Directed by Andrew Hamel-Cooke
Wednesday 15 to Saturday 18 November at 7.45, matinee on Saturday at 2.30
Tickets: adults £14, children/students £10, £12 for adults on Wednesday
A comedy by Brandon Thomas set in Oxford in 1882, this English farce follows the hilarious events that arise when two students, Jack and Charles, use the excuse of the imminent visit of Charley’s aunt Donna Lucia to invite their young ladies to their rooms.
When a telegram arrives postponing the visit of his aunt, the boys bribe a friend, Lord Fancourt-Babberley, into impersonating her.
Problems begin when the real aunt turns up under an assumed identity – of course, as everyone knows, in farce, nothing ever goes according to plan but of course, again, according to the rules of farce, everything works out fine in the end!
Walter Brandon Thomas (24 December 1848 – 19 June 1914) was an English actor, playwright and songwriter, best known as the author of the farce Charley’s Aunt. Although Thomas never repeated the prodigious success of Charley’s Aunt, he maintained a career as an actor and dramatist until his death, acting mostly in comedy, but with occasional serious roles in the plays of Shakespeare and others.
Director Andrew Hamel-Cooke‘s most recent productions include Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and The Pajama Game (in association with Bookham Light Operatic Society).
Jon Fox from NODA reviewed both productions:
The Pajama Game
“A very strong principal cast backed by a highly enthusiastic and energetic chorus made for a very high performance standard.”
“This complicated and multi layered love comedy with its mistaken identity at the heart of much of the confusion and comedy was a marvellous vehicle for a richly talented company of players like the Nomads. The director had worked in great depth with the performers upon the interaction, absurdities and human qualities of the many flawed characters.”
The Nomads are members of NODA, which has a membership of 2500 amateur theatre groups and 3000 individual enthusiasts throughout the UK, staging musicals, operas, plays, concerts and pantomimes in a wide variety of performing venues, ranging from the country’s leading professional theatres to tiny village halls.
in association with Showdown Theatre Arts and Baltimore High School
Wednesday 31st May and Thursday 1st June at 7.30
Tickets: adults £10, children/students /seniors £9
Rent is a rock musical loosely based on Puccini’s opera La Boheme It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and create a life in New Yorks East Village in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.
The physical and emotional complications of the disease pervade the lives of Roger, Mimi, Tom and Angel. Maureen deals with her chronic infidelity through performance art; her partner, Joanne, wonders if their relationship is worth the trouble. Benny has sold out his Bohemian ideals in exchange for a hefty income and is on the outs with his former friends. Mark, an aspiring filmmaker, feels like an outsider to life in general. How these young bohemians negotiate their dreams, loves and conflicts provides the narrative thread to this groundbreaking musical.
On Broadway, Rent gained critical acclaim and won a Tony Award for Best Musical among other awards. The Broadway production closed on September 7, 2008 after a 12-year run of 5,123 performances. The success of the show led to several national tours and numerous foreign productions. In 2005, it was adapted into a film featuring most of the original cast members.
Rent School Edition is exuberant, passionate and joyous. This adaptation has been carefully done, working with the Larson estate to retain the dramatic intent of the groundbreaking rock musical, and consists of minimal changes to language and the removal of one song (“Contact”) to make it possible for many young people to perform this piece.
Showdown Theatre Arts is a part time theatre school based across Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex for young people.
Local theatre reviewer, Polly, reviews the December production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
“I saw the Thursday performance of this children’s favourite and what a charming affair it was. The very first thing to say is how exciting it was to be in the Nomad Theatre and find it buzzing with life and the auditorium full to capacity. Wonderful!!
This is a lovely story and a favourite with children since it was written. The Nomads’ performance retained and enhanced all its magic with beautiful and simple sets, hugely effective makeup and wonderful costuming. The entry of each character was a delight. As one would hope, the entry of the White Witch in her sleigh was stunning and there was an audible intake of breath as she glided onto the stage.
Of course, although these are very important factors in a performance, the main responsibility for delivering the plot is down to the actors. We were not disappointed. The children in particular were excellent. Eleanor Cain as Lucy gave a very clear and committed performance throughout, Susan, played by Poppy Finnigan was equally positive and focussed, Ethan Tang though sometimes a little under projected, was physically convincing and remained absolutely in character. The principal children’s role was taken by Hazel Eve playing Peter. She remained “in charge” throughout and clearly enjoyed the fighting scenes and was generally very credible.
Supporting the children were the adult roles. Mrs Macready (Helen Dixon) with her withering looks, stern voice and cutting Scots accent was enough to frighten anyone, she was equally scary as the White Witch. Both roles were very well developed and her projection and general movement around the stage, excellent. Mr Tumnus (Matt Weaver), the fawn, was very carefully considered and the facial expression, movement and the very clear voice made for a character we could immediately relate to. So sweet when he shared his inability to be cruel and then to discover that he had been captured by the White Witch!!!!! It was quite a relief when he reappeared later.
Mr and Mrs Beaver (Iain Watson and Elaine Burns respectively) were wonderful. Their movements and especially their “paws” were especially endearing. Michael Ayres as Maugrim was terrifying and his makeup was particularly good. I think we ought to have hissed a bit when he came on but I think, as an audience, we were a little shy of throwing in panto conventions! His companion, the dwarf played by Amelia Tang sustained her movements and character very well as she shadowed her mentor, Maugrim.
Emily Ingold’s wolf and Santa’s elf were nicely contrasted, while the leopards (Izzy Teasdale who also played the lovely rabbit, Jenny Bridges also an adorable deer and Amelia Potten the baby deer and the acrobatic little leopard) were a little gentler than we might have expected, but then Aslan, the lion (Owain Williams) wasn’t the most fierce of Kings of the jungle!
Owain played the dual roles of the Professor and Aslan. Of the two, the physicalisation of the professor was the more successful. Aslan, the loveable lion was sometimes a little hesitant, but his physical presence was very effective and I loved his roar.
Added to all this excellence were the impressive and quite unexpected pyrotechnics enhanced by some exciting lighting. The almost inevitable appearance of dry ice just added to the whole sense of magic. “Voices off” were very well handled and the music was the finishing touch.
You had a full house on the evening on which I attended and I believe you are sold out for some of the remaining performances so, well done and thank you again for a most enjoyable evening at the theatre!
I have deliberately not mentioned Father Christmas till the end. Colin Barnard’s appearance was the archetypal reminder of the kindly chap who epitomises Christmas for children and Colin did not let us down. It also gives me and excuse to end my review by wishing everyone a fabulous Christmas and a very Happy New Year.