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Lyndhurst Drama and Musical Society

DAILY ECHO REVIEW - Pinocchio

REVIEW: Pinocchio, Lyndhurst Drama and Musical Society, The Vernon Theatre, Lyndhurst

10:33am Monday 10th February 2014 in Curtain Call By Anne Waggott

IT’S a subdued Italian Christmas – children are mysteriously disappearing, toy donkeys cry real tears, toymaker Geppetto is saddened that nobody is interested in his wooden puppet, while lift operator, Jimmy Crankit, and shop assistant, Grazia, are challenged by the arrival of diva Dame Scrumptious (charismatic Hannah Marks) and her precocious students!
Nathanial Bond, this evening’s Pinocchio, was excellent with his marionette actions, convincing and engaging, frozen impeccably until activated by kindly Fairy Sapphire’s magic (Michelle Bradley-Harris).
Neville Green’s portrayal of Geppetto was both comical and eliciting sympathy from the supportive audience.
Director Jenny Green claimed that she chose this script to give an opportunity for her Kidzone Drama Group to “shine in their individual roles” – and she succeeded. Two separate groups of child actors were cast (not clearly identified in the programme which were performing for specific shows), but all shared enthusiasm, enjoyment and created fun characters.
Enjoyable family community theatre!

Posted on 10/02/2014

Newtown Amateur Dramatic Society

The following reviews have been supplied to Drama Groups by Newtown Amateur Dramatic Society

Play Review: 'World Premiere' of "You Can Only Die Twice" by Clive Bundy a member of Newtown Amateur Dramatic Society
I was at the Thursday (7th November) performance of Powys Theatre’s most recent play 'You Can Only Die Twice'. The play was written by the theatre’s own Clive Bundy, and I really did not know what to expect from the evening. The atmosphere, as always was very pleasant and it was good company to spend your evening with.
The dialogue took a couple of scenes to get going but once it did the story flowed along very nicely. I found myself thinking that I had the plot all sorted out and made this clear to my companions during the interval. However I was proved to have jumped the starting block as it unravelled into something unexpected. Understandably this left me impressed with the playwriting, surprisingly, yet happily impressed.
Two people were making their debut for this particular theatre group, Peter Withers and Brian Davis, and they both performed their parts full heartedly. The standout performer was unsurprisingly Kim Davies, who played the lead role with the enthusiasm and skill that she has become known for over the preceding plays. Sadly I think this is her last play for Powys Theatre, and I know her talents will be sorely missed. It was also nice to see Barbara Stephens continuing her comeback, as she was very convincing in delivering her double-agent. I was definitely fooled. Gillian Thorp rose to a character which suited her perfectly and showed her strongest performance to date in my opinion. The rest of the cast all performed to their usual high standards, that is David Morgan, Heather Hughes and Gareth Woodhouse.
Overall an enjoyable night out and big congratulations to the theatre for successfully putting on the ‘Worldwide Premiere’ of You Can Only Die Twice. Their next play will be held in the week beginning 3rd February 2014. Bookings will begin on 20th January for Theatre Book Holders and 27th January for General Public.

David Thorp

Posted on 24/01/2014

Gillingham Dramatic Society

The following reviews have been supplied to Drama Groups by Gillingham Dramatic Society

NODA Review
Set in 1880’s London, this musical is based on “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson. It has been adapted many times for film and stage and this particular version appeared on Broadway in 1997.
The stark dark stage with only a staircase and ‘balcony’ set the scene and throughout, we were peering at the action through ‘atmospheric’ mist, which made it difficult at times to see anybody on that ‘balcony’. That said, the clever use of lighting, certainly made up for the lack of scenery and created such atmosphere, especially in ‘The Confrontation’, which needed good lighting timing.
Playing the very demanding dual role of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was a very talented Scott Highway who portrayed the torment of Jekyll and the evil of Hyde, terrifying yet emotional through both his singing and acting. Another strong performance was given by Debbie Brennan, who used her moving voice, to reflect the vulnerabilities of her character, Lucy. Rebecca Lehmann was well suited to the part of Emma, Jekyll’s love interest and gave a very moving performance when she cradled Jekyll on his demise. Tarquin Flanagan gave a good portrayal as Jekyll’s friend John Utterson reflecting the feelings of a captivated audience. In fact, all of the supporting cast made their individual characters their own – well done.
There was excellent choreography by Emma Hodge on what looked like a very cramped area (is that why you needed the extra bit in front of the stage?).
The music of this show is fantastic and it was brought to us by an excellent MD Peter Bailey, leading a super orchestra, hidden at the back of the stage. Why no mention of them in the programme? The sound system was quite loud but worked well after a minor hiccup at the beginning. Costumes were good.
This really was an excellent production directed by Francene Harris, with every single member of the cast and backstage crew pulling of what is a difficult musical to stage.
Thank you Jeannette and Stephen for your kindness and hospitality and I hope to meet you all on a future occasion.
Doreen Grierson.
NODA Regional Rep.
District 7


