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gabbs

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  1. Theatre reviewer, Polly, reviews Move Over Mrs Markham “The very mention of the name Ray Cooney brings a smile to the face of anyone who has any experience of theatre. It was with such expectation that we took our seats at the Nomad Theatre on Thursday evening. We were not disappointed. The opening musical theme prepared us for what was to come. The curtain rose on a wonderful set which evoked the period to a T. The ubiquitous Tretchikoff’s “Green Lady” the “Picasso” etc, sealed the moment in British fashion. The attention to detail in all Nomad sets is something to be very proud of. It gives all the shows a feeling of professionalism and this set was “out there” with the best, It was detailed and beautifully observed. The story of the very average couple whose flat becomes the focus of an hilarious tangle of events is laid out in the first act. The opening moments were, almost of necessity, a little slow and in no way prepared us for the absolute mayhem of what was to come in Act 2!! We first met Mrs Markham (Nikky Kirkup) who was wearing a very snug fitting dress. She gave us a well drawn character of a very reasonable, supportive wife who was leading a very quiet,”normal” and blameless life. Her husband (Matt Weaver) was the very essence of the hard working, committed, slightly boring “grey man” or was it perhaps John Major making a surprise visit? Together they presented the face of an ordered married life. Fortunately for us, their employees, in the shape of the Interior Designer, the maid and their friends, were less ordered. Nathan Farrell as Alistair Spenlow was excellent His presentation of a slightly camp but “up for it any time with any lady” was hilarious and very nicely balanced. His entry in a tangle of curtain fabric seemed like a metaphor for what was to come. I think this is the very best performance I have ever seen from Nathan. His interaction with the lovely Sylvie (Emily Tietz) was delightful. Together they created some very funny moments and some moments of the nearest thing to true romance that we got in the play. She was particularly effective in Act 2, appearing as she did, in a very pretty lemon ‘shortie’ nightie. Just the kind of lady for an Interior Designer, attractive in every way. Vykky Mash as Linda Lodge was a delight. Her frothy and giggly, ‘teetering on high heels’ sort of character was beautifully sustained. (I once knew a young student just like that.) She kept me giggling with every appearance. Her interplay with Mrs Markham was always excellently fluent, well projected and fluent. They played well against one another. Always believable and clear. Linda’s husband, Henry Lodge (Simon Openshaw) cut a very urbane figure in his elegant blazer. He presented the very epitome of the ‘English chappie’; who likes a ‘bit of fun’ and fun he had galore. His delighting in ‘entertaining’ ladies served as a wonderful foil to his more sober partner, Philip Markham. Simon sustained this role with absolute conviction and confidence throughout. An excellent portrait of one of the key characters. We had to wait until Act two to meet the other three characters. Olive Harriet Smythe was wonderfully well portrayed by Judy Abbott. This was a sensitively thought out character, played with absolute confidence and commitment. It was fortunate that she was such a very talented actor because her character was the pivot on which everything in Act 2 relied. I think we have all read about characters such as this, but it was wonderful to “meet” the real thing. It is a pity that the script did not allow us a moment with any of her canine friends. What fun that would have been! We learn in Act one that Linda was trying to wreak revenge on her straying husband by having a little ‘dalliance’ with Walter Pangbourne, (Iain MacFarlane). This sober, well at least for his first entry, gentleman, complete with bowler hat, rolled umbrella and bunch of flowers contributed wonderfully to the whole chaos of the second act. He seemed unphased by anything that was thrown at him even having to adjourn to the office below the flat for his bit of “slap and tickle “ with Linda. This was a smallish role, but he created a real, comic character with every entrance and utterance. That leaves us with Miss Wilkinson (Samantha Potten). Her first entry wearing rather forbidding glasses gave no hint of the lithe and foxy lady she became once the glasses were off. Again this was almost nothing much more that a cameo role but she made a most wonderful job of it. Her discreet but suggestive Helen Mirren-like strip was beautifully and bravely handled. She added considerably to the comic progress of the piece and her clear diction and projection ensured that her performance was well noted. This was a wonderfully funny piece of excellent ensemble playing. There were some very glorious moments of comic “business”. The bra strap being entangled in Philip Markham’s wrist, for example as he tried to thread the black bra through the louvered bedroom door, and the scene where “goosing’” was explained, were side-splittigly funny. As with the whole piece, the timing was first rate and the music and the lighting did their bit in creating the whole performance. Farce is a hugely difficult format, but here is was, flowing along with consummate ease. This is a slightly dated piece in the sense that it deals in a rather non-PC way with the issue of homosexuality. Although is was very well done, it did make me feel a little uncomfortable and was a sad echo of the kind of view that was common when the play was written. I can only hope that any gay members of the audience felt we were laughing with them rather than at them. That said, this was a really excellent evening’s entertainment and it was gratifying to find the house almost full of appreciative and enthusiastic audience members. One slight criticism. I felt a second curtain call was called for. This was a great performance and the level of enthusiastic and appreciative applause really demanded a second appearance of the cast so that we could say ‘thank you’ properly. As a company, you give huge amounts of your time to such productions and we, your audience, would love to show our warm appreciation.” Polly The post Move Over Mrs Markham – Polly reviews appeared first on Nomad Theatre.
