Stuart Frank, director of Their Scarves Were Red, the production opening this week from Fareham Musical Society Youth Theatre (FMSYT), told of his swelling emotions following a recent rehearsal.
"I honestly cannot believe what I have watched this afternoon," he said. "Forty four children have just made me cry my bloody eyes out! An amazing full run through of Their Scarves Were Red. I honestly could not be more proud of my amazing cast."
Their Scarves Were Red is a touching musical telling the story of two friends who travel from Brighton to Sheffield on the 15th April 1989: the day of the Hillsborough football tragedy. It is a humorous, poignant, thought-provoking and incredibly emotional piece which comes highly recommended. It's performed here by a staggering talented cast aged from 8 to 16.
"I know over the years I've promoted a lot of shows I'm either in or supporting, but this is just something else," Stuart Frank said. "I truly urge you to support this unique and incredibly moving show. The Justice For Hillsborough Campaign deserves it, and these kids deserve it."
Their Scarves Were Red runs from Thursday 15th February until Saturday 17th. Evenings 7:30pm and a Saturday matinée at 2:30pm. It plays at The Cort Theatre, Henry Cort Community College, Fareham, PO15 6PH.
Tickets available by emailing email@example.com.
‘WAITING FOR GODOT’
You are invited to audition for the part of ‘A Boy’ in an upcoming production of Waiting for Godot at The Square Tower, PO1 2JE.
Waiting for Godot is a tragicomedy, a classic of modern theatre and has been described as "the most significant English language play of the 20th century".
We are looking to cast a young actor who should ideally be 16 or older, with a playing age of early-to-mid teens and around 5’ 8” or less, although this is not set in stone.
Auditions will be held on the morning of Sunday 21 January 2018 in Portsmouth, the venue tbc.
You will be part of a cast of well-established semi-professional actors with a London director and although the role is modest (56 lines overall) it is significant in the scheme of the play.
The production will run in the week 11 – 17 March 2018 and will comprise at least 4 performances. Rehearsals will take place a couple of times each week from February by arrangement with the director.
If you wish to register your interest, please, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include your details and experience together with your age and, if possible, a headshot. We are happy to provide any further information you may require.
A Nick Downes/Pat Howe (DH) production.
As the year draws to a close and as the festive holidays begin, we have a message to all of our followers and supporters, and to those that have given the gift of theatre to Portsmouth: THANK YOU.
It never ceases to amaze us on this channel how many views we get and how much interest is generated. From the start we were bowled over and we haven’t looked back since. It’s not even the Mulled Wine talking - the statistics speak for themselves. And how wonderful to think about the knock-on effect and the messages that can be surmised from our statistics: theatre matters. It’s still a very relevant and engaging medium of entertainment. And the city thrives with it. And loves it. And needs it!
For many of the productions we publicise, there aren’t many performers, artists, creatives or directors which get paid. Many are amateur productions - and we honestly think you would struggle to visit another city with the talent our amateur circuit generates. The breadth of types and styles of company and show is unrivalled.
Last year, the Southsea Shakespeare Actors were compared joyously to the RSC. CCADS Theatre has received comments that, for the audience, they have trumped a West End production. Portsmouth Players and South Downe Musical Society have been mistaken for professional touring shows. The Martyndale Manor series continues to deliver quality shows in an unrivalled setting you’ll never see elsewhere. The list goes on and on, too numerous, regrettably, to mention them all.
The process of staging a show falls very much outside of the run-time at the theatre too. It’s easy to forget when you watch, but the process goes months back, planning and rehearsing and staging. Then adding creative and technical flourishes, like sound and light, the day before opening in most instances. Technicians here are unsung heroes. It’s an astounding accomplishment from start to finish and one which must be appreciated with each and every shimmering production. Amateur or professional, the work is unbelievable. But the results are outstanding: if you want to go somewhere, let theatre take you there.
If you can, then, it makes sense to give the gift of theatre this Christmas. Surely there is no better Christmas present than an evening or afternoon of entertainment to look forward to? Audience numbers continue to be unpredictable and many of our local amateur companies need your support to keep standards high and productions frequent. We bet you’ll be hard-pushed to find a better way of spending your time!
Theatre box offices are open and selling tickets for next year’s productions. Companies of local origin have tickets available now, mostly found through their websites or by finding them on Facebook. So please do an amazing thing today and join us in supporting our mission statement: To support and promote the theatrical scene within our wonderful city.
Finally, we would like to offer our traditional end of year praise to all who support us. By sending us material, offering review tickets, letting us know about your shows and visiting our website, making comment, following us on Social Media, you have generated a greater interest. And if this affects just one person, then it’s a whole world of difference to us.
