Community Theatre group The Phoenix Players have unveiled their annual traditional panotmime for 2017: Puss In Boots.
The performances are scheduled to take place between February 22nd and 26th nightly at 7:30pm, with a Saturday and Sunday matinée at 2:30pm.
Always popular, the pantomimes are known for their traditional format and encouragement for audience participation.
The show is to be staged at Trinity Church Theatre on Albert Road, just inside Francis Avenue. Tickets are available online. Link below.
South Downe Stage School are on the look out for new members aged between 8 and 18 years old with a passion for musical theatre. It's a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills and perform in a variety of high quality shows.
The company do not audition new members, so all you have to do is attend a rehearsal and meet the members plus the rest of the team. Recent shows from South Downe Stage School have included Beauty and the Beast Jr; Guys and Dolls Jr and, most recently, 26 Musical Moments: a showcase of musicals from classic to modern.
Discussions are currently being held for the next production but you can be sure it will be a fun show to be part of. If potential new members would like more information, an email address is monitored by the company: firstname.lastname@example.org. They also have a Facebook page which can be visited for more information, which we have linked to below.
South Downe Stage School rehearse every Friday evening from 6pm - 8pm at The Cowplain School. Why not give it a go? We look forward to bringing you more news of their future productions.
Tonight is the opening night for Hayling Musical Society's latest production, 'Lend Me A Tenor'. The show follows their recent successful shows Sweeney Todd and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Staged at the Hayling Island Community Centre until Saturday, the company are also offering a two-course pre-show meal for those interested from 6:30pm for just £10 per person. You can book this in advance on the company website.
The show itself is an uproarious new musical comedy by Peter Sham and Brad Carroll. Hayling Musical Society describe it as a "riotous, unpredictable explosion of mistaken identities and unexpected romance – based on the award-winning West End and Broadway hit comedy by Ken Ludwig."
"It’s 1934, and the world’s greatest tenor Tito Merelli has come to Cleveland, Ohio, to save its Grand Opera Company by singing Otello. When he is unexpectedly incapacitated, Max, the Opera Director’s meek assistant, is given the daunting task of finding a last-minute replacement. Chaos ensues – including a scheming soprano, a tenor-struck ingénue, a jealous wife and the Cleveland Police department."
"Lend Me A Tenor The Musical was originally produced by the Utah Shakespearean Festival; Fred C. Adams, Founder; R. Scott Phillips, Festival Director. It had its first UK production in September 2010 at The Theatre Royal Plymouth before transferring to the Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End."
The musical is on nightly from 7:30pm until Saturday. Tickets can be booked online at the Hayling Musical Website, for which we have included a link below. The production is directed by Tony Dart.
The Bench Theatre Company, who recently performed 'Habeas Corpus', return this week with Emma Reeve's adaptation of classic story 'Anne of Green Gables'.
Originally written by Lucy Maud Montgomery, the tale follows siblings who request the assistance of an orphan boy to help them at their farm. However, instead of the boy they requested they end up with Anne - a red-haired chatterbox surrounded by chaos!
Described as a "classic tale of laughter, tears and love" it is sure to be a heart-warming night of theatre.
The play runs for two weeks and opens this Thursday 17th November at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre in Havant. Opening night has a buy one get one free offer which is still running. The production runs on selected nights until Saturday 26th November, with a matinée performance on Saturday 19th.
All tickets are less than £10 across the run.
Advance booking is highly advised for this classic.
Based on historic events, Made in Dagenham’s rousing score and witty script tells the important story of the female machinists of Ford Dagenham, who campaigned for equal pay for women in the 1960s.
As usual, South Downe Musical Society excelled with outstanding vocals, particularly during the chorus numbers, and the orchestra, led ably by Alan Pring, was note perfect throughout. Songs that stood out included the energetic “This is America”; “Everybody out” and the stirring finale “Stand up”.
