James can only have been thrilled with the way his ‘girls’ interpreted their roles and most certainly did both him and Theatre 62 proud. The play was new to me – I was very pleased to make its acquaintance and, should it come my reviewing way again, I doubt I shall see it better performed.

Box Office open for Di and Viv and Rose

…at Theatre 62, West Wickham from 25th to 30th June

It’s 1984 and, as Prince says, ‘Let’s Go Crazy’.  This witty, heart-warming and moving play features three fun-loving young women, house-sharing for the first time. They are each very different but it isn’t long before they are living in each other’s pockets. Together they can do anything.

But life has unexpected plans for them as their story unfolds over the next 25 years.

Di and Viv and Rose is a thoughtful exploration of friendship’s impact on life, and life’s impact on friendship.

Contact the Box Office here

Auditions for The Ladykillers

…are taking place at Theatre 62, West Wickham, in July.

Read through
Thursday 19th July – 8.00 pm

Auditions
Tuesday 24th and Thursday 26th July – 8.00 pm

Rehearsal nights will be Tuesday and Thursdays starting in early Sept. There will be some Sunday rehearsals. Please note: the years below refer to the ages to be portrayed and are a guide.

Email: marshall.paul100@gmail.com if unable to attend audition dates

Posing as amateur musicians, Professor Marcus and his ruthless gang of criminal misfits rent rooms in the lopsided house of sweet but strict Mrs Wilberforce. The villains plot to involve her, unwittingly, in Marcus’ brilliantly conceived heist job. The police are left stumped but Mrs Wilberforce becomes wise to their ruse and Marcus concludes that there is only one way to keep the old lady quiet. With only her parrot, General Gordon, to help her, Mrs Wilberforce is alone with five desperate men. But who will be forced to face the music?

Characters

MRS LOUISA WILBERFORCE = Old lady. Sweet and unassuming. She has to interact with her parrot, General Gordon. Age: 70 + but female of any age welcome to audition.

PROFESSOR MARCUS = The leader of the group of would-be robbers. Devious yet disarmingly charming. Age: 40+ but again can be aged up.

MAJOR COURTNEY = A typical army type, gone through Eton and Sandhurst “What what”. Age: 50+

HARRY ROBINSON= Young “Spiv” and “teddy boy” type. Age: 20-30

ONE-ROUND = Ex boxer. Unfortunately as his name suggests famous for not winning in the first round. Big guy though and still tough. Age: 30-45

LOUIS HARVEY= The most sinister of the gang with an air of menace and trusting no one. Age 30s to early 50s.

CONSTABLE MACDONALD = Good old fashioned, solid, Bobby. Loves walking the beat and checking up on old ladies who’ll offer him a cuppa. Age: 30-50

MRS JANE TROMLEYTON
A friend of Mrs Wilberforce. Loves tea, cake and gossip. Age: 70+ but again can be aged up.

Mrs Wilberforce’s Guests: 5 Females who attend the musical soirée hosted by Mrs Wilberforce who have non-scripted parts, but make plenty of noise!

Auditions for The Prisoner of Second Avenue

…are taking place at Theatre 62, West Wickham, on Sunday 1st July at 2.00 p.m. and Thursday 5th July at 7.30 p.m.

Plot
Mel Edison lives in an average New York apartment with his loving wife Edna. He’s got an average job, average clothes, average TV… Life’s just ticking along until the day he gets fired. Money becomes scarce, opportunities for a man chasing 50 are even more scarce and all this in the midst of a 1970’s heatwave when the temperatures roaring and the economy is crashing. Left with no choice but to pace the boards of his shrinking apartment, Mel’s mind begins to fall apart and it’s up to Edna to try and keep it all together.

This fantastic Neil Simon comedy is, for the most part, a great two hander for a couple of skilled performers. It is made all the more relevant today with topics such as mental health, class divide and materialism all bubbling under the surface.