We’d like to thank all of you, but especially South Downes Musical Society for always being forthcoming; CCADS Theatre for always giving us time; The Square Tower, who have become a go-to space for smaller theatre in the city; Sarah Miatt, Stuart Frank, Matt Gibbins and Amy Sackman for forming the core of our formidable team of writers and reviewers and Rebecca Oldfield and the New Theatre Royal for always reaching out and offering support. We could not be here without you.
Finally, we look ahead to 2018. The profile of local shows looks better than ever next year. It’s an incredible offering and we’ll be giving insight and generating material about these productions from January. Our aims for 2018 are to increase our content output, generate a greater social awareness and interactivity with our audience and to launch a year-long campaign to generate interest in getting an affordable studio theatre space in our city. All this and more. Details soon.
For now though, have a bloomin’ fantastic Christmas. And thank you, from the bottom of our hearts so very much, once again.
Now, if you’d be so kind to pass the wine and the mince pies...
Reviewed by Matt Gibbins
Ferneham Hall, Fareham
Jordan Productions brings another delight to Fareham families in this years pantomime, Aladdin. The impressive production was full of naughty laughs, superb dance sequences from a highly skilled team of children, and everything you'd expect from a top notch Christmas Panto.
Kicking off the action was Karis Anderson, as the Genie of the Ring, the self professed South London girl born and bred brought a level of sass to the role, bringing it up to date for a more modern audience. Together with Jason Denton, as the Genie of the Lamp, the pair provided arguably the strongest vocals throughout, hitting some powerhouse notes. Coming in close second were Danielle Haywood and Divine Cresswell as Aladdin and Princess So-Shi respectively, who gave a beautiful rendition of Symphony. Haywood, along with Anderson gave the vocal performance of the night with their duet, Defying Gravity which accompanied a truly mesmerising flying carpet scene.
Christian Lee from Britain’s Got Talent fame, gave an enthusiastic performance as our 'audience friend' Wishy Washy, though at times faltered with the lyrics and choreography. Clive Mantle as Abanazaar, the villain of our story, gave a well calculated and sufficiently nasty performance, though could have embraced the theatricality of it all. Matt Davitt, gave an impressive performance, especially showcasing his ability to play off an audience, even if they were taking a moment to warm up.
Storming ahead above all others however, and this will come as no surprise to regular Panto-goers, was Mark Siney as the lovable dame, Widow Twankey. It's performances like this that show newcomers how to get the job done. Siney's ability to improvise on cue, deal with the odd mishaps and turn them around into something hilarious, and delivering the more risqué lines intended for mum and dad with perfect comic timing, is like watching a masterclass.
For a thoroughly enjoyable evening, get yourself down to Ferneham Hall, where everyone in the family will have a raucous evening of laughter and entertainment.
Aladdin at Ferneham Hall is on until 31st December. Tickets available online or via the Ferneham Box Office.
Reviewed by Aaron Holdaway
New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth
There’s much to celebrate in this year’s ‘Christmas Show’ at the New Theatre Royal. Penned and directed by Scott Ramsay, the theatre’s own CEO, here the Christmas Show blends elements of classic panto, musical theatre and classy storytelling (with Fairies and Father Christmas thrown in) to portray the classic ‘Beauty and the Beast’.
Whilst initially the pantomime elements seem to jar with the classy costuming (Naomi Gibbs) and set design of the piece, and at times it crosses borers confusingly between sincere storytelling and panto, by the time the second act rolls around the audience truly have the measure of it. This is never more evident than in Act Two’s ‘panto break’, where four key actors perform, partially out of character, the classic ‘If I were not upon the stage’ routine, gaining raucous applause.
The story begins rich in references to Portsmouth, as some of the principal roles form an acting troupe delivering a historical story of Portsmouth in the Old Theatre Royal. For some, the local self-referencing will grow to feel over-indulgent, particularly in the lengthy scene staged at the Old Theatre Royal. On the other hand however, it’s arguably pleasing to have something so locally referenced and sourced being celebrated in our city.
Whilst most work exceptionally well, there are also some laboured songs within the piece. Most notably, ‘A Musical’, from the musical ‘Something Rotten’, feels particularly shoe-horned into the show to create a show-stopping number and to get the gags of this Broadway favourite across. But others work brilliantly, particularly in the second act, where everything feels especially plot-relevant.
Ultimately the portions of the show which work best here are the actual plot-moving storytelling of the titular tale on offer. It’s well-told when it is allowed to without distraction, with some fantastic performances throughout.
Local boy Jamie Papanicolaou presents a very warm representation of Will, Beauty’s brother, working the audience nicely to be a successful “audience friend” character. Kirsty Anne-Shaw, as Beauty, has a fantastic sincerity to her performance, as does Isabelle Hetherington as Titania, whose singing voice is powerfully notable and who works wonderfully with the endearing young performers she appears with.