  2. Saturday 14th October Tickets – Adults £12, Children/Students £10 A fascinating drama about various people’s eating disorders, their lives, loves, hates and experiences. Brought together by a common denominator, all with different coping strategies, the play journeys from the past, to living in the present and how they all endeavour to show the world through humour, strength and resolve how to move forward to the future. This play gives a true and accurate insight into the minds and behaviours of different eating disorder sufferers, as it has been co-written by real life sufferers about their experiences and their road to recovery. The post Eat Me – presented by Matrix Theatre appeared first on Nomad Theatre.
  3. The Memory of Water by Shelagh Stephenson The realistic, well observed and detailed set prepared us for an equally forensic examination of the lives and attitudes of the three daughters. Teresa, the oldest (Moyra Brookes) quickly established the character of the dutiful daughter relied upon by the two others to take on the responsibilities of caring for the ageing and latterly, hospitalised mum. Her obsession with all things natural and organic is quickly established as is her irritation with and scorn for her siblings. Moyra Brookes played with great consistency, the very set of her head declared her supremacy among the sisters. The head gradually lowered as she lost her composure completely when finally tempted by both a spliff and a quantity of whisky. Her acid turn of phrase reached its most bitter as she revealed her “clever’ sister’s teenage pregnancy. The performance was sustained and developed throughout. It was a well observed and entirely credible characterisation. Although the butt of some of the comic moments she conveyed the frustration of many a sister who finds herself “in charge” of the older parents. Her portrayal of the woman unused to much liquor becoming slowly more and more drunk was excellent and totally convincing. This is very difficult to achieve on stage but she was entirely convincing and funny and tragic at the same time. The crumbling of the family cornerstone, as she saw herself, was very poignant. In the opening moments of the play we also met Mary. She is revealed as an overcommitted and exhausted doctor trying to sleep off the last shift. Played by Sarah Mullins, this character was perhaps the most sober, unsmiling of all. Her obsession with one patient’s welfare impinged even upon her personal life, but there was a darker side to Mary as we learnt later. Her sharp reposts and unsmiling expression carried through most of the play, but the revelation of the real tragedy came much later. Its announcement by Teresa was cruel and unvarnished. Later, however, Teresa revealed the caring and more tender side of her nature as she told Mary of the hidden tragedy. An explanation perhaps, for her taking on the responsibility of her mother’s wellbeing. The third sister was the whirlwind of a character, Catherine, played by Helen Dixon. She was the peripheral figure of the family as far as she was concerned and slightly written off by the other two sisters. The role was played with huge energy and variety which was well sustained throughout. Her mercurial change of mood, her inventions of half truths were both the tragedy and the comedy of her life. Her plea to be understood and loved was a real crie de coeur, but laughed at by us probably because there is a bit of Catherine in us all The three sisters vie with varying degrees of vehemence for the “starring role” in all the half remembered family sagas of childhood. The one thing they seem to agree on is that Mary was the favoured child, the one whose cleverness had to be protected and cosseted and who ultimately became a doctor. The one thing that the daughters share is a disappointment in their relationships with men. Theresa has the most stable partnership with Frank. He is the one she depends on for everything. He is her second husband and she chose him via a dating agency. Frank (Murray Stephen) portrayed the tolerant and long suffering Frank with commitment and consistency. He physically dominated the stage which was fortuitous given the character he played. His head was hung a little low so we rarely got a full face which was a shame. He did however, play the comic moments with great success and prompted lots of laughter. Even when finally standing up for himself he inspired laughter that rocked the studio. Mike (Mike Ayres) made a hugely comic entry through the window. A doctor having a long term affair with Mary, he came across as an affable and easy going even affectionate partner. He contributed well to the comedy, but ultimately he too made a considerable contribution to Mary’s sense of hopelessness. Essentially the most privileged of the sisters, she suffers the greatest sense of disappointment with life at the hands of the easygoing Mike. Off stage as it were, there is Xavier, commonly referred to as Pepe much to the annoyance of Catherine. Xavier is Catherine’s Spanish “boyfriend” but he too finally fails the ultimate test and abandons Catherine, in a brief telephone conversion. I have left consideration of the character of the ghost of mother Vi (Elaine Burns) until last, because in many ways she is the most important character in the play. She visits Mary because as she says ‘I look at you and I see myself’ and gives the mother’s point of view. It was played with great clarity and sympathy and was the “glue” that held the story and indeed the production together. The playing was very engaging and totally convincing. The fact that we could “see the ghost” didn’t in any way upset one’s suspension of disbelief. Her interpretation gave stability and credence to the comedy. The interplay and ensemble playing was of a very high standard indeed. there were no weak moments and the comedy flowed almost until the end. There was a momentary touch of farce as Mike’s bright cerise bath towel towel slipped almost revealing all. It was well timed whether it was deliberate or not, we shall never know. However it added to the momentary revelations of flesh that were an integral part of the “family” at ease. There were many moments of high comedy. Too many to identify in detail, but Catherine seeking comfort from Frank as he lay exhausted on the bed and the sisters trying on their mother’s old clothes will remain in the memory for some time. Both scenes were highly comic and served to enhance the poignancy off the situation. The costuming and set were, as always with Nomad productions, absolutely perfect. Sound and lighting, suitably discreet, gave a delicate touch of icing on the cake. There is nothing “Am Dram” about this team. Polly 6 July 2017 The post The Memory of Water – Polly reviews appeared first on Nomad Theatre.
  4. Oklahoma – Lola reviews

