Richard III

RETURNING for a second year to watch the Bournemouth Shakespeare Players perform, I was glad to once again be in the beautiful outdoor setting of the Priory House Garden. Situated behind Priory House and the Priory itself, it provides the perfect setting for the BSP's small stage. Decorated with banners bearing Richard lll's white boar, the stage was dressed just as well for the occasion as were the characters themselves.

The Pajama Game and Sweet Charity

IT'S always good to experience new things, and tonight Dorset School of Acting offered up something this reviewer had never experienced before – A double bill, double whammy two for the price of one spectacular. Tonight, we were witness to not one, but two shows for our evening’s entertainment; The Pajama Game and Sweet Charity. These were not the full length shows though, but shorter, mini versions of the well-known classics; the younger members (11-14) performing The Pajama Game in the first half, and the older members (15-21) performing Sweet Charity in the second.

Get Happy!

WOULD it be uncouth of me if I said “I’d love to have a look in Sonia Gilson’s cupboard?” A remark in keeping with this evening’s theme of light entertainment, but in all seriousness, I’d love to know what kind of manuscript labyrinth snakes around Sonia’s under-stairs cupboard, so that she might, once again, bring out some obscure gems to breathe new life into the flagging concert format. Without gushing, Sonia Gilson has proved time and time again that she knows how to put on a show, and tonight was no exception.

Cash On Delivery

ONE of master-farceur Ray Cooney’s many plays is ‘It Runs in the Family’, and perhaps he knew what a prophetic title it was, since his son, Michael, is also a writer of plays and screenplays. ‘Cash on Delivery’, perhaps Cooney Jr’s best-known play, tells the story of Eric Swan, who has been defrauding the Department of Work and Pensions by claiming benefits for several fictitious lodgers, but now wants to stop. He does have one real lodger, Norman Bassett, who is dragged unwillingly into Eric’s ever more complicated web of lies and deceit when an inspector from the DWP comes calling. Eric also has a nice sideline in selling contraband medical clothing in partnership with his Uncle George, who works in the local hospital.

Private Lives

IT’S that time of year again – the time for folding chairs, umbrellas, mozzie-repellent and sweaters as local theatre takes advantage of Dorset’s many stunning settings and moves into the Great Outdoors. The first al fresco offering of the year (for me, anyway) was this production directed by Lyn Richell. In some ways it is a curious choice because what is basically a drawing-room piece would not seem to be appropriate for the wide open spaces. Yet the production succeeds, due in equal part to Noël Coward’s scintillating writing and the efforts of four extremely talented actors, who cope admirably with the challenge of playing only a few feet from the audience and on the same level.

Death And The Maiden

Ariel Dorfman’s play is set in an un-named South American country emerging from a corrupt and brutal dictatorship and taking the first steps along the long path to democracy. The parallels with his adopted home country of Chile are obvious, but the play is careful not to tie itself, personal nouns aside, to any specific place. The aftermath of brutality, both physical and mental, is scar tissue that the fingers of any victim of abuse or champion of justice can trace, wherever and whenever they find themselves. 


Relatively Speaking

ALAN Ayckbourn’s play, set in the 1960’s, follows one summery Sunday of young couple Greg and Ginny. Caught in a web of lies, innocent Greg finds himself doubting her faithfulness. Taking matters into his own hands, he follows Ginny to her “parents’ house” to discover the truth. Little does he know that he’s really visiting the house of Ginny’s former boss, Philip, with whom she was having an affair, and his wife, Sheila. 


ON such a hot night as this I really didn’t want to have to concentrate too hard, so this ‘unforgettable’ comedy by David Tristram was just what the doctor ordered.

Musical Allsorts

OVER the years I have heaped almost every superlative in the book onto P&P Singers, ‘the boss’ - musical director Jean Chambers, and their indefatigable accompanist, Mary Potter, so it becomes increasingly difficult to find new words to say about a group that seems to tackle every type of song with ease and regularly walks away from festivals laden down with trophies, the latter proving without a doubt that I’m far from being the only one who has such a high opinion of their capabilities.

Best Of Gilbert & Sullivan Gala Concert

WHAT will happen when the present generation of Gilbert & Sullivan enthusiasts starts to disappear? It is a mystery and a concern that the pair’s operettas seem to have so little appeal to the young and those of early middle age. One would have liked to fill the auditorium with that age-group for this superb concert, because they would have got an idea of what they are missing. Rarely on leaving a play or concert do I feel that it was a privilege to have been there, but on this occasion I did.


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