As Ulrika, Harriet Miller creates a convincing pantoesque villain and Craig Golding, as the Beast/Prince Robert, gives a truly convincing performance - particularly in the classic transformation scene. Liz Garland is especially noteworthy as Madame Crummies, with a rich characterisation and great attention to detail on the inflection of her lines to make the most of them and draw the laughs.
One of the most pleasing elements in the production comes from the brilliantly slick choreography from Hayley Jane-Simmons, blending well-staged energetic performances from the professional dancers (whom often form part of the character ensemble with lines and jokes to tell) alongside the heart-warming young dancers from the local Giselle School of Dance.
But it’s all trumped by the physically gifted and exceptionally characterised performance of Timothy Lucas as villain Frederick. It’s brilliantly conceived, well executed and wonderfully funny. His performance really is truly blessed with theatrical magic.
Beauty and the Beast is on at the New Theatre Royal until 31st December 2017. Tickets available at the Box Office or online.
Sarah Miatt heads along to see the latest offering from Titchfield Festival Theatre, A Little Plant From Outer Space.
The Studio, Titchfield Festival Theatre
Reviewed by Sarah Miatt
Titchfield Youth Theatre was set up in 2008 as part of Titchfield Festival Theatre. The group have performed a wide variety of plays and performances ever since both with the Festival Theatre and in their own right. It is safe to say that this group are very committed to giving young people of all ages a wonderful grounding in all aspects of performing arts.
A Little Plant from Outer Space was written especially for them by their director John O’Hanlon and played to their strengths beautifully. In the impressive setting of the new purpose built studio theatre within the main theatre, this Sci Fi spoof, loosely based on A Little Shop of Horrors came to life. Impressively, the lighting and sound was operated by two of the youth theatre members, Oliver Thompson and Oliver Whitehouse. They did this with great timing and skill.
Highlights in the cast included Jessica Mills as hapless flower shop assistant Marvin. Her comic timing and nervous gestures were perfect for the role and she easily commanded the stage when taking on the unenviable task of performing completely alone onstage with just the plant (some expert puppeteering by Marcus O’Hanlon). Madeline Bennett as Marvin's love interest, Ellie, was sweet natured and endearing and had wonderful onstage chemistry with Marvin. Supporting characters of Paloma Hoyos as Mrs Finks and Dan Winkworth as the NASA boss were also particular highlights.
The whole cast were very in-character and clearly enjoyed every second of the performance: they looked fantastic and very in keeping with the time of the play. It was very enjoyable and the audience left feeling uplifted and with a very positive message.
Multi-award winning company South Downe Musical Society are bringing the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic Carousel to the stage in April and have unveiled their casting alongside a festive offer to get discounted tickets.
The multi-talented company are back in rehearsals for the production, being performed at Fareham's Ferneham Hall.
Yesterday their production team released details of the auditions and the cast list was made public. We're delighted to announce the casting here:
Billy Bigelow - Nick Williams
Julie Jordan - Becky Musgrave
Carrie Pipperidge - Kelly Fuller
Enoch Snow - Ben Horner
Jigger Craigin - Alan Jenkins
Nettie Fowler - Jane Pegler
Louise - Charlotte Coqueral
Heavenly Friend - Bill Price
Starkeeper - Tom Hudson
Mrs Mullin - Peta Reading
Enoch Snow Jnr - Finlay Hughes
Timothy, The Policeman - Jonathan Shirlaw
Carnival Boy - Matt Gibbins
Mr Bascombe - Brian Sweatman
Miss Snow - Cerys Davies
Arminy - Emma Hall
To celebrate this Rogers and Hammerstein classic, the company are doing a special Secret Santa Christmas offer for anyone looking to book tickets for the opening night. If buying a pair of tickets then you can save £3 simply by quoting SANTA.
South Downe Musical Society said of the offer, "Are you struggling for a Christmas gift? Want to treat someone to a wonderful evening of entertainment? Or maybe you want to gift yourself with a very special night out at the theatre?
Well we have the perfect solution for you. If buying a pair of tickets for our opening night on Wednesday 18th April, then you can save £3. All you have to do is quote SANTA at the Ferneham Hall box office.
This offer is valid right up until midnight on the 31st December so don't miss out! Book now for a chance to see this beautiful piece told by the award winning SDMS."
Classic musicals are always big sellers, especially when presented by South Downe Musical Society who have a brilliant reputation for staging high quality productions. So, don't forget to book your tickets - they are likely to sell quickly.
Contact the Ferneham Hall Box Office on 01329 231942. Alternatively, book online using the link below. Please note the discount code is for ticket orders at the box office only.
Titchfield Festival Youth Theatre are preparing to put on their production A Little Plant From Outer Space: the first science fiction spoof the company have ever performed.
A Little Plant From Outer Space has been especially written and directed by John O'Hanlon for Titchfield Youth Theatre. The play is very loosely based on a short story by Roger Corman and Charles Griffiths, which was adapted into a rarely seen B movie and a hugely popular stage and film musical.
