This group meets on the first Thursday of each month at Eastwood Council Offices, from 1.00-2.30 p.m., to plan future events and review past ones.
NB There will be no meeting on Thurs 3rd Jan because of the numbers going to Glenn Miller
The contact for the group is Marianne Sparrow tel. 01773 717 500 or email email@example.com
|Theatre Royal||Glenn Miller Orchestra||Thurs 3rd Jan|
|Old Library, Mansfield||Bess, Commoner Queen||Fri 22nd March||2 pm|
|West Bridgford Operatic Society||Calamity Jane||Fri 22nd Feb|
|Nottingham Playhouse||Wonderland||8th or 11th Feb|
|Nottingham Playhouse||The Memory of Water||Fri 3rd May|
Theatre during the Great War
Tuesday 23rd October
This was another in the series of heritage lunchtime events. An extremely interesting talk by Helen Brooks from the University of Kent who has been researching the entertainment provided during WW1.
She has discovered that it wasn’t all lighthearted variety type put on to boost morale. The majority of plays written at the start of hostilities were about spies and reflected the public mood, stirred up by newspaper articles. Themes then evolved into describing the arena of war and actors were used to appeal directly to young males and encourage them to enlist. To this end, stooges were often placed in the audience and would pretend to volunteer. There was usually an army officer in the auditorium afterwards, ready to sign up recruits. This practice was ended in 1916 when conscription was introduced. As the war continued, plays were written about conscientious objectors and one of these was so popular that it was still touring the theatres in the 1920’s.
At the end of the talk, it was announced that the theatre’s digital archive was now ‘live’ and available to view.
Thoroughly Modern Millie
Duchess Theatre,Long Eaton on
Thursday 25th October
Sadly only 5 people from the theatre group went see this production. I say sadly because everybody else missed a fantastic production.
It was amateur dramatics with a professional performance. There was music all the way through by a live orchestra of seven. The character acting was excellent as was their singing and dancing. I was too engrossed to count the cast but I think there was probably 30 or so and their costumes were perfect for the era it was set in.
Wednesday 30th May
Originally a smash hit starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Top Hat is a spectacular dance musical featuring Irving Berlin’s classics such as ‘Cheek to Cheek’, ‘Let’s Face the Music & Dance’ and ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’. It’s not an easy show for amateurs, but Carlton Operatic Society gave it their all. The dancing may not have been up to Astaire and Rogers standard, but the show as a whole was quite enjoyable.
Tuesday 24th April
On Stage and Back Stage
This event was one of the heritage lunchtime talks by a panel of current & retired members of the theatre staff. They provided an enthralling and often amusing insight into what goes on behind the scenes in order to ensure the smooth running of the shows.
We heard how the changes in I.T. over the last twenty years had impacted on the work of the Press and PR department and their role in ensuring that performers were in the right place at the right time. The Stage Door Keepers had a wealth of anecdotes about the ‘stars’ they had met and their various special memories. All the staff were unanimous in feeling that they were honoured to work in such a friendly and prestigious theatre.
The next lunchtime talk is on Tuesday 23rd October when the subject will be ‘Theatre During the Wars’.
Monday 12th March
Our Country’s Good
12th March a group went to see ‘Our Country’s Good’ at Nottingham Playhouse.
The play was about convicts being transported and arriving in Australia. The convicts were disciplined by a Governor in Chief, several lieutenants and captains from the United Kingdom.
The play was about being imprisoned – not just literally in prison – but constrained by the social order, the way we think about other people and ourselves.
A lieutenant explained putting on a play was very much about escaping from those prisons. Putting on a play gave each cast member an opportunity to use the theatre as a tool to show who they are rather than people judging them on how they look.
The play was about transformation and redemption where we are saved from stereotypes and damaging ways of thinking.
There was even an Aboriginal Australian who had freedom but lost it when the English arrived and he died by catching smallpox from them.
The production was put on by Ramps On The Moon and the performance was spoken and signed using BSL (British Sign Language) There was also a written description including explaining the music playing during scene changes on each side of the stage.
