Tag Archives: Elloughton

Throwback #3

BEDROOM FARCE (2007)

Is time flying by? In a period when you might expect it to be dragging it seems that the days are rushing past and the one week gap I planned between this post and the previous has become, apparently, an 18 day week.

Another case of time flying by is the thirteen years that have passed since we performed Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce.

About ‘Bedroom Farce’

Produced by Janet Drewery this was our last play of the 2007 season, performed in early May.

Trevor and Susannah, whose marriage is on the rocks, inflict their miseries on their nearest and dearest: three couples whose own relationships are tenuous at best.

Typically, Ayckbourn’s titles are misleading – Bedrooms are certainly featured but it’s not really a farce, but a comedy that takes place sequentially in the three beleaguered couples’ bedrooms during one endless Saturday night of co-dependence and dysfunction; beds, tempers, and domestic order are ruffled, leading all the players to a hilariously touching epiphany.

Our sets are always challenging but creating three bedrooms with beds, at different levels, on that stage was a special demand, not just for building it but for sourcing three beds (and disposing / returning them afterwards) and for the actors having to move throughout the play between the bedrooms. Even at dress rehearsal actors were heard to be shouting “Excuse me, just which bedroom am I supposed to be in at the moment please?” Although perhaps the true quotation was somewhat more blunt and explicit at the time.

The cast; ; Back row L to R, Rob Newton, Dianne Turner, Richard Bateman, Wendy Elliot
In bed: L to R Phil Johnson, Jayne Hewson, Gill Collins, Steve Howland.

Our dress rehearsal photos were not as well served in those days for some reason only a few non-digital prints were taken – but here they are – please scroll through the gallery.

As with most plays, not everything went to plan, although the audience is (usually) unaware. This play remains in our memory for the broken finger incident. On the first night Jayne tripped and fell over a stage prop on the very condensed stage. The result, not immediately obvious other than the blinding pain, was a broken finger. This misfortune made it somewhat difficult for her to do the quick costume change backstage and even harder to carry out a comedy scene where she was undressed in bed and was supposed to put on a dress whilst under the covers. Working with one hand she managed to put the dress on – back to front – a longer than expected scene as she agonisingly corrected the problem while the Producer wondered what was happening as, to the audience, the bed took on the appearance of a sack of ferrets having a fight.

Most of the cast were very concerned about her while I, in my usual state of self-absorbed oblivion back stage between scenes, somehow remained ignorant of the situation, even to the extent that when she stepped briefly into the wings, pale faced and in anguish, lifted her hand with her little finger twisted in an unnatural position and mouthed (so she told me later) “it’s definitely broken” I simply grinned and gave her a thumbs up and mouthed ‘Great!”

My apparent lack of empathy and social awareness on that day remains a talking point, and my intuitive lip reading ability is still non-existent.

With her fingers bound after an A&E visit, she was able to perform the following nights, albeit with difficulty in those awkward on stage scenes. Well, as they say – “the show must…..” – you know the rest.

Backstage crew: Rachel Miller, Janet Drewery (Producer), Barbara Failey, Tina Addington, Dave Ralph and Bernard Reuben (in front)

More reminiscences and a dive into the archives in our next post!


throwback #2

THE ANNIVERSARY (2007)

I’m posting this today, Thursday 30th April, because this would have been our opening night for FlatSpin. It is now many weeks since we stopped rehearsals and postponed the play to a future date. It means the only collective drama event for us this week will be our regular online Zoom -based Quiz Night.

Meanwhile, another delve into the archives from plays prior to our website presence. This week we take a look at THE ANNIVERSARY by Bill Macilwraith.

The Anniversary was produced by Richard Bateman in January 2007. It is a black comedy first performed in 1966 from which a film was made in 1968 starring Bette Davis and Sheila Hancock.