Characters

Mel Edison – Male – 40-50 yrs. Very large role.
A neurotic New Yorker who’s hot temper hides his insecurities but even as he loses his mind his wit remains intact throughout. Mel has fallen into his life, he’s happy enough but dreams of something more. Throughout the play he becomes more and more unhinged and unpredictable. His moods swing from anger to empathy in the space of half a page. This is a great role for a performer looking to stretch their range.

Edna Edison – Female – 40-50 yrs. Very large role
She’s a chic but strong-willed woman who can be wife, matron and verbal sparring partner to Mel. Edna is the rock in Mel life. She is always there for him but as he falls apart we see she finds it harder and harder to keep him whole to the point that fractures begin to appear in her own sanity. This role would suit a performer with the ability to play many conflicting emotions beneath a gentle facade.

Harry Edison – Late 50s. Medium role
Mel’s big brother who incurs respect by his very presence. The acting head of the family and the one who got all the breaks, as far as Mel can see. He has an air of authority and superiority but underneath all that there’s a heart of gold… if you can find it!

Pearl, Jessie and Pauline: 40s – 50s. Small roles
Mel and Harry’s sisters. Family-centred, gossips, agony aunts and loyal to a fault. They will always put family first but years of being kept at a distance by Mel and Edna has not gone unnoticed.

PLEASE NOTE: the director will not be using a stage prompt during the performances.

If you have any questions, please contact the director, Wayne, via theatre62prompt@gmail.com

Communicating Doors | 23rd – 28th April 2018

Communicating Doors by Alan Ayckbourn.

Directed by Kerry Heywood

A dominatrix is hired for an elderly man by the hotel caretaker, but the man doesn’t want sexual services.

He wants her to witness a confession to the murders of his two previous wives by his psychopathic partner.

The dominatrix finds a link through time: can she escape with her own life and go back through time to rescue the wives before they can be killed?

Cast

Julian……. Howard James
Poopay….  Alice Heather
Ruella…… Janet Edden
Jessica….   Ruth Aylward
Reece…..    Rob Chambers
Harold…..   Ian Evans

Review by Theo Spring

“Playwright Alan Ayckbourn put something of almost every theatrical genre into Communicating Doors, making it intriguing for the audience and certainly demanding for the cast and director.

There’s tension and terror shaken up with a good dose of comedy and a plot with not one but two clever twists at the end.

Fully up to these demands, the cast wholly created their very different characters from the sinister Julian to the comic Harold, with a dominatrix thrown in for good measure and a husband whose wives had both met untimely ends.

Alice Heather’s dominatrix Poopay certainly provided the wow factor in her leather costume at the start of the play, morphing into an almost entirely different person under her ‘real’ name of Phoebe. Hardly off the stage and faultless on her lines, she convincingly changed again as one of the unexpected ‘twists’. The interaction between Phoebe and Ruella – an equally load-bearing role expertly and enthusiastically delivered by Janet Sharrock – created unrelenting pace as Ruella – the second Mrs Wells – moved from one plan to the next to try and avert both her own predicted murder and that of the first Mrs Wells – Jessica.

Set in Adrian Pope’s beautifully-decorated hotel room which identified as being replicated throughout the hotel depending on which room number it was, there is a mystery cupboard in which individuals, rather like Dr. Who’s Tardis, travel in time. Part of the intrigue relied on not knowing which year it would be when each traveller returned to the room. Clever Ruella worked out what was happening and gave Phoebe a most plausible explanation, partly for the benefit of the audience I suspect.

Julian, is a nasty piece of work, here given wonderful menace by Howard James. He is business partner to Reece whom we meet as an old man, a honeymooner and a dad, with Rob Chambers accomplishing all three realistically. First wife Jessica also travels in time, eventually believing a warning from Ruella who knows she will be murdered by drowning. Here, Ruth Rylward moved Jessica from her frivolous honeymoon to a smart wife – but this time not married to Mr Wells. The details of evil doings are all revealed in a confession by Reece who, as an old man, unburdens himself in writing – the paper falling into a reluctant Phoebe’s hands. Thanks to the time travelling, she is able to warn Ruella of her imminent death by being thrown over the hotel balcony.