It was an excellent production that showed anybody, deaf or disabled can be on stage and included in an audience.
Wednesday 7th March
Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella
Once again, Matthew Bourne has produced an amazing ballet. Set in 1940, in London amid the bombing, the story was extremely well told. Cinderella’s family included not only the obligatory two step-sisters and step-mother, but also an invalided father and step-brothers, all with strong characters; the young boy with the toy aeroplane providing quite a comic element. For me though, the character of the Angel was the most outstanding with superb dancing, fitting costuming and ethereal choreography. We may not have had the best seats but it was a very enjoyable evening.
Monday 12th February
We went to the Playhouse on Monday Feb 12th. The play was called Wonderland which documented the struggle centred around the Welbeck miners strike. This caused stress and poverty as they were not receiving any wages for such a long time. The play was brilliant and the actors were superb, they captured the humour of the miners, their close friendship, the heat and the dirt of the mine and the fear of the new recruits going done the mine for very the first time at a very young age. The months went on and on as they tried reach a settlement. The split between the friends and families when some desperate miners went back to work were labelled as scabs lasts to this day.
I really enjoyed it and highly recommend the play.
Friday 23rd February
It was my first time attending a NOMADS production. People I knew who had seen the group before had said they were extremely good. The company certainly lived up to this praise
The show began with a large number of the cast singing and dancing in beautiful, colourful costumes. These and other costumes were to dazzle the eyes of the audience throughout the show.
Each member of the cast, from the senior to the very young, gave their all without fault. The audience thoroughly enjoyed all the laughter and merriment put across to them.
The cast of Ali Baba certainly gave a piece of treasure from Baghdad to the audience. What a great way to round off the pantomime season.
All credit to the performers, producer and director Tom Bailey, to the musicians and all the crew that put so much into this show.
Wednesday 31st January
Son of a Preacher Man
On Wednesday the 31st January 20 members of the Theatre Group went to the Theatre Royal in Nottingham to see ‘Son of a Preacher Man’. This story was written around the music of Dusty Springfield and was directed and produced by Craig Revel Horwood.
I didn’t know what to expect of the show but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The music was great and the story was okay. It wasn’t the best show I have seen but it didn’t stop me having a great time. The day ended with a group of us going for a meal at The Corinthian restaurant where we had a wonderful meal and lots of laughter.
Thursday 18th January
This was 80 year old Kenneth Alan Taylor’s 34th panto at Nottingham and looking on line at the 2012 Cinderella it looks as though much of this year’s Cinderella was a rehash of the Cinderella from then. That was the year he did away with Baron Hardup the traditional father of Cinderella and her two stepsisters, and introduced the Dowager Duchess Devilla (was she based on Cruella de Vill from 1001 Dalmatians – she was certainly a similar character), and whilst the woodland animals (hedgehogs, squirrels, foxes and rabbits) did wonderful dance routines and had impressive costumes they would have been more at home in Babes in the Wood than Cinderella.
The first half of the performance seemed to be lacking the usual panto magic, but this was made up for in the second half, with the many Brownies in the audience adding to the enjoyment of the evening – they certainly got involved and caused a laugh when one shouted up “I’m watching you” to one of the Ugly Sisters.
Kelly Agredo as Cinderella and James Nicholson as Prince Charming made creditable debut performances, able assisted by Tim Frater as Buttons and Adam Pettigrew as Dandini.
The level of singing was of a high standard but this was occasionally drowned out by the orchestral music being too loud.
All in all we had a good evening, the scenery and costumes were excellent, audience participation as expected for a pantomime but the general feeling was that somehow it wasn’t as good as last years panto (Aladdin) but perhaps the cast were feeling a bit jaded so close to the end with only two more days before the final curtain.
Tuesday 12th December
An Ideal Husband
Lace Market Theatre
A group of us from the U3A Theatre group went to the Lace Market Theatre to watch the play An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde. This was the first play by Oscar Wilde I had watched and I was quite apprehensive. However, the actors were all excellent and the costumes were beautiful. I enjoyed the play and enjoyed the intrigue, blackmail, scandal and political corruption which became more evident in the second half.