    Local theatre reviewer, Lola, reviews Oklahoma! “Bookham Light Opera Society chose wisely in offering Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first musical collaboration for their Nomad theatre production this year. With plenty of well known songs and opportunity for lively dances they were surely on to a winner. The well organised set, together with the effective lighting and well designed costumes effectively established the scene of 1906 Oklahoma. The musicians led by James ‘Mr Music’ Marr underpinned the action perfectly and must take their share of the credit for an engaging production. The casting was spot on, Melanie Kemp portrayed Laurey as both strong minded and vulnerable when the characterisation required it. Her singing raised the quality of the production. Michael Ayres‘ Curly was an interesting mixture of introspection and confidence in particular at the social where he shows his determination to win Laurey’s affections. I was much taken by John Beavis’ Jud. Slow and menacing, he is in contrast to the the more romantic things going on around him. John carried off the role wonderfully well. Joanne Silcox as Aunt Eller and Vykki Mash as Gertie both looked to be enjoying their roles as did Julian Warner-Edney (Will), and Colin Barnard (the ranch owner), and added to the gaiety of the show by the exuberance of their singing and dancing. A word for the ‘dream’ ballet sequence, Matt Gardner and Laura Thomson showed dancing ability and poise not always seen at the Nomad theatre. Richard Peachey again showed his gift for comedy in his portrayal of Ali Hakim whilst Sophie Johnstone almost stole the show with the consistentcy of energy and vigour in her scenes. There are several set pieces in Oklahoma! that drive the story along: the principals have their songs, the dances are important to the entertainment and the plot must of course be made clear to the audience. Yet the running time of over two and a half hours was a tad long, maybe some judicious cutting might have been made without diminishing the enjoyment of the story. Overall a competent production with fine singing and movement. I cannot finish this review without a word for Sid Dolbear‘s magnificent ‘tache which almost acted his eyebrows off the stage!” Lola Oklahoma! by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II In association with Bookham Light Operatic Society Facebook Link Directed by Jackie Shearer See more reviews here: Review pages The post Oklahoma – Lola reviews appeared first on Nomad Theatre.
  5. When Love Grows Old

    Close Quarter Productions, John B Hobbs and Theatre Reviva! in association with The Nomads present: When Love Grows Old The hit comedy double-bill direct from the Brighton Festival Fringe. The event is a short double-bill, directed by Theatre Reviva! Artistic Director, Graham Pountney with Highly Recommended and 4-Star reviews. ‘The Romance of the Century’ features the most glamorous couple in the world, whose love story caused a national crisis. ‘The Weatherman’ – two old friends reflect on love and friendship, and try to remember someone’s name… Buy tickets online now! It’s direct from the Brighton Fringe Festival for 2 performances only on Friday June 9th and Saturday June 10th. There’s also a Question and Answer session with the Author and the Director right after each show, included in the ticket price! The post When Love Grows Old appeared first on Nomad Theatre.
  6. Happiness by Paul Matthews

