THE apparent simpleton who in his innocence is wiser than those around him is a stock character in drama, but there are few better examples than Elwood P Dowd, the central character in ‘Harvey’. The central visible character, that is, because the real hero is the 6’ 1” white rabbit who gives the play its name and who can be seen only by Elwood. The relationship is the despair of Elwood’s sister, Veta, and his niece, Myrtle Mae, who decide that he must be confined to a discreet mental home run by Dr Chumley.

The Pirates Of Penzance

THE first production of The Pirates of Penzance may have taken place 135 years ago, but the story of young Frederick and his 21st birthday from hell is still enjoyed now as much as it was then. There have been attempts to modernise it, but you will not find any Keystone Cops or Pirates of the Caribbean in this production as it is very traditional. The Director, Claire Camble-Hutchins, has ably kept Bournemouth Gilbert and Sullivan Society firmly in their comfort zone with just a few well-chosen modernisms - a mobile phone for example, which it has to be said got the biggest laugh of the evening.


DAVID Auburn’s play, Proof, is a thoroughly well-written tale of, at the risk of resorting to glib over-simplification, a young woman whose Dad has just died.

There is obviously an awful lot more to it than that and director Patricia Richardson’s excellent production brings out every subtle nuance, every high and low, every emotion and feeling being felt by all the protagonists throughout.


WHEN Simon Leaton approached me to review a show he had written as a fund-raiser for Swanage Hospital, he warned me that most of the cast – hospital staff and their families -  had never set foot on a stage before, so I rather wondered what I had let myself in for.

A Man For All Seasons

THERE are thirteen on stage for the curtain call of this play, but although the number may be unlucky for some it certainly proves otherwise for Wimborne Drama, whose outstanding production kept its audience spellbound on Thursday evening, the first night.


IT’S a wet, Wednesday October evening and my mum and I are stuck in queues of traffic heading to Southampton.  An hour and a half later, after taking a few wrong turns and with some heated words, we finally sat in our seats!  Within seconds of the curtain rising and the sound of the brilliant orchestra starting, we looked at each other, smiled and relaxed.

Songs From The Shows

IN my twenty-odd years of reviewing I’ve seen countless ‘Songs from the Shows’ concerts, and by and large they tend to stick to what audiences will know and love. This one didn’t, with even this self-confessed musical theatre buff being at a loss as to which shows some of the numbers came from – so huge congratulations to the company for going out on a limb and doing something different, which really did make a refreshing change.

The Hardybutts Boys

THE recently-formed Little Giant Theatre Company mostly comprises former students from AUB, and they returned to their roots on Thursday evening with a performance of a play that has already seen considerable success this summer at the Edinburgh Fringe and at Hampton Hill Playhouse, Twickenham. 

Billy Elliot The Musical Live Broadcast

I really think that the person who first came up with the idea of having the ‘live from’ broadcasts that are beamed into venues direct from theatres in London, New York or wherever should be knighted, because to attend one of these is to have all the pleasure of the production with none of the hassle and expense.

Musique à Trois

WHAT a perfectly charming evening this turned out to be – a unique cabaret-style entertainment performed by the hugely talented trio of Bethany Jameson (vocals), Janet Beale (accordion, flute & saxophone) and Simon Newton (guitar & bass), in the  intimate surroundings of the delightful Shelley Theatre, a venue perfect for a show of this type.



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