Saturday 18th November
St Mary’s Church, Greasley
The group saw Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit by the local Greasley players.
The cast all performed very well with hilarious results after Ruth and Charles hosted a seance in their home instigated by Madame Arcarti a local medium, Charles’s late wife Elvira materialised which led to troubles between him and Ruth. Elvira had tampered with their car to try and kill Charles so they could be together again, unfortunately Ruth went out in the car and she was killed instead and then she appeared as a ghost with Elvira much to the distress of Charles.
Madame Arcarti was called back and after some more hilarious antics and chanting the two ghosts were eventually back where they belonged. A good night out.
Friday 10th November
Mansfield Palace Theatre
I had the pleasure of going to the Palace Theatre Mansfield to see Victoria Wood’s Acorn Antiques. From the start it was lovely to see the tribute to Victoria on the big screen. After that it was a laugh all the way to the end. As always the cast gave everything. The jokes were a bit saucy at times, but for me that made it all the more enjoyable.
Saturday 28th October
The Wizard of Oz
Some theatre group members went to see ‘The Wizard of Oz’, the latest production by the Nowmads at Kimberley School theatre. A much loved timeless classic with story and songs we all know well.
As usual, they didn’t disappoint. The cast, costumes and scenery were brilliant, not forgetting the musicians.
Looking forward to their next show in February. ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’. Don’t miss it!
Wednesday 25th October
My Fair Lady
I washed my face and hands before I went I did!
I am so glad not only that I went with a clean face and hands but that I attended Nottingham Operatic Society’s 125th Year Anniversary performance of the classic Musical My Fair Lady.
This was a superb performance by all on stage but particularly by Katie Taylor as Eliza and Simon Theobald as Henry Higgins who took it to another level. No wonder there were repeated questions in the packed Audience of ‘Are they really Amateurs” The one thing this Show was not was amateurish, it was slick, the singing tuneful, the costumes colourful and the Orchestra pitched at the right level. The two leads were ably supported by Rob Harrison as an amusing bumbling and naïve Colonel Pickering and a rather understated and lovable Alfred P Doolittle by Ian Pottage.
I must also congratulate the rest of the Company both on stage and behind the scenes because without them the Show would not have been half as good. It was a very long show but no-one left to catch buses or trains everyone wanted to stay to the last minute and enjoy it to the last note.
Well Done Nottingham OS I look forward to Joseph next year.
Wednesday 18th October
Beautiful – the Carol King Story – who knew that Carol King had written so many familiar songs?
Seven members of the Theatre Group went to see the musical on Wednesday the 18th October at the Theatre Royal, which told Carol’s story from when she joined Donnie Kirshner’s New York music ‘factory’ in the late 50s when she was 16 until her Carnegie Hall solo appearance in the early 70s.
As well as familiar songs that we could all recognise, the energetic cast took on cameo roles including the Shirelles, the Drifters, the Righteous Brothers and Little Eva. The role of Carol King was played by an understudy, Leigh Lothian, on the night we went, but she was excellent – great acting and a beautiful singing voice, so we were not disappointed.
All in all it was a really good show, enjoyed by all.
Thursday 5th October
Heanor Baptist Church
On Thursday 5th October a group of members shared cars and arrived at Heanor Baptist Church to watch ‘Salsa Verde’ by ‘Badapple Theatre’. The setting was the old village dance hall during the last weeks of 1999. There were 5 characters, Verde played by Jack Alexander. Sallie, Grandad and Strictly were played by Alexandra Daszewski and Angel was played by Hadley Smith.
We all enjoyed the music and especially the guitar played by Verde. We also laughed a lot as the comedy was brilliant. The two men Verde and Angel looked very similar and this worked well when they swapped identities briefly towards the end.
During the performance Sallie was teaching Angel how to dance the Salsa. When they danced it on the eve of the millennium it was brilliant! They certainly had the moves and it was very a very professional performance. A thoroughly enjoyable evening!