The comic input to the play is in the safe hands of Ian Evans as the hotel’s Security Manager whose delivery, facial and body language caused laughter at almost every entrance. His anguish at keeping patient when life in his hotel turned curious and his obsequiousness to both wives, whom he meets in his own different time frames, was a delight.

Based on an original by Osmanie Ellas set designer Alan Matthews positioned the fatally-attractive cupboard centre stage, with its gauze front to allow time-transferring lighting and occupant to be seen. The adjoining bathroom was a triumph with smart white hardware, and the envisaged hotel corridor worked well too.

Under the perspicacious direction of Kerry Heywood, this cast of six had worked hard to perfect their characterisations and their delivery, culminating in a production delivering both laughter and trepidation to an appreciative audience.”

 

 

 

Hedda Gabler | 19th – 24th February 2018

Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen.  A version by Christopher Hampton.

Directed by Alice Heather

Just married. Bored already. The beautiful and headstrong Hedda longs to be free.

Hedda and the ineffectual academic George Tesman have just returned from their honeymoon and the relationship is already in trouble.

Her one hope of escaping is that Tesman has expectations of promotion and he becomes the outlet for her ambitions.

But when those ambitions are threatened Hedda comes up with a plan to remove the obstacles, and have some excitement in the process.  If everyone will play along nicely then everything will work out fine.

But Hedda is not the only one with a manipulative streak…

Cast
Hedda Gabler                         Sophia Danes
George Tesman                      Richard Stewart
Thea Elvsted                           Laura Gamble
Ellert Lovborg                        Rob Chambers
Miss Juliane Tesman            Lynn Rushby
Judge Brack                             Wayne Sheridan
Berte                                          Janet Clark

Backstage
Director                               Alice Heather
Set Design                          Andrew Heather
Lighting Design                  Jon Lewis
Sound Design                     Abel Fernandez
Stage Manager                   Ann Herbert
Asst Stage Manager            Andrew Heather
Stage Director                     John Heather
Set construction                 Andrew Heather, T62 members
Set Décor                            Adrian Pope
Technical Programming     Ian James, Jon Lewis
Technical Rigging               Members of T62
Technical Operators            Chloe Belgrave, James Quinn
Stage Crew                         Gilly Swinge
Costumes                            Margaret Uzzell, Diana Quinn
Make-Up & Hair                 Rachel Cormican, Jean Golder, Christine Lever, Penny Vetterlein
Properties                           Andrew Heather, Ann Herbert, Patricia Melluish
Technical Support              Andrew Herbert
Rehearsal Prompt               Hannah Crisp
House Manager                   John Heather
Refreshments                      Lynne Craig & T62 members
Raffle                                 Hester Fernee
Box Office                          Nina James
Programme Editor               John Guttridge
Poster & Programme Design     Graham Copeland

Production photos:

 

Rehearsal photos:

 

 

Comfort and Joy | 4th – 9th December 2017

img_8739Comfort and Joy by Mike Harding

Directed by Sandie Campbell

Set over a three-day period from 23rd to 25th December.

Goff has volunteered, yet again, to dress up as Santa and hand out presents at the old folk’s home and someone has stolen his jacket and trousers.  Helen has brought her dog Trumpton (who is aptly named) for the Christmas holidays.

Kathy is coming to stay for Christmas and is bringing her ‘friend’ Crispin and her two cats because the cattery is closed (as the lady who runs it dropped dead in the Bran tub in Santa’s grotto).

Fiona (Goff’s daughter) and Jimmy are home from Australia for the first time in 30 years and Goff has not forgiven her for running off to Australia with Jimmy and never returning tools he borrowed.

Martin has bought an enormous Christmas tree ‘off the back of a lorry’ and has invited the new neighbours Monica and Chapman in for a drink, who turn out to be barking mad.

Margaret is the peacemaker doing her best to hold it all together, but when the dog runs off with the turkey she loses the plot.

