Ombersley Dramatic Society

 

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Noda Reviews

Cinderella directed by Mike Turner

This was a new version of the popular family pantomime by Adrian Barradell and although the story line is generally well known, I was pleasantly surprised that the script in the opening scenes explained the plot and introduced the characters for any first timers.

 

Kerry Horne played ‘Cinderella' with a smiling face that could light up any cold January evening and a perfect demeanour for the role. Forever hopeful of a romantic connection with Cinders, Alex Fitzgerald was an endearing and expressive ‘Buttons' and actually needed no introduction given the large buttons on his tunic were a bit of a giveaway!

 

Of course Cinders is always being chastised by her overbearing step mother (‘Baroness Hardup') and step- sisters (‘Hyacinth' & Lowercinth') and no loss of opportunity is taken by Kate Joels, Jacci Phillips and Ruth Hammond respectively, to take full advantage. Jacci and Ruth's opening number ‘Sisters' and later ‘It's Raining Men' were great fun! Meanwhile ‘Baron Hardup' the brow beaten husband to the Baroness was played with great strength by Chris Marsh.

 

Entering the scene came ‘Prince Charming' and ‘Dandini' played convincingly by Kathy Othen and Tracy Venables, who as the story dictates swop roles, to assist the Prince in his quest for romance. We also meet ‘Rough ‘and ‘Ready' (Graham Clarke & David Vas) two rent collectors, who had some amusing scenes together playing money tricks on the Baron and with each other.

 

I must congratulate the youngsters amongst the cast; Sophie Williams, Lucy Joels-Peay, Erin Joels-Peay and Phoebe Horne who played their part well, together with the adult chorus. The scenery was effective, the costumes impressive and the two piece band provided just the right amount of support.

 

No panto is complete without the good fairy and the ‘Fairy Godmother' was played with great charm and poise by Pauline Boyce. ‘Major Domo' was played with great stature by Tony Checketts and further comedic moments were added by Tina Dyble as ‘Madame Olga' and Nick Brown as ‘Herald'. In fact, comedy was one of the strengths of this well written pantomime together with the community spirit that exists throughout ODS, all of which make for a great evening's entertainment I really enjoyed.

 

Bruce Wyatt

What I did at School today by John Mee directed by Chris Marsh

 

This was an excellent choice of play, by I would suggest a little known author John Mee, but it had all the comedy ingredients, set in the staffroom of a junior school following their recent school inspection. With apologies to the best of the teaching profession, the set had everything you might imagine in an untidy school staffroom, with a scheming Head and female staff who were either lazy, disgruntled or disinterested. Even the hamster had been poorly cared for!

The Headmaster ‘Clive Beasley’ played well by Chris Hall kept the action moving, as he contrived to raise school funds whilst improving his CV. ‘Mrs Jubb’ his long suffering secretary played by Pauline Boyce, delivered some delicious lines well, whilst the caretaker ‘Maxine’ played by Kate Joels, berated both students and staff with equal relish.

The female staff portrayed a range of characters well; from Tracey Venables conscientious and likeable ‘Kate Faraday’, to Kerry Horne’s ‘Jenny Peasgood’ who tipped for promotion had a complete fear of teaching. Jacci Phillips gave a convincing performance as ‘Liz Nicholas’ with more of an eye for the new supply teacher, than teaching itself and Leigh Surtees demonstrated total indifference to teaching as ‘Pat Lowther’, who announced volunteering for the Samaritans was a great deal more exciting.

Into the action arrives a new Supply Teacher ‘Dan Thomson’ played by Steve Willis, as scenes unravel with an old university flame ‘Kate’, the romantic advances of ‘Liz’ and confusion over sexual orientation with the Head and misunderstood advances to ‘Jenny’, all played out solidly and convincingly.

The cast was completed with great support from Tina Dyble (‘Emma’) and Ruth Hammond (‘Holly’) as the mischievous students, parents ‘Mr and Mrs Smedley-Allen’ played by Simon Billington and Clare Marsh, together with ‘Councillor Tate’ played by Tony Checketts.

Lighting and sound added to the atmosphere and the shortage of space side-stage will have impeded the speed of some entrances, but this was a well directed piece by Chris Marsh and the whole company should be pleased with the result.

