Happy New Year everyone. I trust that, like me, you’ve all sworn to be better this year and to abjure strong drink and loose women. No? Maybe the Psychiatrist is right. Detox can be such a pain though. But enough of that. Welcome to the first Newsletter of 2006.
Once again, we are able to look back on a successful Christmas show. Most of you will have seen or indeed performed in John and Brenda’s masterpiece as Sherlock followed that sleigh to the North Pole and back. The show played to appreciative audiences on four consecutive nights and sold out a matinee into the bargain! My evil plan may have been foiled this time - but as Christopher Lee used to say as another enigmatic Victorian villain, “The World shall hear from me again! Mwhahhaahhahh!”
Pam Dawson’s production of this Noel Coward classic is now in rehearsal and is scheduled to go ahead 23 - 25 March at the Memorial Hall. Tickets will cost the usual £8 (£6 concession) for Friday and Saturday, but in something of an experimental marketing ploy, will cost only £6 (£4 concession) for the opening night, Thursday.
A talented cast and an energetic technical crew have been brought together to bring this wonderful play to life. Who knows, maybe we can give Dame Judi a few pointers before she opens on the South Bank!
Judith Bliss - Grand Dame of the Theatre (retired - for the moment) - Imogen Roberts
David Bliss - her husband, a well-known author - Jeff Prestedge
Simon Bliss - their son, a would-be-artist - Scott Billing
Sorel Bliss - their daughter, an “It” Girl, bent on “improving” herself - Patricia Choffel
Clara – Cook, Maid, Doorman and Baggage handler – Sarah Hooker (go for it, girl!)
Myra Arundel - a potential rival for Judith, in more ways than one - Liz Lewis
Richard Greatham - a distinguished Diplomatist - Iain King
Jackie Coryton - a Flapper out of her element - Marie Fuller
Sandy Tyrell - a Young admirer - William Lovett
For those of you unfamiliar with the play, the story revolves around the highly unusual and shamelessly Bohemian Bliss family, who have each invited a guest down to their country house for the weekend - unknown to each other. Typically Coward-like: Pacy, Wordy and very Witty.
We welcome new member William Lovett, who will be making his debut as the hapless Sandy, and hope it will the first of many roles.
Murder Mystery III
Plans are afoot (no offence Inspector!) for another fun-packed evening - but in the meantime you’ll have to put up with this! Following on from the success of “The Curse of the Willoughby Diamond” and “The Final Act”, we intend to stage another Murder Mystery Evening on May 20th this year. I have persuaded another debutante, Claudia Aliffe, to direct an, as yet, unchosen play. As with last year’s offering, there may be a possibility of taking this one “on the road” and we are looking into it. Watch this space for details.
Now that stocks have been exhausted of the old BP sweatshirts, new designs and colours are being investigated by Sarah, so it could soon be time to update your wardrobe. Details to follow when available, but if you have any ideas for colours, styles etc., or know of a potential source, please let her know.
Patricia is organising a trip to see “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” at Watford Palace Theatre on February 25. Tickets will cost £17. Contact her a.s.a.p. if you want to come along.
As mentioned rather obliquely above, Judi Dench will be appearing in Hay Fever at the National Theatre later this year. Iain is looking into organising a group outing. Details available as and when. (Actually, rumour has it that we’re offering her a reciprocal deal - we’ll all come and see you if you come and see us!)
The committee is also looking into other ideas like a group night out the new Rex Cinema in Berkhamsted ( nice bar! ) and the possibility of resurrecting the “Club Night” of ancient legend, should some hero wish to take on the organisation. If you would like to see either King Kong (Sunday 12th February) or March of the Penguins (Sunday 19th February) please contact Penny on email@example.com or on 01442 874530 for details.
As a committee with the best interests of its membership at heart - and craving for strong drink - we will consider most reasonable suggestions for social trips. So if you have an idea, contact us.
At the moment we still have no volunteers to direct the October, February or Festival productions. It has been fantastic over the last 12-18 months to know what is coming up, and has really helped the group’s momentum. If people are worried about the relatively short time after the Summer hols for the October play (thought there’s no rule against rehearsing in July & August), then we would certainly consider something a bit lower-key, such as a revue or short play.
Brenda and Penny have a lot of photos of Sherlock between them. Let them know if you’d like to take a look. The wonderful Adrian has put up some of them on the website, but there are plenty of shows with no photos, such as Steel Magnolias (which I know has some photos as I’ve seen them) and the Murder Mysteries. Please contact Adrian if you’ve got some to share.
Well that’s all I have for this month, so as my great hero and role model Obi Wan Kenobi would say, May the Force be with you.