Sardines Review
Jekyll and Hyde
Written and composed by Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse.
society/company: Gillingham Dramatic Society (directory)
performance date: 05 Oct 2013
venue: The Hazlitt, Maidstone
reviewer/s: Susan Elkin (Sardines review)
The stage fills with smoke and coloured light as Victorian London emerges – the grubby reality of streets, the seedy faux glamour of brothels, counterpointed with the dry calm of a sitting room, the charm of a ballroom and the mysteries of a laboratory. We are firmly in Les Miserables country (although that’s the French equivalent, of course) with a dose of Oliver! and Sweeney Todd thrown in. And Frank Wildhorn’s Jekyll and Hyde music variously reminds me of all three.
Scott Highway, who is rarely off stage in the huge title roles, is the star of this show in every sense. He is a very good actor who manages the transitions between the earnest, honest, tidily coiffed Jekyll and the cackling, evil, manic, shaggy-locked Hyde with total conviction. Actors are meant to ‘present truth’ and that’s exactly what Highway does. Also a remarkable singer, Highway has an almost Pavarottian ability to sustain a long – and often quite high - note for bar after bar at the ends of songs, building momentum as he goes in apparent defiance of all the laws of biology and physics. His is an outstanding performance by any standards – and I review a great deal of professional theatre.
Debbie Brennan’s Lucy Harris is a highly accomplished piece of work too. She can do anything from spiky, immaculately articulated wit in the brothel scene, in which she cavorts and entices, by managing each accelerando and reprise with terrific poise, to full belt and a great deal of top notch acting through song, including the evocation of a great deal of sadness and poignancy. And there’s a fine performance from Rebecca Lehmann as Emma Carew, Jekyll’s hapless fiancée whose clear, bell-like, professional-standard soprano singing is a great asset to the show.
Musical Director Peter Bailey directs a superbly competent band – concealed behind an upstage curtain and not ‘discovered’ until the curtain call – and controls the singing beautifully. The impassioned quartet sung by Chas Alder (as Sir Danvers Carew), Scott Highway, Rebecca Lehmann and Tarquin Flanagan (as John Utterson) is a highspot, for example. So is the duet by Lehmann and Brennan in the second act.
Another star of this show is choreographer Emma Hodge who, working in the Hazlitt’s quite small playing area, moves her vibrant young chorus in such a way that the space seems much larger. The crowd scenes and the one in the brothel are some of the best things in the show. Watch out for Rae Hume too. She plays Nellie, the lead prostitute, but who has enough stage presence and talent to make her stand out even in this high quality show.
I have seen this version of Jekyll and Hyde by Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn before and not liked it much – which all goes to show that a production’s success lies in what you do with the material. So congratulations Gillingham Dramatic Society. You’ve won me over.