"Our version is very different in many ways," the company tell us. "We have added new characters and altered the storyline and the ending; also, the plant does not grow into an eight foot monster, much to everyone's relief!"
Titchfield Youth Theatre have been rehearsing since September, developing the characters, American accents and working on the comic timing crucial to this piece. The alien plant itself has been designed and made by a local art teacher and all the young people in the company come from schools in the Fareham area.
We'd highly recommend getting along to see this at Titchfield Festival Theatre. Tickets available online or via the Box Office. Link below.
Going to see this? Let us know your thoughts! @portstheatre on Twitter or Facebook comment below.
This evening the Wedgewood Rooms hosted the first of a two night run of a theatrical double-bill: Mirrors by Roger Goldsmith and Damages by Stephen Thompson.
The first piece, Mirrors by local playwright Roger Goldsmith stars Katie Watson and Aaron Holdaway as Lisa and Mark respectively. Mark sees Lisa in a park eating her lunch. 'You remind me of someone I knew. You look like her. You act like her. You could be her...' The Wedgewood Rooms production will be the first staging of this dark and disturbing little piece.
It's followed by Damages, a sharp, slick, cynical and humorous piece about tabloid morality. It has the talents of Stuart Frank, Leigh Cunningham, Henry Oastler and Geoffrey Pye in the cast. 'Do we or don't we print this nude picture of a television celebrity? Who will profit? Who will suffer? Does it matter? ' Steve Thompson's award-winning play was first staged at the Bush theatre in 2004 and it is fantastic to see it getting a run in our city.
The run closes on the 23rd November, but there are still tickets available on the door to see these pieces on its final night.
Mirrors is directed by Steve Pitt and Damages is directed by Rebecca James. Tickets priced at £10.
South Downe Musical Society return to Ferneham Hall in April 2018, and are on the lookout for two teams of children to be part of the cast. Below is the information, kindly provided by the company, which details all that they will need to know about getting involved in SDMS’s latest show.
‘For this exciting new production of 'Carousel', we are looking for two teams of nine children who will alternate performances (this includes Enoch Snow Jnr) to take on the roles of Carrie and Enoch Snow's immaculately turned out, rather proud family which will involve participation in an extended movement/dance/acting sequence as part of the Act Two ballet as well as the final graduation scene in which they will be required to sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' with the rest of the cast. In addition, the children will double as characters in the fairground in the opening 'Carousel Waltz' movement/acting sequence.
Rehearsal commitment will involve selected Mondays and Wednesdays dotted from December through to February and early March, intensifying to more frequent rehearsals on those same nights when full runs of the show in the rehearsal room begin from mid-March. There may be one key Sunday rehearsal to be confirmed.
To clarify, we are looking for a range of ages from 6 to 16 and a mix of boys and girls. Please note that you will be notified of the results of this audition by Wednesday, 6th December at the latest and that you will be asked to attend one pre-Christmas rehearsal on the evening of Wednesday, 13th December.
In addition, we are open to applications from strong 15 year old female actor/dancers for the key principal role of Louise, the daughter of the leading couple in the show, who, in addition to leading the iconic Act Two ballet sequence, has three key scenes which involve a dynamic range of emotions and an ability to deliver dialogue effectively and with an American accent. You are allowed to audition as a child in the show generally initially as well as specifically for Louise - the latter audition will involve learning and auditioning with an additional short dance sequence on that same evening as well as giving a dialogue audition on Monday, 27th November.’
The audition process on Monday 27th will progress as follows:
7.30 - 8.30: Workshop audition for Snow Children/Fairground Children in which applicants will be asked to take part in an improvised acted scene based around a fairground as well as learning/singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' (please research and be fully familiar with this song when you arrive at the audition) and learning/dancing a short sequence from Act Two in character as the Snow children.
8.30 - 9.00: John-Paul McCrohon (Director) will address the cast of 'Carousel' to discuss the concept/vision of the production and characters as well as the practicalities of the schedule.
9.00 - 9.30: Further rehearsal time for Louise/Carnival Boy auditionees as well as other principal auditionees who can rehearse with their allocated group members for the forthcoming principal audition session.
9.30 - 10.00: Dance auditions for Louise/Carnival Boy applicants.
Potential applicants are advised to contact email@example.com if they want to get involved, though they can turn up on the night if they prefer."
Here at PortsmouthTheatre.com we kindly ask you share this article with anyone who may have some interest and help the fantastic South Downe Musical Society cast another one of their top class shows, whilst giving a wonderful opportunity to the young performers of our city.
Any further questions should be directed to the company directly using the email address provided.
Carousel runs at Ferneham Hall from Wednesday 18th until Saturday 21st April 2018. Tickets are available now via the Ferneham Hall Box Office.