Helen Stoddart is a triumph as gutsy Rita, commanding the stage, and Matt Sackman gave a genuine portrayal of the lovable dolt of a husband, Eddie. Moments between them brought me to tears, especially during Eddie’s beautifully passionate solo “The letter” in the second half. Rita and Eddie’s children Sharon and Graham were capably played by the two youngest cast members, Ruby Cunningham and Ethan Bailey.
The musical featured an exceptionally strong supporting cast, particularly from Rita’s fellow Ford workers/campaigners whose individual characters were charming and clearly defined. Sue Rourke breathed life into the fiery historic figure Barbara Castle and Alan Jenkins prompted giggles from the audience for his often comic turn as Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Jane Pegler also impressed as Connie, she delivered a subtle and sincere performance.
A real strength of the show was direction of the relationships within it: highlights included the often strained relationships between husbands and wives and the solidarity and genuine warmth between the female characters in the cast, as well as between men and women during a time when women were considered unequal of ambition and fair wages.
Unfortunately, a few lines of dialogue in the early scenes were lost due to quiet microphones and the speed at which they were delivered. However this was a tiny part of what was, overall, an incredibly funny and moving piece of theatre.
A most enjoyable evening, I was brought to laughter, cheers and tears in equal measure and have been prompted to research the real events that inspired the musical, an important piece of equal rights history– catch it tonight or Saturday matinée or evening!
Made in Dagenham is showing at The Kings Theatre, Southsea. Tickets available via the theatre box office.
Motorists heading into the city of Portsmouth tonight should note traffic may be heavier than usual due to the Gunwharf Fireworks.
It may affect you if you are travelling into the city to see the opening night of 'Made in Dagenham' or tonight's performance of 'Playhouse Creatures', so you may need to anticipate a slightly longer journey time.
Gunwharf Quays say they are anticipating a high turnout at the fireworks event, which has been exceptionally well attended in previous years. It starts from 6:30pm but roads are likely to be affected either side of this time, particularly as the car parks near the centre begin to fill up.
Those attending the fireworks are advised to use the Park and Ride service, which has buses departing at exceptionally regular intervals this evening (as often as once every 5 minutes).
South Downe Musical Society open their production of 'Made In Dagenham' this evening, following months of rehearsals and preparation. The company present strong musical productions and this follows their runaway success 'Legally Blonde: The Musical' at the venue last year. Their production is staged at The Kings Theatre from 7:30pm. Tickets are available from the theatre box office.
Meanwhile, Adroit Theatre Company present their second night of 'Playhouse Creatures', following an exceptionally positive opening night with lots of strong acclaim from the audience in attendance. They open at 7:30pm at the Minghella Studio within the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth.
Outside of Portsmouth city, the Southsea Shakespeare Actors continue their run of 'As You Like It' at the Hayling Island Station Theatre.
Let us know if you have any traffic problems this evening getting to the shows. We'll be keeping our Twitter feed updated as much as possible: @PortsTheatre.
The Southsea Shakespeare Actors tonight open their production of 'As You Like It', transporting the audience into the swinging sixties for their version of Shakespeare's classic comedy.
In the show, staged at the Station Theatre, Hayling Island, main characters, Rosalind and Orlando, are leaving tradition, rules and tyrannical relatives behind to look for freedom, peace and - most importantly - love in the Forest of Arden.
As the company state in their description of the piece: "Turn on, tune in, drop out and join us in the Summer of Love for one of Shakespeare's most popular pastoral comedies, featuring a host of fantastic characters; an almost magical forest; a soundtrack straight out of Woodstock and much, much more..."
I guess we'll have to wait and see why the forest is "almost" magical!
Directed by Ellen Giddey and Paula Bartlett, and featuring Amy Barlow, Andy Perez and Rob Bartlett in the principal cast, the play is highly recommended and advance booking is strongly advised to avoid disappointment this week.
'As You Like It' runs nightly from tonight until the 12th November 2016, with all performances beginning at 7:30pm. It should be noted there is no matinée performance for this play. Link to the online box office below.
Members of cast from the forthcoming production of 'Made In Dagenham' are in Cascades Shopping Centre today promoting the show, which opens next week.
