8 WEEKS TO GO
Over My Dead Body
26 - 28 Oct 2016
Show: Humpty Dumpty
Some things have ‘Made in England’ written all over them! Blackpool Rock, Morris Dancers, Mary Berry, a steamin’ cup of English Breakfast tea…and, right up there with the best of British… Norfolk’s very own Jubilee Players!
The historical, 17th century Horstead Tithe Barn provides the perfect backdrop for this annual, light hearted thespian dose of old English pantomine’ King Charles 2nd could never have imagined that panto’s own dithering King Egbert (AKA Graham Brakenbury) would, some 400 years later, be mustering his troops, led by the larger than life Dame Trudy Frewty and her (rather dashing!) son Freddy Frewty to rescue the beautiful Princess Petal from the evil grasp of Witch Wellygogs! This years panto, Humpty Dumpty, provided a veritable smorgasbord (or should we say ‘afternoon tea’) of cheery songs, heroic endeavours and hilarious one liners!
Savouring every moment of her perfectly evil performance, Cynthia Gosling as Witch Wellygogs, was thwarted by the charismatic ‘principle boy’ Lorenzo, (the ever smiling, Abbie Chamberlin) who releases Humpty Dumpty himself from the cursed egg! 12 year old Elliot Tempesta as Humpty provided an energetic, infectiously optimistic and totally delightful performance that left us all in awe! What a genuine talent.
We did wonder how anyone could make ‘Humpty Dumpty’ last more than 5 minutes but The Jubilee Players really did put on a ‘smashingly’ good performance. Great costumes, egg-cellent lighting and pitch perfect music (Move over Ed Sherran, make way for Ed Osborne!). The whole cast appeared to be enjoying themselves in this well directed production. Well done to all involved! Looking forward to next year already!
Show: New Direction
Reviewer: Kevin and Sandra Stone
Publication: Just Wroxham & Coltishall Magazine
New Direction, a selection of three, one-act plays by the Jubilee Players, was an opportunity for three people to take on the task of directing a play for the first time, a bold move.
As the evening developed and each play unfolded it was obvious that the cast had another success to add to their long list. The three plays were all different although they were all observations of human nature. The set needed only small alterations for each play.
The first play concerned three women who met in a small hotel and through general conversation found that their lives had been centred on the same man. What Brutes Men Are showed that they had all been manipulated, Janet (Rosalind Chamberlin) as the long-suffering first wife, discarded in favour of Carol (Sue Brooks), the new love interest and Linda (Libby Henshaw), the mother of Godfrey. The three women finally close ranks against the man.
The second play, Say Something Happened. took place in the home of an elderly couple. They are visited by a young and enthusiastic, eager to do everything correctly by the book, social work student, who, it materialises, has little more to offer than a card to be placed in their window with the word HELP should they be in trouble.
The third and last play What's for Pudding had the audience roaring with laughter, observing the antics of two couples. Jack (Ray Tempesta) and Mary (Hannah Brodie) who join Maureen (Michelle Jay) and Ted (Neil Sumser-Lupson) in their living room. This modern quartet are joined by ageing neighbour Dennis (Neil Phillips), who doesn't help with aggravation between the two couples.
All credit goes to Sue Brooks who stepped into the role of Carol in What Brutes Men Are, only a few days before the plays were performed. She created a creditable performance.
A very interesting evening and a joy to watch. Well done Jubilee Players.
Show: The Ladykillers
Reviewer: Kevin and Sandra Stone
Publication: Wroxham and Coltishall Magazine
The Lady Killers is another triumph for the Jubilee Players.
The stage adaptation of the 1955 Ealing Studios film of the same name was played to a full theatre on June 26.
The basic story is simple. A little old lady advertises a room to let in her house in King's Cross London very close to a railway line but the new tenant is not what he seems.
He presents himself as a respectable professor of music but is in fact a rogue, the leader of a gang of robbers. The stage was set to represent Mrs Wilberforce's front parlour where most of the action takes place. It also becomes the rented room where all the planning of the robbery was hatched.
Gay Lloyd who played Mrs Wilberforce, was a very convincing old lady, appearing to be absent-minded and innocent. She was completely taken in by Professor Marcus, brilliantly played by Neil Phillips, who carried the audience along on a roller coaster of events.
The other robbers - Major Courtney played by Graham Brackenbury, Harry Robinson played by Ray Tempesta, One Round Lawson played by Steve Renwill and Louis Harvey, played by Paul Skippings, had a great comedy rapport which flew around the stage when they were together.
A touch of sympathy for Mrs Wilberforce was provided by the police constable, beautifully played by Niel Sumser-Lupson.
As we have come to expect from the Jubilee Players, the scenery was second to none and very atmospheric. The special effects, especially the sound of a train rushing by, was realistic and the end scene in which Professor Marcus is hit by an oncoming train mad imaginative use of sound and lights.
Well done Jubilee players - a talented group of actors giving great performances. We eagerly await their next production.
Show: The Ladykillers
Reviewer: Grahams friend
The Ladykillers really is a very silly play. Based on the 1955 Ealing Studios film, it does make one wonder how post-war audiences could be so easily amused that it almost immediately attained the status of a ‘comedy classic’. The plot is absurd, the characters are crudely stereotyped, the dramatic tension is non-existent, while its sketch-like structure suggests that it could have been written by reasonably intelligent sixth formers releasing their energies after completing their ‘A’ levels. It should be an undignified flop.
And yet it works. Quite why the sight of five criminals masquerading as musicians using the naivety of a ‘sweet old lady’ to help them to conduct a robbery is funny is difficult to analyse, but it works. The scheming ‘Professor’, the threatening ