A Tomb With A View

The picture above the fireplace of the late Tomb family patriarch looks eerily like my late paternal grandfather, while the print of Constable's 'Cornfield' on the adjacent wall could be the one at my parents' house when I was a child, but this country house library (with no books on the shelves) hides a number of secrets and is home to an entertaining array of eccentric family lunatics - reputedly descendent from the Borgias.

I Have a Song to Sing O!

Quite apart from their prowess on the stage, the Bournemouth G&S Society form one of the best choirs around, so it was a pleasure to hear them sing with little distraction. Having said that, two hours of watching them stand up to sing and sit down again would have been rather monotonous, so director Cherrill Ashford provided variety with some appropriate movement, a few props and suitable costumes for characters like Sir Joseph Porter KCB and Richard Dauntless. On a warmly lit set, the men were in DJs and the women in brightly coloured evening dresses, which made for a splendid spectacle.

Stiff Upper Lip

I was expecting this show to be more-or-less a standard concert show, featuring the more-or-less standard concert numbers that I have seen and heard many times before.  I neglected to consider the inventive mind of director Sonia Gilson and Unison's tradition of basing a show around a unifying theme with a loose plot thread.

It Runs In The Family

If I were to begin trying to explain the plot of It Runs in the Family, I’d soon become very stuck. Not that the play itself is a difficult concept but the endless trail of lies by the characters make it rather hard to follow. Loosely, the story is one ridiculously hilarious lie after another as Dr Mortimore tries to hide his illegitimate child from his wife and himself from the child. As the web of lies gets more tangled, he has to call on the help of his colleague, Dr Bonney, to assist with covering his tracks. With hilarious consequences, half of the hospital staff end up getting involved in the big lie in same way, whether they know it or not. It’s incredibly confusing, but delightfully so to watch.


‘Quartet’ is funny and moving and immensely wise about something that few of us can avoid: getting old. It is also an intensely theatrical play, which is appropriate because, like so much of Ronald Harwood’s work, its subject is the theatre, or at least theatre folk. And it ends with a wonderful coup de théâtre.

Sister Act

IT may be a bold claim for me to say that I think this is the best production I have ever seen RMDS do – and I’ve been watching the society regularly since 1972 so there have been plenty of shows to choose from – but I really do believe it. All the ingredients have come together in fine form, no doubt blessed by the Pope (looking uncannily like Dave Wischhusen), to produce one very satisfying whole that I would be very happy to sit through again.

Happy Campers

The winds of change seem to be going through The Fordingbridge Players; having read the programme before I saw their latest offering, it appears that there is a new Chairman, new Committee and a brand new online ticketing website, so I had high hopes as I walked into the auditorium.

The Dumb Waiter

The Dumb Waiter is one of Harold Pinter's one-act plays, written in 1957, and first performed in 1960. It is a two-hander, with the characters of Gus (Andrew Turner) and Ben (David Dobson) spending the entirety of the short show in a single room. From the outset and through much of the performance, it is unclear what the nature of their connection is, nor why they are present in a dingy basement room beneath a disused restaurant.

Our House

SOUTHAMPTON Musical Society is only a mere 12 years from celebrating its 100 year anniversary, which by anyone’s standards is an incredible achievement. As a company, they have stood the test of time and year in and year out, they have provided shows of a very high calibre; this show is, once again, a triumph.

The Picture Of Dorian Gray

THE half-restored Shelley Theatre, with its bare brick and breeze-blocks, would probably not be the ideal theatre in which to stage a drawing room comedy, but it is a perfect setting for stimulating and challenging modern work. ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, a new play by John Foster, certainly matches that description. Superficially, it doesn’t bear much resemblance to Oscar Wilde’s original Faustian novel of the beautiful young man who does not age despite a life of depravity, while his portrait in the attic does. For a start, both Lord Henry Wotton and Basil Hallward become female as Henri and Basel respectively; how dear Oscar would have deplored the loss of the homo-erotic element in his story! Dorian himself is a successful photographer.


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