Players’ News!

Cast and Crew Announced for A Streetcar Named Desire.

Performance Monday 17th July – Saturday 22nd July 2017

Following recent auditions we are pleased to announce the following: 

Cast
Name Character
Siobhan Ames Blanche Dubois
Noel Harris Stanley Kowalski
Angharad Davies Stella Kowalski
Lewis Wilmott Harold Mitchell
Krissi Perry Eunice Hubell
Geoff Thorn Steve Hubell
Richard Haslam Pablo
Joseph Ackerman Young Collector
Michael Rahman Doctor
Lauren Milsom Nurse
Crew
Julie Cumbo Director
Louise Delaney Production Manager
Lauren Milsom Production Manager
Margaret Ramsdale Prompt
Marie Ricot Stage Manager
Clare Sparshatt Furniture
Mags Alexander Props
Ruth Pollitt Props
Vicky Van Manen Props
Anne Franks Costumes
Ros Hayes Costumes
David Franks Set design
 Set construction 
Brian List Lighting design
James Willis Lighting operator

The Collaborators Review 

Reviewed By Theo Spring – The Croydon Advertiser.

Billed as a comedy, this ingenious play set in Moscow in 1938 asked much of its director and cast to bring out said comedy in such a dark period of Russian history.

Much contributed to achieving the success of the production, starting with the photographs projected onto the screen before the tale commenced – imparting both political information as well as the poverty of many of the people.

Linda Hornzee-Jones was responsible for the imaginative and multi-tasking set with its huge heating pipes bringing together the apartment of Russian playwright Mikhail Bulgakov and his wife Yelena and a variety of rooms in the Kremlin. Such was the effectiveness of this design that there was no doubt, for the audience, as to where each part of the action was taking place.

Hypothetically, The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (the NKVD) commanded Bulgakov to write a play about Stalin’s early years, under threat of Bulgakov’s recently successful play about Moliere being banned. A strange phone call finds the author and the tyrant meeting in the bowels of the Kremlin where it soon transpires that Stalin will write the play and Bulgakov will sign off some off a considerable amount of Stalin’s paperwork – which evokes catastrophic results.

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Collaborators

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A constant on the stage, David Kay excellently portrayed the gamut of emotions required of Bulgakov, and was the central pin around which the play revolved. Taking Stalin’s personae and managing to be close to him in looks, Mike Strong brought the dictator to believable life, thus creating an all-important double act between the two with Jo Cullen as Yelana adding a vital and impressive third side to the triangle.

The play is peopled with characters from the lives of both Bulgakov and Stalin. Alfie Earl Day brings in both comedy and calamity as Sergei, the young man assigned to live in a cupboard in the Bulgkov apartment, Nick Foster exudes menace as Vladimir of the NKVD, as does Jeremy Taylor as Stepan of the NKVD who is even more intimidating in his hardly-speaking role.

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Collaborators

Glyn Jones as the writer Grigory, empathises with Bulgakov and is a good friend to him and the Bulgakov apartment also houses Vasilly (Colin Edgerton) Praskovya (Julie Cumbo) and Anna (Sandie Kirk). The doctor to whom Mikhail turns in his sickness has many of the play’s comic lines with John Shepherd relishing the doctor’s achieved success in his search for an actress he fancied. Phillipa Lucas adds a lively wife for Vladimir and a downtrodden cleaner to the production and further members of the cast portray actors, masked characters, a driver and more.

Chipstead’s achievement at finding the 17 commendable actors required for this production is laudable, as is the trio of wardrobe mistresses for their contribution. The all-important lighting and sound are in the hands of Jonathan Laverock, James Willis and Mel Morgan and the whole production, with its macabre overtones,  was brought to excellent fruition by the director, Maggie May.


Hospital Food – fund raising total

So the two amazing youth theatre productions are over and the funds raised from Hospital Food is a few pence short of £2200, with donations still coming in. What a fantastic amount raised for a very worthy cause. Thank you to everyone who came to watch both moving plays, for all the generous donations from so many people and especially to Ethan, Ben, Alfie and Luke who are now looking forward to a new hair style!

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Fund Raising Total..so far.

Hospital Food & Handbag

Reviewed By Theo Spring – The Croydon Advertiser.

These two one-act plays, although diverse, both tackled uncomfortable subjects and both were delivered by two separate stellar casts.

Written by Eugene O’Hare,  Hospital Food is set in the cancer ward set aside for teenagers in various stages of their treatment and the first thing to underline is, that such was their dedication to the theme of the play, that four of the young men volunteered to have their heads shaved to add to the painful realism.

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Hospital Food

Within the day room where no adults or medics intruded the teenagers were free to share their secrets and their fears and it was Gus who revealed he planned to disengage himself from his chemotherapy drip and escape. This news affects the group in different ways and the conversation between Gus, so very effectively played by Ben Jeffreys, and his best friend Josh, given emotion and concern by Ethan Elsdon, brought out their feelings for both their situation and their friendship.