'Made In Dagenham', which ran professionally on the West End in 2014, is being staged at The Kings Theatre from Thursday 10th until Saturday 12th November by South Downe Musical Society (SDMS).
By heading down to Cascades Shopping Centre today, you can meet members of the cast and also purchase tickets at a discounted rate directly from them.
The cast are scheduled to be there between 11am and 1pm. The offer is only valid for this time.
If you can't make it down to the shopping centre online booking is still available from The Kings Theatre website.
'Made in Dagenham' comes highly recommend - the show follows a strong back-catalogue of high quality and acclaimed productions from the company.
Nightly performances begin at 7:30pm and there is a matinée performance at 2:30pm on the Saturday.
This week Fareham Musical Society are performing Agatha Christie's 'Murder On The Nile' at Ferneham Hall. This production follows the success of 'And Then There Were None', another Christie performed last year by the company, and is the first time it has been seen at the theatre.
"On board a steamer, cruising under the scorching Egyptian sun, honeymooners Simon Mostyn and his wealthy socialite wife Kay find themselves being pursued by an old flame of the newly wedded groom. Tragedy strikes and a body is discovered, all fingers point to Simon’s ex-fiancée. However, everything is not what it seems and holidaying cleric Canon Pennefather is drawn into a web of intrigue and deceit as he finds himself on the trail of a ruthless murderer."
Sure to be an interesting and entertaining show, the production runs nightly until Saturday 5th November, with a matinée on Saturday afternoon at 2:30pm. Tickets are available from the Ferneham Hall box office. We've included a link to online booking below.
Lionel Bart's runaway success story Oliver! hits the stage in Southsea's Kings Theatre this week, in Portsmouth Players superbly slick and professional production. Premiering in London's West End in 1960, Oliver! has wowed audiences for decades, enjoying countless revivals along the way. This in fact also marks Portsmouth Player's fourth production of the show since 1985.
Technically, the show was visually and audibly delicious. Atmospheric lighting design by Alex Musgrave brought the dingy pestilence of early 19th century London to life, while the orchestra, expertly led by Musical Director Darren Alderton, delivered superbly crisp music at every stage, with the string section being of particular note.
As to be expected, opening night was not without its teething problems. Actors occasionally failed to hit their light, set pieces were at times uncooperative, and the odd musical cue was missed, albeit professionally recovered and relatively unnoticed. The biggest problem with this production however, is picking out the star of the show. There were little-to-no weak links within this dedicated company, and each delivered a unique and varied character.
Edward Chase and Jacqueline Willis were wickedly naughty as Mr and Mrs Sowerberry, with just the right amount of Panto in their performance. Jenny Edwards, Kerry Gilgannon, Rachel Dean and Ryan Weeks gave a stunning vocal performance in Who Will Buy, as their individual market sellers. Chris Murray as hunky yet violently dangerous Bill Sykes gave the show the fear and change in pace that is so familiar with fans, with a vocal quality that can make the hairs on your arms stand up. In a stark contrast, Harry Fitzgerald as cheeky chappy Artful Dodger, gave the role everything it deserved and more. With a vocal quality that can bring a smile to anyone's face, and a certain bounce in his step, there was never a dull moment with Fitzgerald on stage.
This show however belongs to its most iconic double act, Nancy and the titular character Oliver, and boy did they deliver. Kayleigh Pendry as Nancy was nothing short of electrifying on stage. Her sense of motherly love with the boys was beautifully balanced, showing both a playful side as well as a fierce animal-like sense of protection over them all when threatened. Not forgetting of course, what could be regarded as Oliver!'s most iconic song 'As Long As He Needs Me', Pendry exquisitely delivered both vocally and dramatically. Casper Horn as Oliver was, to put it simply, outstanding. So young yet showing such a maturity on stage, with angelic vocal tones to boot and a wonderfully endearing innocence. Certainly a rising star to look out for.
If you can excuse he occasional glitch here and there, which are most likely to be ironed out as the run continues, then this is a Portsmouth Players show that is certainly not to be missed.