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.
ASCEND, the new arm of AsOne Theatre Company, is a collaborative, physical theatre company with an emphasis on the performer to tell the story. It is hoped to attract a new, young audience while giving something fresh and inventive to existing audiences.
AMAZINGLY, RMDS has been going strong for 100 years, hence the title of this annual event which I always look on as my end of term treat, since it is generally the last production before a short break in local theatre shows.
PERHAPS it was the fact that the panto season is really behind us now, perhaps it just wasn’t a very good script, perhaps it was the small size of the audience or perhaps it was simply that this relentless rain is beginning to get us all down, but in all honesty this really wasn’t one of the better evenings I’ve spent with the Players over the years.
I never make any secret of the fact that this annual summer show is one of the highlights of my theatrical year. The format, certainly in this area, is unique – three separate ‘mini shows’ performed simultaneously in three separate rooms, with the audience (also divided into three) seeing each of the shows over the course of the evening and fortified by complimentary nibbles ( and they still have those wonderful blue cheese rolls!) during the breaks.
THIS year P&P have forsaken their annual ‘3 concerts in one day’ extravaganza at Lighthouse for this little-known musical version of Dickens’ popular classic, and what a thoroughly enjoyable and well-costumed evening it proved to be. And the company must have been thrilled that the queues at the door were such on opening night that extra chairs had to be brought in.
I think it’s probably true to say that until tonight the Christmas spirit was somewhat eluding me, but having spent a couple of hours in a beautifully decorated church in the company of the superb P&P Singers I am considerably more cheerful than when I started out.
I have always rather fancied, but never experienced, one of those ‘pamper days’ where one is given all sorts of treatments to relax the mind and the body. Tonight I experienced what must be the next best thing, as after just a few minutes of this concert I could feel the stresses of the day draining away, and I had a feeling of being enfolded in something warm, comforting and relaxing.
I’ve always rather fancied the idea of going to a health farm to be pampered for a few days, but after watching this comedy farce by Derek Benfield I’ll maybe think again. It is set in just such an establishment, where a businessman has gone for a relaxing break – which quickly becomes anything but, as his secretary, his daughter and his wife arrive in rapid succession.
I've always rather fancied the idea of going to a health farm to be pampered for a few days, but after watching this comedy farce by Derek Benfield I’ll maybe think again. It is set in just such an establishment, where a businessman has gone for a relaxing break – which quickly becomes anything but, as his secretary, his daughter and his wife arrive in rapid succession.
CHRISTMAS – the very mention of the word is enough to fill many a sane person with dread at the thought of having to spend time with those we would prefer to run a mile to avoid. Perfect material then for a playwright who specialises in revealing heartache behind laughter.
I have just spent an evening shouting out loud, clapping and singing Old MacDonald Had a Farm, which can only mean one thing – yes, it’s panto time again and Lighthouse has been transformed into Old Peking (near Liverpool) for the next few weeks.
AFTER a break from this genre for several years NFP are back in the land of boo and hiss and in their old home, the Memorial Hall, which felt considerably cosier than I remembered it. I’d remembered too that they used to do panto awfully well, so it was not really a surprise to find that they certainly haven’t lost their touch.
ON a wet evening, with a gale blowing outside, I would have liked nothing more than to be at home in the warm. However, needs must so instead of a cosy night in we braved the elements and set off for the depths of the New Forest.
I managed to catch this panto, from the Ron Martin/Nina Thompson stable, just before it closed on Saturday, and although we had the devil’s own job getting through the flooded road next to our house – where was that magic carpet when I needed it? – it was most certainly worth the effort. We knew we were in for something special when we approached the theatre and saw a queue stretching back along the pavement, surely meaning that word of mouth was drawing in the punters, and we weren’t to be disappointed.
IT is perhaps unusual to begin a review by focusing on the set, but even by BLTC’s high standards this one was outstanding and – forgive the pun – set the scene well for what was to follow. Built, as usual, in-house by company members (take a bow designer Alastair Griffith, who also designed the excellent lighting), it looked exactly like I would imagine a house in up-market Pangbourne to be. I hesitate to mention the slight irritant of a crooked picture at the rear of the set, as I suspect the director would tell me it was intentional, but …
IT was pleasing to see an almost full house for P&P on Thursday evening, particularly given that the temperature was far more conducive to a night curled up by the fire, but this company’s reputation is such that audiences know they are unlikely to be disappointed. And indeed we weren’t, with three very different plays providing a great evening’s entertainment.
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.