Monday 18th September
Pride and Prejudice
On the 18th September we visited the Nottingham Playhouse to see Jane Austens’
Pride and Prejudice adapted by comedian Sara Pascoe with her witty sense of humour.
Keeping to the original story and adding humour, singing and dancing (some of the
characters dancing with wooden mannequins!) made a very entertaining evening.
The acting was superb and the evening just flew by.
The play was interspersed with actors playing the roles of present day students trying
to make sense of how the ladies of that era lived their lives and the unfairness of having no rights to any inheritance.
I enjoyed it immensely and would love to see it again.
Saturday 9th September
Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton
What a fabulous evening the Theatre Group had at the Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton. We went to see the “Buddy Holly and the Crickets” story. There was full audience participation, singing all the songs we know so well (especially Peggy Sue) also clapping and dancing in the aisles. The actors who took part gave a very uplifting performance.
Thursday 27th July
After days of downpour, the weather forecast for this Thursday evening was good, although as we queued outside the castle we realised it was wrong. It poured. Much of the audience left before the play began, the combination of cold wind, rain and mud being just too much. The play itself was aimed very much at the children in the audience. They were as much a delight to watch as the play. They became totally engrossed with Wendy, Peter, Tink, Captain Hook and the rest. We left laughing – at the play – at the children – at ourselves for getting so drenched. And one of our group won tickets to go back next year.
Friday 21st July
On 21st July eleven members of U3A theatre group went to see Twelfth Night in Colliers Wood.
We all managed to sit together very close to the stage. The production was put on by ‘Rain or Shine Theatre Company’ A very appropriate name as we sat in the sunshine but just before the interval the Heavens opened and the rain came really heavy.
The play opened with all the cast dancing,singing and playing musical instruments. It was a very lively production and we were all laughing out loud. There were 8 in the cast and it would be difficult to choose a favourite character as they were all brilliant. The cast did not let the rain affect them at all and they were soaked through. At one point Malvolio did say ‘see the sun’ and Adlibbed with ‘I wish’. A thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Friday 7th July
Mansfield Palace Theatre
Oh what a Beautiful evening,
Oh what a Wonderful Show!
From the opening notes of the well-known song to the last cheers at the end of the performance this was an uplifting, colourful and entertaining Show. I knew all the words to the songs but resisted singing along! I did, however, put in a ‘rum-ti-ti-tum-tum’ during People will say we’re in Love in memory of the great Eric and Ernie!
I loved Laurey and Curly and, as required, hated Jud (who was superbly nasty)
I smiled at Ado Annie’s antics and at Aunt Ellie witticisms.
I wanted to dance with both the Farmers and the Cowmen as well as the Cabaret Girls in the Dream Scene.
This was a Great Show put on by a talented Amateur Company – Ripley & Alfreton Musical Theatre Company and I was delighted that I went to see it, again.
I will be first in line for their 2018 Show – Made in Dagenham.
Wednesday 5th July
The Play That Goes Wrong
It was brilliant and the cast were wonderful. I don’t know how they did it without laughing themselves. I really enjoyed it and it was an afternoon of laughs. Brilliant!
Wednesday 31st May
West Side Story
Seventeen of us went to see the Carlton Operatic production of West Side Story at the Theatre Royal. The show was excellent with good performances by all the cast and lovely singing, especially by the main characters.
Fourteen of us ended an enjoyable day with a meal at Bistro Pierre.
Friday 26th May
East is East
East Is East was based on a mixed race family Pakistani and English, set in the 1970s living in Salford.
This family are very turbulent with lots of foul language and domestic violence. For me there was far too much swearing in it, sitting listening to that for 2 hours I did not enjoy it.
The youngest son who had a nervous twitch who was running around the stage in his parker hooded coat got on my nerves, didn’t get that.
I didn’t care for the artwork of the female genitals that were being chucked around the stage. I thought it was “gross”.
I thought we should have seen two real girls playing the parts of the ugly sisters to be married to the two eldest sons. Instead we got a couple of picture frames that we didn’t even see any faces. That was disappointing I was looking forward to seeing them.