Most of the girls wore head bandages indicating their hair loss and Edie Nelson as Layna was also attached to her chemo stand. Her attempts to talk Gus out of his plans gave vibes of her own love for him, although Alfie Earl Day as Sol, the more philosophical of the group, had stolen a vital key to assist the getaway. Adding to the ‘should Gus go or stay’ discussion, Emily Foster as Elsie, and Kate Batcheler as Karis helped to bring out more details of how they were coping with their illness as did Joe played by Luke Steele. Bradley Adams brought the least intelligent member of the group to life as Reece and Elodie Guyon-Pelfrene brought a poignancy to the part of Sadie, dealing with the reality of her diagnosis.

To have comprehended the difficulties faced by the characters they played and brought insight into both the dilemma and the illness with which their characters were doing battle brought a striking piece of theatre to the stage.

A Handbag by Anthony Horowitz looked as if it might provide a little light relief as we watched a stilted rehearsal for the Importance of Being Earnest where cues are missed and the play’s director tries to keep calm. However, this is no ordinary group but incarcerated young offenders, convicted of murder, who tread carefully to hide under their new identities but who sometimes slip to reveal their past.

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Handbag

Rehearsing as Lady Bracknell, Zoe Kirk delivered the ‘handbag’ speech  in monotone, as did Monty Camisa-Bundy who, playing both the director and Jack, delivered a three-dimensional character – the third one allowing insights into why he was under lock and key. The play starts and culminates with this well-known exchange but in the interim we meet Allan, playing Algernon, his too early entrance causing considerable discussion and allowing Simon Perry in the role to deliver both comedy and annoyance.

Idiosyncratically, Specs who has a stammer, is the prompt with Jonathan Neary changing miraculously from a shaking wreck to an orator as he is able, stammer free, to elucidate on some of the text and comically, to audience applause, plays four of the play’s characters to illustrate his point. Laurence Read as Kinsey shows the lack of understanding his character has of how his life ahead might be and Katie Bignell as the foul-mouthed astringent Irene reveals her frustration and anger, rebelling on her life – as it was and as it is now.

Both plays were sensitively and intuitively directed by Sandie Kirk with skill and an understanding of both her cast and the subjects.


Hospital Food – Head Shaving.

As many of you know four gallant members of the male cast ( Ben Jeffreys, Ethan Elsdon, Luke Steele and Alfie Earl Day) bravely agreed to shave their heads for the part but also to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. The shaving ceremony took place last Saturday at the theatre and what a blast it was, largely thanks to the large number of supporters who turned up to cheer them on. So now they have their new look and have raised over £1300 for charity, its now time to get your tickets and appreciate great acting from all the cast.

Before!
Before!
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After!

 


Shadowlands

Reviewed By Theo Spring – The Croydon Advertiser.

The role of C S Lewis in this play, is not about his famous books, including the Narnia tales, but about his private life and finding a deep love. The role is demanding, not only requiring innate acting ability but also needing a huge capacity for learning lines. Taking the part up to and beyond the standard of a professional actor, Nick Foster excelled, growing from the reticent and confirmed bachelor to the husband who fell in love so profoundly with the American lady with whom, initially, he corresponded. Opening the play with a wordy, long and interesting lecture, to which he returns periodically to underline its message, he was barely off stage, evolving his characterisation with great skill.

Equally skilled, Sarah Branston, with a faultless American accent, embodied the intelligence and emotions of Joy Gresham who, having exchanged letters with Lewis, is invited to tea in an Oxford hotel when visiting England. Thus began a journey for both of them that slowly brought them happiness followed, for Lewis, by such a sadness he could not have envisaged.

Mel Morgan’s set design allowed for smooth changes of scene, many of them being in Lewis’ home in Oxford, where he lived with his older brother Warnie, played with understated affection by Charlie Crowther-Smith.

As a Fellow and Tutor of Magdalen College in Oxford, Lewis participates in high-brow discussions with his colleagues as they sip sherry at regular meeting times. Each with their own different views, there is lively discourse. David Kay as Christopher Riley, often stirs the conversation with unexpected remarks, whereas Don Hindle as Rev. Harrington, placates and offers kindness. Also round the table sit Maurice Oakley played jovially by Phil Wright and Ian Brown as Alan Gregg, adding few but relevant comments. Doubling up, both Phil Wright and Ian Brown are seen later in the production as the priest who marries Joy and Lewis and the doctor who cares for the hospitalised Joy.

Henry Barribal interprets the role of Douglas, Joy’s young son, with gravitas and bidability, showing Douglas’ own emotional trauma when his mother dies.

Lesley Crowther-Smith takes multiple roles throughout the play- each individually characterised, and Jonathan Laverock has two small cameo roles.

Three wardrobe mistresses made sure costumes were apt for the 1950s setting – all appropriate with the exception of Joy’s elaborately-dressed dark wig which, for me, didn’t gel.

Colin Edgerton had the courage and strong ability to bring this haunting play to the stage. Blessed with a very talented cast, he must be so proud of the whole production but especially grateful for finding Nick Foster for the role of C S Lewis.