Presents are exchanged, none of which are appropriately thought out, charades are played with quite a bit of cheating. The alcohol flows, tongues are loosened and buried resentments rear their ugly heads.  All in all…a traditional family Christmas!

Cast

Margaret          Pauline Wathen
Martin              Howard James
Goff                    Bernard Harriss
Helen                 Laura Gamble
Fiona                  Sharon Hawkes
Jimmy               John Randoll
Kathy                 Diane Carters
Crispin               Paul Newton
Monica              Christine Lever
Chapman          Tony Skeggs
Pat                      Jan Stockwell
Hughie               Ian Evans

Backstage
Director                                      Sandie Campbell
Set Design                                  Alan Matthews
Lighting Design                          Andrew Herbert
Sound Design                             Ivan Buckle
Stage Manager                           Maggie Matthews
Asst Stage Manager                    Alan Matthews
Stage Director                            John Heather
Set construction                         John Heather, T62 members
Set Décor                                    Adrian Pope & T62 members
Technical Programming             Jon Lewis, Ian James
Technical Rigging                      Members of T62
Technical Operators                   Chloe Belgrave, James Quinn
Costumes                                   Val Polydorou and the cast
Properties                                  Gilly Swinge, Tina Stancombe
Prompt                                       Nina James, Janet Clark
Technical Support                      Ian James, Abel Fernandez
House Manager                          John Heather
Refreshments                             Lynne Craig and T62 members
Raffle                                         Sandie Campbell
Box Office                                  Margaret Uzzell
Programme Editor                      John Guttridge
Poster & Programme Design     Graham Copeland
“Alien” Voices                            Ailbe Lonergan, Anna Philpotts, Emma Wilson, Harley Baron
Carol Singers                             Tivs Raventheran, Subanu Raventheran, Zannette Paulsen, Zuzette Paulsen, T62 Members

 

Neighbourhood Watch | 25th – 30th September 2017

Neighbourhood Watch by Alan Ayckbourn - posterNeighbourhood Watch by Alan Ayckbourn

Middle-aged brother and sister Martin and Hilda have just moved into a new development called Bluebell Hill. They are looking forward to leading a quiet, Christian life, but feel they should at least introduce themselves to their neighbours by means of a little housewarming gathering.

Whilst waiting for their guests to arrive, their peace is shattered by a young trespasser and that peace will never return after Monty, their beloved garden gnome, is set upon.

The resultant well-intentioned scheme for a safer community is jeopardised by Martin’s burgeoning romance with Bluebell resident Amy (married to Gareth), who has just finished an affair with Martin and Hilda’s next door neighbour Luther, husband of Magda. This has surprising outcomes for all concerned.

Who could have thought that a young trespasser taking a shortcut through a garden could start a chain of events just as shocking as any crime drama seen on television?

Cast

Martin Massie            Rob Chambers
Hilda Massie               Margaret Glen
Luther Bradley           Geoff Dillon
Magda Bradley           Nomi Bailey
Gareth Janner            Richard Stewart
Amy Janner                Rachel Cormican
Rod Trusser                Richard Toynton
Dorothy Doggett        Margaret Hey

Backstage
Director                                      Nikki Packham
Set Design                                 Alan Matthews
Lighting Design                          Jon Lewis
Sound Design                             Ian James
Stage Manager                           John Oakenfull
Asst Stage Manager                   Nikki Packham
Fight Director                             Emma Christmas
Stage Director                            John Heather
Set construction                         Alan Matthews
Technical Programming             Jon Lewis, Ian James
Technical Operators                   Chloe Belgrave, James Quinn
Properties                                   Ann Herbert, Audrey Knighton
Rehearsal Prompt                       Audrey Knighton
Gnome Makers                            Jan Greenhough, Mike Greenhough
House Manager                           John Heather
Refreshments                              Stuart Scott
Raffle                                          Sandie Campbell
Box Office                                   Nina James
Programme Editor                       John Guttridge
Poster & Programme Design      Graham Copeland