Tag Archives: Hull

Our 3rd play announced…

Our previous posts announced the first two plays of our 2018-2019 season, The Odd Couple (female version) and Double Top (click the links to read the posts).  So, although it seems a long way off to think about it, how will we end our season?

Our third play will be (sound trumpet fanfare):

Take Away The Lady by Jimmie Chinn


This time we drift away a little from our usual fare of comedies and farces and treat you to a crime mystery.  Jayne Hewson will be directing and it won’t be the first time she has put together a Jimmie Chinn production. Three years ago we did Sylvia’s Wedding and we enjoyed his story telling and style. It was this experience that drew Jayne to search for more of his plays during our summer reading and planning period. She discovered that his plays cover a range of styles and subjects and she was surprised to see that he had written what appeared to be a traditional Agatha Christie-ish whodunnit.  “I was intrigued – I read it and enjoyed it and so submitted it to the group” she said, and was pleased to find that the reading went well. “Everyone seemed to enjoy it and it was well received by everyone including our more youthful members so it was nice to see that it could be appreciated by a younger audience too.” 
How so?
“Well, it’s different to our usual plays – not modern but not period. By that I mean some plays seem very dated in the way they are written.” Jayne explained that she had expected the rather stilted feel of a post-war Agatha Christie – its set in a family country house, perhaps in the late fifties / early sixties with a murderer in the midst – but then realised that he had written this in the 1980s in his more natural and observational style, and all the better for it.

A scene from Jimmie Chinn’s drama – Sylvia’s Wedding in 2015

In the play Chinn gives us glimpses into a cupboard full of family skeletons, together with some serious, and not so serious, detective work that keeps everyone guessing until the end:

Returning home from prison, after serving fifteen years for allegedly murdering his mother, Matthew finds his three sisters, his wife and his father waiting for him. Still protesting his innocence, Matthew’s arrival prompts the question, if he didn’t kill Mother, who did – scornful Celia, dotty Emma, cold Lavinia, flighty Gilda or even gentle Father?

As Jayne says “It’s not a comedy but it does have humour. It’s a wonderful gentle thriller with everyone a possible suspect and it has a few nice twists along the way.”

For now the scripts are put to one side as we work through rehearsals for the first play but we feel it will round off the season nicely – a classic big-hit comedy,  then a modern local drama/comedy to the finale of a gentle but intriguing thriller.

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Announcing our second play

Last week we told you all about our October play, the first play of our 2018-2019 programme: Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple (female version). If you missed our post click here (opens a new tab)

Our second play, due for performance at the end of January 2019, will be….

Double Top

by Ron Rose

This is a modern life-comedy about a ladies darts team in Hull and if this rings a bell for anyone that’s because it was produced at Hull Truck in the glory days of John Godber and Gareth Tudor-Price et al. We’re excited to be putting this on, not least because we think it’s a great play but also because it pushes a few boundaries for us. It contains adult themes and has some true to life language in it – not excessive – but if you prefer your entertainment to be totally expletive free then this might not be the one for you or youngsters. That said.. it would be a great shame to miss it.

Double Top is by Ron Rose, a successful Doncaster based scriptwriter and playwright as well as having run a very successful theatre company in Doncaster for many years. His writing has included episodes for ‘Between the Lines’, ‘The Bill’ and ‘Heartbeat’ as well as the political serial ‘Love and Reason’.

Double Top itself has an interesting history. Ron wrote his original version for a David Leland New Play season at the Crucible back in 1976 with a cast of 9 women and 3 men. That ratio of women to men at the time was pretty revolutionary but Leland had already committed to a play with the more usual male-heavy weighting.

As Ron himself puts it “… and that was the story for the next 28 years. Too many women in the cast to fit your standard Rep company. Double Top became my calling card, and it did get me a lot of work as it became the most popular unperformed play in the country!”

But then, around 2001, he got a call from his old mate, John Godber. Ron related the conversation –

“Does tha remember that darts play?” he asked.
“I do,” I replied.
“Does tha fancy doin’ it.’
“I do.”
“Tha’s got five.”

So John Godber programmed it for performance at Hull Truck in 2002 and Ron had to re-write it for just 5 actors, not 12!  Gareth Tudor-Price, new to Truck at that time, was to direct the premiere. Gareth told us “I cast the play with Ron and we rehearsed it in the old YPI (Young People’s Institute) on George Street.”

It was here that they developed the play into its current form. As Ron put it “I retained the original simple structure, shifted a number of players off-stage, and required one actor to play all 8 men” thus managing to meet the requirement of a maximum five actors. Gareth told us that “Rob Hudson played all the male characters and in the first few performances we had a stage manager on hand backstage to hand him his ‘next’ character’s costumes and props rather than him dashing about wondering who he was going to be playing next!