I thought Vicky Entwhistle (Corrie actress) played her part well together with her friend the neighbour next door.
This play was sadly not to my taste but I did enjoy the evening out with friends.
Thursday 18th May
Beware! This rock musical is not for the faint hearted. It’s an energetic, powerful, non stop raucous depiction of a Bohemian world involving drugs, sex and the ever present threat of AIDS.
Welcome to a squat in the East Village of New York in the 1990s. The story, which is loosely based on Puccini’s opera La Boheme, centres on the lives and loves of two pals, Mark and Roger and their coterie of artistic friends, all living for the day and struggling to survive.
Mark is a would be film maker who is never apart from his camera and records events in their lives. Maureen, his girlfriend has left him in order to begin a lesbian relationship.
Roger is a song writer who, having discovered that he is HIV positive, is determined to write one great song before he dies. His life regains meaning when he meets Mimi, a club dancer and unknown to him, a drug addict who also has HIV .Through Tom, a gay friend, the group are introduced to Angel, a drag queen who becomes an integral and influential member.
The action commences on Christmas Eve and charts the individual life stories of the group over the next twelve months including an inevitable death.
The clever scaffolding scenery invokes the bleakness of their existence.
This production has a superbly talented cast of singers and dancers. In particular, the performances of the two leading females are exceptional. However, there is no doubt that the star of the show is the brilliant, acrobatic, Layton Williams as Angel.
The only slight criticism is that occasionally some of the lyrics were drowned out by the musicians.
If you’re up for a challenge and want to see something different, this show is not to be missed. If you are of a sensitive nature make sure you have a handkerchief at the ready.
Wednesday 26th April
As The Crow Flies
Heanor Baptist Church
Tom Brownlee delivered an enormous larger than life, crow, full of agility and attitude, forever cocking his head and looking through his beady eyes and sharing centre stage as though he understood everything said. Given the very minimal stage props, 1 table + 2 or 3 boxes, the challenge of portraying an injured bird learning to fly again, by hopping from one to another, was both amusing and scary at the same time. Tim played such a convincing crow that he took me back to my childhood when we had a family jackdaw, so he really had me convinced!
Beth, the central character, was played by Natalia Campbell as a forty something and Imelda Warren-Green as the younger Beth of 20. Natalia portrayed the heartbroken older woman coming to terms with parting from a long term partner. She was able to act out all the emotions of anger, denial, grieve and self pity and left you wondering was she still in love with him or was it the memory of their holiday in paradise which hurt most. Natalia’s delivery was faultless and must have been exhausting, given her holding centre stage throughout the whole of the play.
Imelda showed her musical talent whilst playing the younger Beth. Her voice and guitar playing was reminiscent of Eva Cassidy and she was able to portray the innocence of youth and early love very well.
Each of the 3 actors in this play met the challenge of their characters full on.
This wasn’t a play for everyone, some of the small audience were bored I know, but overall no one could deny the effort put into this production and I think we should tell them WELL DONE.
Friday 21st April
The play started with some videos of disability activists and abuse against disabled people. How little things have changed!
The story is based on Tommy Walker who chose to become deaf, dumb and blind, due to the trauma of seeing his father killed by his mother’s lover. He becomes isolated and is bullied. By highlighting his senses he becomes an expert pinball player and has many followers. When “cured” he starts to engage with the outside world.
The 22 performers where excellent. They acted, sang, danced and played various instruments. The energy and talent of the cast kept the audience fully engaged. The show gave opportunities for disabled performers to excel. Hopefully this will encourage others directors to provide more equal opportunity to the disabled in the performing arts. Subtitles and sign language were brilliantly incorporated into the whole performance. Tommy was very convincing in his role. The singing was incredible, especially the singer for Tommy’s mother, Nora. The band were exceptional. They performed like true rock musicians. A very enjoyable evening ending with a standing ovation.
Saturday 8th April
Di, Viv and Rose
Lace Market Theatre
A small group of us visited the Lace Market theatre to see Di,Viv and Rose – hadn’t a clue what it was about so didn’t know what to expect! As it turned out we were pleasantly surprised!