Bruce Wyatt

(Representative District10)

 

Robinson Crusoe directed by Mike Turner

Murder Weekend directed by Liz Whitehouse & Hugh Raymer

Ombersley Dramatic Society – Robinson Crusoe (a family pantomime)It may be a small village Society but this performance was a huge success. The hall was full which helps to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere as you enter. The audience was involved from start to finish and the  thirteen strong cast squeezed all the fun out every situation and were well supported by the Adult and Junior Chorus’s. David Goode (Mrs. Crusoe – Robinson’s mother) had the juiciest role and made the most of it, but the whole cast were superb. At the interval tea, coffee and soft drinks (and biscuits) were served free of charge to the audience in their seats. Yet another homely offering and much appreciated. The production team involved twenty eight members of the Society and every aspect of the  production was in keeping with the delightful laugh a minute performance The pantomime was by arrangement with NODA and as it’s representative for District 10 (Worcester West) I was delighted for both the quality of the performance and the script. The accompaniment by Piano and Drum/Percussion provided just the right sound for the small hall. Lighting, costumes, and scenery were in keeping with the overall quality of  the show. This was pantomime at its best, performed by the village for the village and anyone who was fortunate to see it. 04/02/15 Trevor Guest

Biilled as a Comedy-Thriller the suspense as guests gathered in one’s and two’s at a country hotel. The whole cast was suspect as the full house audience tried to work out who was going to do it, or had it already been done? As the nine strong cast were introduced to each other and the audience it was obvious that there was some dirty work afoot with some guests’ already having long clandestine affairs. Livia Wagstaff excellently played  by Tracey Venables was surprised when long time lover Ashley McAvoy  (Graham Clarke) and his wife Patsy turned up and the opportunities to carry on were numerous but usually interrupted. Mrs Johnson (Pauline Boyce) the hotel proprietor, seemed to be at the heart of the possible murder but was only a red herring. Come to think of it the whole cast were red herrings until the truth was outed by ( shan’t tell you in case you see it at another venue and I don’t wish to spoil the ending for you). An excellent production all round with an accomplished cast. This lovely small village Society always delights me with the warmth of their welcome and hospitality and with tea or coffee and chocolate biscuits in the interval served by their members. Who could ask for more.Trevor Guest

Wife After Death directed by Chris Marsh and Pauline Boyce Team Spirit directed by Tracy Venables

This comedy written by Eric Chappell, the writer of the BBC hit Rising Damp, is very funny indeed and kept the audience in fits of laughter throughout. The play opened where  Laura Thursby (Kate Joels) late husband, a professional comedian had died and the coffin containing the corpse is on trestles in the sitting room waiting to be taken to the nearby Church. Vi Barrett (Liz Whitehouse) and her husband Harvey, (Hugh Raymer), who was a script writer for the deceased and his best friend, (so he thought), Kevin Prewitt (David Vas) his wife Jane (Iris Checketts) and Kay (Tracy Venables) completed the excellent cast. All five of them had a differing viewpoint on the deceased’s life as the revelations about his extra marital affairs began to surface. It turned out that he had had long standing affairs with all three wives Vi, Jane and Kay (and probably others) which brought side splitting laughter to the audience but consternation and disbelief .to his friends and lovers. This small village Society performs for three nights to sell out audiences of about one hundred each night and there is a wonderful atmosphere in the compact Village Hall. The excellent set and lighting enhanced the whole performance. A superb production all round by the two Directors Chris Marsh and Pauline Boyce and the talented cast. 

Team Spirit is a completely new play to me written by Jeremy Carrad and somewhat similar to the very successful play and film ‘Quartet’. The residents at Oldthorpe House are all elderly retired Officers of Her Majesty’s Forces and when a new resident arrives and turns out to be a woman, shock horror! This shatters the tranquillity of their lives which is compounded by reports that one of the Officer’s has allegedly committed an atrocity on French civilians during the last war. The fourteen strong cast made the most of the humour and pathos of the piece which of course is brought to a satisfactory conclusion. This is a lovely small village Society and the performance in the cosy village hall delighted an appreciative audience. This is a first production for Tracey Venables and a very good one too. No doubt we shall see others directed by her in the future. An excellent set, sound and lighting enhanced the production and we even had tea or coffee delivered to us in our seats during the interval. What else could one wish for? The enthusiasm and quality of the performances was palpable from all involved. I enjoyed the play immensely and so did the full house audience.