Synopsis: Mrs. Taggart is an emasculating woman whose husband, a successful building contractor, has been dead for ten years. Joining her for the traditional annual celebration of her wedding anniversary are her three sons: eldest Henry is a transvestite; middle son Terry is planning to emigrate to Canada with his shrewish wife Karen and their five children; and youngest Tom, a promiscuous philanderer whose many past relationships have ended at his mother’s insistence, arrives with his pregnant girlfriend Shirley in town. Throughout the day and evening, the domineering, evil, vindictive, manipulative matriarch does everything in her power to remind her children who controls the family finances and ultimately their futures.

Scroll through the gallery below to see a selection from the images from the production.

The cast L to R: Rachel Miller, Neil Martin, Janet Drewery, Steve Howland, Barbara Failey, Rob Newton.
The Production Team L to R: Dave Ralph, Gill Collins, Jayne Hewson, Richard Bateman (Producer), Dianne Turner.

Until the next one, stay safe folks.


throwback #1

THERE GOES THE BRIDE

In the first of an occasional series we thought we would bring you a dip into the archives. With an uncertain period ahead of us and no news to post since our current production was postponed, it seems a good time to remind everyone that the Petuaria Players has been around for fifty nine years and that this period is a temporary absence before we get into our Diamond Jubilee year.

Most of us are locked down and working (or chilling) at home so we have limited access to the archives. But there is sufficient material to take us back to this one: THERE GOES THE BRIDE by Ray Cooney and John Chapman.

There Goes The Bride was produced by Rob Newton fourteen years ago this month. Scroll through the gallery below and see what we were up to then, and if you saw the production, you may see some old faces – or rather some younger faces!

As a reminder of the plot: Timothy Westerby is overworked, underpaid, stressed-out, and his daughter is getting married in what he thinks is an overly-lavish and overly-expensive ceremony. Timothy is ripe for a nervous breakdown – and, on the morning of the wedding, he has one! It takes the form of ‘Polly’, the most gorgeous, voluptuous girl who just wants to give herself to Timothy – the pity is, she’s an apparition. The fact is, of course not apparent to Timothy who is convinced that Polly is totally real and is delighted to have this sexy guest at the wedding. Timothy’s wife, his mother-in-law, his daughter and the groom’s parents take a different view!

A few membership changes have occurred along the way. We then had Dave Ralph (sound and lights) and Tina Addington. Neil Martin was still to be a member for another year and it was my (Steve H.) first play with the PP. And Phil Johnson was still treading the boards back then too.

The cast: L to R. Jayne Hewson, Nic Johnson, Steve Howland, Wendy Elliott, Richard Bateman, Janet Drewery, Phil Johnson, Neil Martin.
The Production team L to R: Rob Newton (Producer), Dianne Turner, David Ralph, Gill Collins, Tina Addington.

Hope that raised a few smiles. Until the next one, stay safe folks.


Covid-19 : FlatSpin Postponed

ANNOUNCEMENT

It will come as no surprise that we must reluctantly announce the postponement of our next production, FlatSpin, which was due to be performed at the end of April.

At our final rehearsal yesterday the Production team discussed the latest guidelines and projected situation over the next few weeks and we realised we would be unable to sustain future rehearsal meetings and all the play preparation required. It was also evident that it would be irresponsible to go ahead with performance nights to local audiences.

We have therefore decided to cancel the performances on 30th April, 1st and 2nd May. It is our current intention, if circumstances allow, to reschedule this production as our first play of next season at the end of October. Follow this website (register your email) for updates and news through the coming months.

Our Club and Ticket Secretaries, Dianne and Steve Turner will be in touch to confirm with those who have already reserved tickets and to those who have purchased season tickets.


Obviously everyone is disappointed, when we have been putting so much effort towards this play and looking forward to performing it. However, the decision was clear and we can at least (hopefully) look forward to resuming from where we left off later this summer.

Interestingly this is only the third time in our history, since 1961, that we have been unable to put on three plays in a season. The first was a performance of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit in the early years, and the group had to stop performing in 1991/2 due to electrical refurbishment at the Village Hall.

We look forward to announcing a new season including FlatSpin later this summer. Meanwhile follow us for updates and articles and we wish you all good health and a safe passage through the next few difficult weeks.

The Petuaria Players