THERE were, apparently, 85 episodes – or about forty two and a half hours’ worth - of this comedy shown on TV during the 1980s, but you’ll be relieved to hear that this stage version is condensed considerably and runs for just slightly over two hours, including an interval.
THE Regent Centre in Christchurch was built in 1931 so is currently celebrating its 80th Anniversary, and this concert was just one of the events in the ‘anniversary calendar’. The groups taking part were Christchurch Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Highcliffe Charity Players, Poole and Parkstone and Theatre 2000, not forgetting the host of ever-present volunteers who make the Regent Centre one of the cornerstones of the community.
SOME productions need updating and the 1946 version of Annie Get Your Gun, with its politically incorrect references to “Red Indians” and outdated approach to women, is without doubt one of them. Fortunately, Peter Stone’s 1999 Broadway revival revised the script and Theatre 2000 used this for their Regent Centre Show. Based loosely on a hit and miss romance between real life sharpshooters Annie Oakley and Frank Butler, Annie Get Your Gun has a host of familiar and much-loved songs from Irving Berlin - a gift for Musical Director Lee Marchant.
I’VE long been a fan of Tom Lehrer’s wonderfully satirical songs but only came upon Bob Newhart’s comedic monologues a couple of years ago, when a friend played me one of his LPs. Since both Americans are now in their 80s I doubt that many in this country have ever seen them performing live, learning to love them instead from their recordings, from shows like Tomfoolery or perhaps from a tribute-type evening such as this.
Blue Remembered Hills is set in World War II, following the lives of the war-time children who must find ways to entertain themselves. This play sets out to build childhood memories and events and, in the director’s own words, show “an analysis of human interactions.”
CABARET is always a dark musical, showing human relationships being played out in an increasingly fraught manner as the spectre of Nazism begins to rear its ugly head in pre World War II Berlin - although it does, nonetheless, have its brighter moments.
THEATRE 2000 continue their excellent re-visiting of Rodgers & Hammerstein classics with Carousel, in a production directed by Albert Brown. The moment Lee Marchant's fantastic orchestra struck the opening notes, I knew we were in for a treat and the evening did not disappoint on any level.
THE dictionary definition of ‘spectacular’ is striking, amazing or lavish, and this show, the first of what the Regent hopes will become an annual event, most certainly lives up to its name.
A beautifully decorated foyer gives every indication of what is to come, and I don’t think I have ever seen such an incredible set or such wonderful lighting effects on the Regent’s stage – nor in many other places, come to think of it.
Since The Glad Rag Production Company is part of Sue Simmerling’s Carry On Costumes, which has been providing costumes for P&O Cruise ships and land-based theatres for many years, it goes without saying that the performers are dressed to dazzle, with a myriad of changes and each set of costumes simply – well, spectacular.
WHAT is a pantomime? I was once asked this by an international student staying with us, and to be honest I struggled to really give a good answer. “It’s a...um…musical for kids and - er - adults. With dancing and singing and guys dressed as girls, and girls dressed as guys and custard pies...”
IT’S a brave company that takes on the stage version of a TV series, particularly when it’s one as well-known and loved as Dad’s Army. You will understand then that I approached my visit to this particular show with some trepidation, not least because I was accompanied by my husband, who is something of a Dad’s Army buff and knows the episodes inside-out.
LIKE almost all local theatre groups, BBLOC is struggling financially. Bitesize was born to raise the profile of the main company as well as to help raise much-needed funds, and if last night’s sell-out concert was anything to go by they’ll succeed admirably on both counts.
HALF A Sixpence is a rags-to-riches tale based on the novel Kipps by H G Wells. The story, mainly set in the early twentieth century, follows chirpy Arthur Kipps, an orphan, takem away from his childhood sweetheart, Ann. Before being sent to live with Mr Shalford in the seaside town of Folkestone, Kipps gives Ann one half of a sixpence as a token of his love. Kipps' life is turned upside-down some years later when he inherits a small fortune. However, he soon finds that money and upper-class living cannot buy you true love or happiness.
JEZ Butterworth’s play is about a man living in a battered caravan in woods on the edge of the fictional Wiltshire town of Flintock, the exact location adjacent to a new housing estate. Set on St George’s Day, it becomes a vehicle for what shorthand sometimes dubs a “state of the nation” play, one man’s character, values, circumstances and relationships carrying a significance beyond the personal or local.
BOUBLIL and Schoenberg’s Miss Saigon, which is of course based on Puccini’s Madam Butterfly, is a powerful, deeply moving story of war, love and loss that should leave its audience emotionally drained. This outstanding production, directed by Albert Brown with choreography by Angie Broomfield, does exactly that.
MILTON Musical Society are celebrating Charles Dickens’ 200th anniversary with their joyous production of Oliver!. Dickens would have approved, but he may well have failed to recognize much of his sinister book from Lionel Bart’s lighter interpretation.
THERE has been much in the news lately about the appalling behaviour of theatre audiences, with talking, eating, texting and even listening to voicemails apparently becoming all too regular. A capacity opening night audience that included a large school party might have indicated that we were in for something similar, but this production made such an impact that you could have heard a pin drop – until, that is, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy kissed, when the cheers echoed to the rafters.
ON my way to the theatre, excited to see of one of the most well-crafted English plays of the 1900s, I promised myself that when I wrote the review for Arena Theatre's version of Pygmalion that I wouldn't mention 'My Fair Lady' at all in my review. Alas I'm going to fail to keep my promise. Let me explain...
THE wheels of a dream were set in motion over two years ago now, when Milton decided that they wanted to perform a show that requires, among others, a number of non-white performers. Against all the odds they found the people they needed, and so it is that this week audiences have the opportunity to see the local premiere of a show that tears at the heart-strings as it tells the story of how immigrants from poor countries fared in America when they arrived at the turn of the twentieth century in what they believed was the land of opportunity, only to be faced with poverty and prejudice as they struggled to make new lives for themselves.