This is a review from Mary Wills
Last evening I went to Maidstone's Hazlitt Theatre (hopefully soon to have a facelift) to see Jekyll and Hyde being performed by Gillingham Ops. And perform they did! I was gobsmacked (or any other more appropriate adjective you may prefer). The whole company – without exception – played their socks off on this the first night of their run. There was an amazing depth of talent and the total commitment of this accomplished company entranced their audience from the first note. I had never seen the show Jekyll and Hyde and hadn't realised how musically complex it is. To undertake to perform this was so brave – but my goodness their hard work and considerable talent really paid off. As mentioned previously the whole company were very special – all of the principals were quality – both in characterisation and voices. But everyone from Jekyll to Paper boys knew their role backwards; not one seemed in doubt or stumbled. If there were 'swans' among them – looking beautiful above the water while frantically paddling below – it didn't show. It is true that if you look committed and confident your audience comes with you. So well done to you all – including the accomplished orchestra that played out of sight behind the action. Wow – have a wonderful week – this one will be one to remember. Congratulations –

Posted on 10/10/2012

Gillingham Dramatic Society

Some quotes from the first night(02/10/2013).
Fabulous, is this a professional show, as would not have looked out of place in the west end.

Mayor of Medway's quote about GDS'S Production of Jekyll & Hyde.
"Unique,Intense,powerful and absolutely brilliant".


Posted on 03/10/2012


Garden Suburb Theatre

BDDF success - Alice wins prizes!

Jon Musker writes: "Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass was the GST's entry into this year's Barnet and District Drama Festival ('The Barnies'). This festival had eight entries this year, and gives out 11 specific awards, plus an award for all-round winner and one for all-round runner up.
At the awards ceremony last night we won the Best Theatrical Presentation award (the Hampstead and Highgate Express award) and the Adjudicator's Award (the Andrew Forney Memorial award). Danielle Stagg won the Best Young Actor/Actress award and we were awarded the Best Costume award (the Barry Serjent award).
Moreover, we were nominated for a further six awards; Adam Sutcliffe was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Danielle Stagg was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, and Tempeste Hepenstall-Brown was nominated for Best Young Actor/Actress. I was nominated for Best Director and the show was nominated for the Most Ambitious Choice of Play and also nominated for the Best Set Design and Construction. Moreover we came a (very close) third in the all-round winner award.
The awards at such festivals are slightly artificial, in that drama is not really a competitive sport. However, in this case it was clear that the adjudicator really enjoyed the show, particularly noting the ensemble nature of the piece. She described it as a "perfect piece of community theatre". I think the awards that were presented really reflect the brilliant input from all the cast, production team and staging teams, and the adjudicator indicated that by choosing to present the Adjudicator's Award on the basis of the best ensemble work.
I was immensely proud to be able to receive these awards on behalf of you, the people who made it all happen.
She particularly mentioned the excellent quality of the ensemble singing; the puppetry; the staging; the caterpillar; the costumes and makeup; the warm welcome front of house; the lighting. If you haven't already, you can (and should) read the full adjudication report online http://www.gardensuburbtheatre.org.uk/shows/2013/Alice/review-003.htm - and there are in fact five different reviews of the show online at http://www.gardensuburbtheatre.org.uk/show_archive.htm"

Posted on 01/07/2012

Newtown Amateur Dramatic Society

Fish Out of Water by Derek Benfield



Review of Fish Out Of Water, written by David Thorp.

I went to see ‘Fish out of Water’ on Thursday 7th February, at Powys Theatre, in Newtown. A comedy, which was written by Derek Benfield, and on the night performed by Newtown Amateur Dramatic Society.

To be perfectly honest, the play started quite slowly. This was, in my opinion, due to the storyline, rather than the acting. Soon enough, though, the performance decidedly brightened up, with the actors all warming to their respective parts.
Especially Martin Jones, who played the bumbling Brigadier, I thought he was exceptionally funny, taking his role by heart and producing many laughs throughout the evening. The other comedic elements were largely provided by Sue James as the very ‘English Old Bag’, and Clive Bundy, the enigmatic Italian Hotel Manager. Both acted extremely well, capturing the sole attention of the audience at all times during their dialogue, and deserve their recognition.

However, all the rest of the hardworking cast deserve a mention too, including Kim Davies, Jenni Freeman, Gillian Thorp and David Morgan, who were all excellent and added a little uniqueness to the show.

All in all, I felt the play was a success, shown by the audience who expressed their enjoyment as the curtains fell for the last time. I thought it was an admirable effort, a lovely little play produced nicely.
The next play in the season for NADS is from the 22nd – 27th April 2013. I recommend you go and check it out as I will.


Date 23rd Feb 2013





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