plays and shows
A COMEDY BY TOM STOPPARD
Peter Drew - Director
I’ve been a huge fan of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound in particular, and of his work in general, ever since arriving in Colchester from Brentwood in 1998 when I was plucked from obscurity and the lounge bar of the Fox and Fiddler and catapulted unexpectedly into the role of Simon Gascoyne in Colchester Theatre Group’s production of this hilariously funny and absurd piece. It was a revelation to me and I fell in love with it immediately.
It was my first venture into amateur dramatics since leaving school in 1966 having rediscovered acting by a circuitous route that began with singing with choral societies at school and in Plymouth, Maidenhead, Epping and Brentwood and which then took in performing in musicals with Brentwood Operatic Society. Acting with various local am dram groups after the move to Colchester inevitably led to directing and I’ve been fortunate to have acted in and directed shows for Nayland Village Players … and more recently for Sudbury Dramatic Society. This is my first directorial role with Lavenham Players and I’ve enjoyed the experience enormously.
CREDIT: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty
First performed in the Criterion Theatre London in 1968 with a cast that included Richard Briers, Ronnie Barker and Robin Ellis, The Real Inspector Hound remains one of Sir Tom Stoppard’s most enduringly successful and frequently-performed plays.
Stoppard’s short but elegantly satirical piece, which examines the themes of fate and free will, may well have been inspired by a period he spent in Bristol in the 1960s as a journalist. Reviewing plays was part of his duties so that his writing in this play clearly reflects his first-hand knowledge of the world of the theatre and theatre criticism … and of course his familiarity with their respective frailties. It’s said that his play within a play takes as its reference point Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery, The Mousetrap, so that The Real Inspector Hound’s absurdly complex and farcically stylised plot twists … as well as its stock surprise ending of course … will resonate comically with all of us, blurring as it does the boundaries between the ‘real’ world and the world of the imagination.
The Papplewick Players Presenteth
Romeo & Juliet on Radio Lavenham
Written and Directed by Nick Paley
Performed on 1st - 2nd March 2019 at Lavenham Village Hall
"A comedy of mixed egos, misplaced romance, and peculiar accents, as the Players are out of their depth when unexpectedly called on to perform a radio version of Romeo and Juliet"
confusions - by alan ayckbourn
old Buckenham hall - 1st & 2nd June 2018
Confusions is a play consisting of a series of 5 interconnected one-act plays. It was first staged in 1974 and played by just five actors. The scenes are all loosely linked by characters or locations, but more subtly through the common underlying themes of obsession, isolation and human desire for companionship.
This, our first full play, was professionally directed by Nicholas Paley - a first for Lavenham Players, and a tremendously valuable insight into stagecraft and theatre. Nicholas is currently the Principal at The East Anglia School of Acting in Ipswich. He graduated with a Masters Degree from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and has worked for over 15 years as an actor, director, writer, producer, stand up comedian and arts facilitator. Theatre is his great love but he has also worked on film, television and new media projects.
Lavenham Players were also very fortunate to gain the support and incredible generosity of the Headmaster and support team at the nearby Old Buckenham Hall School in Brettenham. They offered us the use of their superb facilities in the Britten Hall in which to stage our play. Over the course of the various stages of the production, OBH were very accommodating. We were able to make full use of the lighting, sound and effects systems. The audiences on the two nights were thoroughly entertained and came away very impressed, and enthusiastic for more. The Headmaster at OBH was so impressed that he donated the costs of the hall hire back to us, effectively making the hire of the hall a gift to us, for which we are truly grateful.
Below are just a few photos of our journey to Confusions.
A murder mystery
One hundred and twenty guests filled Bildeston's Chamberlin Hall on Saturday 24th February, for what was a truly enjoyable evening. Lavenham Players were asked by the Monks Eleigh Village Hall trust committee, to provide entertainment for their fundraising evening to raise money for the final stages of construction of a new village hall.
Lavenham Players' very own Paul Vella, produced a superb murder mystery performance in which some dinner guests find themselves under suspicion in a murder investigation after the rich owner of the country house they have been invited to, is found dead in mysterious circumstances.
Some imaginatively named characters begin to accuse and suspect each other, with the ever watchful detective Austin McClue submitting evidence and clues for the watching audience.
Taking part were Paul Vella (Austin McClue), Richard Fawcett (Brian Sewer), Julie Moss (Mary Jane Faithless), Gillian Fox (Kitty Killer), Jacqueline Clarke (Tamara Fara-Bucktooth), Dean Marshall (Champagne Charlie Bunson), Sally Day (Babs Crayfish), John Moss (Terence Shrimp) and Peter Day (Oliver Steed). The piece was set in the swinging sixties, with some authentic costumes and props to create the scene.
As a group, this was a new experience, and as it turned out, a very good one. We all learned a lot, and would do some things differently, nevertheless we would certainly all be happy to do more in the future - which is very appropriate, because Lavenham Players have been asked by two separate groups whether we would consider putting on similar performances for them.
Seasonal Readings at the guildhall
Lavenham Players produced an evening full of festive readings, wine and cheese. All of which, took place in the beautiful Lavenham Guildhall.
The readings were a mixture of festive and seasonally themed pieces from a wide variety of authors and contributors including our very own Julie Moss, who wrote a lovely piece for us that she read on the night.
There was also mulled wine and cheese for all our guests and a chance to get involved in the fun with some audience participation.
Admission for this evening including the mulled wind and cheese was free, and in the spirit of the season, we asked for donations to the Lavenham First Responders and managed to raise a sum of £117, which was presented to a member of the responders team by Carol Keohane.
Suddenly at Home - by Francis Durbridge
Lavenham Village hall - November 2016
The eleventh Lavenham Players production at the Lavenham Village Hall. Directed by Sue Clark.
A thriller by Francis Durbridge, the master of suspense and famous for his Paul Temple series. The play weaves its intricate path through a story of love and greed to its ultimate end, death.