    The play is set over three summer days in July and is bookended by a funeral and a wedding. Or is it? Will the wedding take place? Over the course of two hours the central character Philippa Farnsworth goes through several emotions as she reflects on what will bring her the best chance of future happiness. Suzanna Walters as Philippa played her role with adroitness and expertly moved through a range of difficult emotions as her character struggled to understand and accept that her future might be happier with Simon than with Christopher. As her fiance Christopher, Matthew Weaver convincingly showed us a brittle character who had concerns of his own which possibly prevented him from being able to provide the happiness which Philippa wanted. Kenny Menet-Hawkins was perhaps a little young for the portrayal of Simon but nonetheless played his part in showing us–and Philippa–that he was the better bet for a happier marriage than the self obsessed Christopher. The play is a mixture of serious moments mixed with elements of farce (including the staple of a middle aged man losing his trousers !), and the cast, under the capable direction of Tracey Gillard, handled the switches from comedy back to seriousness with some alacrity. As Florence Merry, a woman with her own regrets, Moyra Brookes excelled and acted with the panache and style Nomads have come to expect from her. Hayley Clines as Martha played the part with enthusiasm and clearly thoroughly enjoyed playing the role of the faithful research assistant. Light relief came in the form of Iain MacFarlane’s uncle Brian. Blustering and overly jovial the underlying warmth came through his (at times), Aussie larrikin tactlessness. Emily Ingold was a delight as Christopher’s sister Louise, playing the would-be maneater with great relish. The Nomads put the show on in the intimate space of The Studio. There is great scope for interesting theatre here that might not attract large audiences in the main house. It is to be hoped we see more shows here in the future. Lola The post Happiness by Paul Matthews appeared first on Nomad Theatre.
  7. The Golden Pathway

    24-28 October at 7.45 Presented by Theatreviva this a spoof on the famous five stories. Adults will play the parts of children. The post The Golden Pathway appeared first on Nomad Theatre.
  8. Once Upon a Labrador

    Friday 2 June at 7.30 Tickets: £10 An evening of humour with Charles Garland and Alfie. This is a fundraising event for the new Greenroom building. Recorded cameo music by Rick Wakeman, with occasional extracts from the book “My Labrador Eats Poo”. Directed by Sam Snape Charles Garland is a writer and composer, television producer and director. His performing career began at Birmingham Repertory Theatre as a dancer in a musical, and ended at The Old Vic Theatre as actor / musician in a production of Dickens’ Great Expectations. Soon after, Charles joined the BBC, as assistant to Sir Jonathan Miller for a new production of Cosi Fan Tutte. Following that, he worked on shows such as Blue Peter; three Royal Variety shows; sketch and variety shows, including The Paul Daniels Magic Show as well as dramas and a stint as director of Top Of The Pops. Sitcom became a major part of his working life, with Terry and June; Joint Account; and Last Of The Summer Wine as assistant producer, and assisting David Croft OBE, on Hi-De-Hi!; ‘Allo ‘Allo! ;You Rang, M’Lord? and Oh, Dr Beeching! as producer. Next, over a three year period, Charles re-edited most of the classic comedy archive for the BBC, including Dad’s Army; Are You Being Served?; Steptoe and Son; Porridge; The Good Life and more. Having left the BBC, Charles is now freelance, and going back to his roots with his book of ‘whimsical verse’ entitled ‘My Labrador Eats Poo’ (not quite as disgusting as it sounds) illustrated by Harry Venning, and this stage show, which features Charles, and his Labrador Alfie. Follow Alfie on Facebook and Twitter! The post Once Upon a Labrador appeared first on Nomad Theatre.
  9. Dick Whittington Auditions

    Audition dates coming soon! Dick Whittington – By Peter Denyer December 12 – 16 including a Saturday matinee We need dancers / singers / actors – small parts and principals, as well as a Musical Director and Choreographer. Get in touch with Artistic Director, Andrew Hamel-Cooke now to express your interest – and2hc@gmail.com Cast list Principals King Rat Dick Whittington – principal boy Idle Jack Sarah the Cook – Dame Alice Fitzwarren – principal girl Fairy Bow Bells Tommy the cat – non speaking Alderman Fitzwarren Captain Cuttle The Sultan of Morocco Smaller roles King Neptune – optional Gnawbone – a rat lieutenant Gnashfang – another rat lieutenant Sailor 1 Sailor 2 The post Dick Whittington Auditions appeared first on Nomad Theatre.
  10. Charley’s Aunt Auditions