Asking about their inspiration both Rob and Gareth were keen to tell us of the essential research they carried out that involved (no doubt equally essential) drinking in pubs, research they clearly enjoyed. Gareth takes up the story “we were introduced to a local Female Pub Darts Team (The Norland in Hessle) and we went along with them, in their van, to several pub darts matches and their functions. Huge buffets were laid on in every pub….” Ron summed it up more succinctly: “We said it was “research”, but I had the time of my life…. and I got loads of material!

Gareth told us that the Norland team enjoyed contributing to its development, “they were a really lovely group of ladies who came to see the show five times and became part of the company! None of the actors had worked with each other before, but as you can imagine a terrific ‘company spirit’ quickly established.”

That sounds like a challenge for us then, in fact, it’s an inspiration!

Double Top rehearsals will commence in November, after our current play, and will be performed at the Elloughton Brough Village Hall on 24th, 25th, 26th January 2019. Subscribe to our email or Follow Us on Facebook to ensure you receive updates and announcements of ticket sales.
You can read a little more about the play here.

Our October Play announced

Yes it’s time to tell you that our programme for the year is agreed. We have secured the licences and that means we can relax in the knowledge that our plans can go ahead.

So what is our first play to be, due for performance in October?

Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple (female version)


We first performed this 12 years ago and felt that it was time to run it again.  Reading it this summer reminded us just how funny this classic comedy is – Neil Simon’s clever lines are full of humour and remain fresh.

Some of you will recognise The Odd Couple as a classic of stage, cinema and TV.  A story about two mismatched roommates, it premiered on Broadway in 1965 and was made into a film in 1968 with Jack Lemmon as Felix Ungar and Walter Matthau as Oscar Madison.  A popular TV series followed in the 70s starting Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.

The 1985 Broadway production

Less well known, however, is that Simon wrote an alternative version in 1985 for a female cast.  Essentially it is the same storyline where Felix becomes Florence and Oscar becomes Olive and their poker friends become Trivial Pursuits enthusiasts. And the Pidgeon sisters upstairs become the Costazuela brothers.  It was a great success when we performed it in 2006 and hope it will be just as successful this time around with a changed cast and set.

Whether you have fond memories of the Odd Couple, missed our production 12 years ago or are new to this play come along and see it and prepare to laugh.



Click here: About this play and our cast.

Our second and third plays will feature in our next posts – follow us / subscribe to ensure you don’t miss all our news

Not Fake News



Secret Conclave Concludes High Level Talks

The self-titled Script Committee emerged from secret talks at a carefully chosen location in Broomfleet this week with what promises to be an exciting play season ahead.  A trusted source has told this column that after lengthy deliberation a deal was finally reached.  “It was imperative that all parties reached agreement, we could not exit with a no-deal situation.”  Pressed for more information the spokesman insisted a press release would be issued next week announcing the full details.  We will endeavour to bring you that breaking news when it breaks.

Retired man entering Forum ‘horrified’ and you won’t believe what he saw

A mature member of the Petuaria Players, apparently prone to hyperbole, was utterly horrified and overwhelmed upon entering the rehearsal room of the popular Brough drama society.  “I was utterly horrified and overwhelmed” he told our reporter. “I have never seen anything like it since the last time it happened.”

Yes, once again the Forum has been flooded. In the midst of the ongoing summer heatwave that last weekend of electrical storms and the deluge pushed the water through the back wall of our hut causing mayhem. It is, shall we say, awash, bedraggled, dowsed, drenched, dripping, saturated, soaked, soaking, soggy, sopping, water-soaked, waterlogged.  Or wet. A dehumidifier is running around the clock now to try and dry us out before rehearsals start for our first play. Currently it feels like an unsavoury sauna.

Sadly, this has been a problem for some time and we are currently attempting to fund some major work to replace some sections.  In an ideal world we would replace the entire hut but that remains a distant item on a wish-list.

Petuaria Summer Break Nears End

The members have been taking a well earned rest (from productions anyway) – a long hot summer that has had those of us who are retired jealous of our still working colleagues in their air-conditioned offices. (That is definitely fake, Ed)

Monday evenings have still seen us gathering at the Forum each week to read through plays being presented as potential candidates for 2018-2019.

Our AGM took place in June and we were pleased that Mo Spence accepted the role once again as President for ‘just one more year’ and the existing committee was re-elected with the addition of Sue Hart who we welcome to the inner sanctum.

So as we approach our 57th season here’s a few photos from the olden days (with apologies to existing members who are actually on these dusty archived prints).