The play featured three girls from totally different backgrounds house sharing while at university! Getting to know each other while combining living and studying together was absolutely hilarious with a few ‘Anglo Saxon’ words thrown into the mix!!
By the interval we were all in ‘comedy’ mode – so it was quite a shock when,in the second half we heard that Rose was Dead! This came totally out of the blue and a sharp intake of breath from the audience filled the theatre!
However, although down to two actors, the play continued in a more ‘thought provoking’ vein but still with a good deal of comedy!
Friday 31st March
Nottingham Arts Theatre
In the world of Theatre Going what a difference three days make!
As different as The Crucible was to Eddie and the Gold Tops my enjoyment was as great if in a different way.
I booked to see The Crucible simply because I thought it was time for me to see this Classic. I am so glad I did. Classics though, like all performances, depend on the quality of those performing them. The Peoples Theatre Company did this Classic proud. The acting of the entire cast was superb and their projection put many professionals to shame. Add the simplicity of the sets and costumes which were equally well lit and the Theatre’s good acoustics and you have a night to remember. I certainly will!
Tuesday 28th March
Eddie and the Gold Tops
Heanor Baptist Church
A group of twenty of us visited Heanor and the Badapple Theatre group for a very entertaining evening!
Set in the sixties, this comedy, Eddie and the Gold Tops had everything – a story with a ‘beginning’, a ‘middle’ and ‘end’! The total of three actors in the play managed some extremely slick character changes without interrupting the ‘flow’ of the play! They each had wonderful singing voices and as well as singing solo they performed some excellent harmonies!
Everyone enjoyed the show and would definitely watch out for future Badapple Theatre productions.
Thursday 9th March
The Red Shoes
Marvellous, mesmerising and magical are words to describe “The Red Shoes”, a contemporary ballet choreographed and directed by Matthew Bourne and danced at the Nottingham Theatre Royal on Thursday 9 March.
The New Adventures Company put across this adaptation beautifully of a tragic triangular love story that had been written as a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson and later released as a British drama film in 1948.
Also to be praised were the costume designs, the set designs and the music.
Not only was the audience given drama, there was also a delightful choreographed beach scene and also a comical take by 2 dancers of an Egyptian sand dance.
The 6 members of the Eastwood U3A who attended this production were not disappointed.
Saturday 18th February
Beauty & the Beast
A very enjoyable and fun family evening was spent at Kimberley seeing the panto Beauty and the Beast by the Nomads Company. It had an excellent cast, lots of jokes, dancing and singing, an outstanding performance by The Beast, played by Danny De Martino, who sang The Music of the Night. It had something for everyone. A real family show. Congratulations to all the cast and production team. We look forward to their next production.
Friday 17th February
Several members who attended the first night of ‘Touched’ at the Nottingham Playhouse were looking forward to seeing local ‘actors made good’: Vicky McClure, Aisling Loftus and Chloe Harris – all products of the Nottingham Television Workshop.
On the plus side, the scenery evoked the era, and it was good to hear authentic local accents talking about places we could recognise. However, it was difficult to hear what was being said most of the time as the voice projection needed for live theatre was lacking.
Did the title ‘Touched’ refer to the leading character, Sandra (Vicky McClure) slowly losing her grip on reality, or that she had been ‘touched’ by a ‘dirty old bugger’ or an ‘Eye-tie’ from the POW camp? Did the cups and saucers and white table cloth signify normality? It was difficult to understand, but the cups and saucers had more dialogue than the actors in some scenes, and they certainly stole the show.
Wednesday 25th January
What could be better than spending a winter afternoon sitting in the Theatre Royal watching Sunny Afternoon!! A show taking you through the highs and lows from the humble beginnings to the rise to fame of the Kinks, who helped to change the sound of modern music in the 60’s. There was lots of action, including swinging from a chandelier and the rivalry of the brothers Dave and Ray Davis; and of course plenty of great music. Fabulous.