    Directed by Andrew Hamel-Cooke Wednesday 15 to Saturday 18 November at 7.45, matinee on Saturday at 2.30 Auditions for males, 20-30 playing age are still open! Contact Andrew by email: and2hc@gmail.com A comedy by Brandon Thomas set in Oxford in 1882, this English farce follows the hilarious events that arise when two students, Jack and Charles, use the excuse of the imminent visit of Charley’s aunt Donna Lucia to invite their young ladies to their rooms. The post Charley’s Aunt Auditions appeared first on Nomad Theatre.
  11. Ember Big Band

    Saturday 9th September at 8pm Tickets: £15 Come and hear the big band sound The Ember Big Band is a not-for-profit line-up of 23 talented musicians that made its debut in March 2015. It performs at major events throughout Elmbridge (and often way beyond – the Eastbourne Air Show is on the cards for August). Past gigs have included sell-out Christmas concerts, regattas, Thames Heritage days, a Rat Pack dinner dance at Whiteley Village and a special `command performance` for the Mayor of Elmbridge`s nominated charities for 2017. Our line-up of 23 musicians (plus talented singers) perform numbers in styles and tempos ranging from the Great American Songbook to swing, Latin, funk and rock. The band is conducted by Bill Geldard, one of the UK`s best known trombonists and arrangers. Since turning professional at the age of fifteen he has played with some of Britain`s most famous orchestras and musicians including The Squadronaires, Geraldo, Ted Heath, John Dankworth and Jack Parnell. Ask him about the high spots of his career and there is a modest pause (probably because there are too many to mention). Then he recalls touring with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Liza Minelli and Sammy Davis Jnr; having a solo specially written for him by Sinatra`s arranger, Nelson Riddle; performing with Henry Mancini at “The Pink Panther” premiere in Switzerland; playing on the sound track of the first Bond film, “Dr. No” – and on the signature tune of ITVs hit 70s TV series “Minder”. Bill says: “Ember is an amateur band – but we take a professional approach to everything we do. There`s a difference between being `amateur` and `amateurish`. We`ve got a cracking programme lined up for the Nomad Theatre – and are confident of a great audience.” Ember Big Band Publicity Officer is Nick Handel 020-8398-2789. 07742-139004. The post Ember Big Band appeared first on Nomad Theatre.
  12. Nomes Youth Theatre Summer Show in a Week Monday 31 July to Friday 4 August for ages 8 to 17 Daily classes culminating in a show on Friday 10.30 to 3pm each day £145 Summer Storytelling 31 July to 4 August 10 to 11 am each day for 4 to 7 year olds £35 see www.nomesyouththeatre.co.uk for latest information The post Nomes Youth Theatre Summer School appeared first on Nomad Theatre.
  13. Presented by Andrew Brewis, starring Giles Shenton Directed by Simon Dowling Saturday 22 April at 3pm and 7.30 Tickets: £12 This one-man comedy play ‘My Dog’s Got No Nose’, by Ron Aldridge, takes us on a journey through the events surrounding a stand-up comedian’s first ever public performance. Stand-up comedy, unrequited love, animal lovers, facts of life, sibling rivalries and mercy-killing are just some of the elements covered in this very funny and bitter-sweet story, as we discover that both the man and the ‘performance’ are not quite what they seem. This ‘debut’ is the fulfilment of a lifelong dream and illustrates perfectly the old adage, “be careful what you wish for!” “Bitter-sweet, very funny, sometimes poignant, often hilarious!” “This evening will leave you laughing and crying at the same time!” “It was so good my husband didn’t fall asleep!” The post My Dog’s Got No Nose by Ron Aldridge appeared first on Nomad Theatre.
  14. The Sound of His Music

    The music of Richard Rodgers presented by Andrew Brewis Saturday 6 May at 3pm and 7.30 Tickets: £14 A celebration of some of the greatest songs ever written. Featuring Chris Read and Jess Radcliffe, supported by a live band! Come and hear songs from Carousel, The King and I, The Sound Of Music, My Favourite Things, Pal Joey and more … ‘Something Good’, ‘The Lady Is A Tramp’, ‘Have You Met Miss Jones’… the list goes on. Richard Rodgers was an American composer of music for more than 900 songs and for 43 Broadway musicals. He also composed music for films and television. He is best known for his songwriting partnerships with the lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II. His compositions have had a significant impact on popular music up to the present day, and have an enduring broad appeal. The post The Sound of His Music appeared first on Nomad Theatre.
  15. directed by Rachel Scott and Francesca Peplow Friday 30 June at 7.30, Saturday 1 July at 2.30 and 7.30, Sunday 2 July at 2.30 tickets adults £10, children £7 All the Nomes groups join together to present a selection of drama and singing from a variety of popular musicals. The post Nomes Youth Theatre presents Musical Mayhem appeared first on Nomad Theatre.

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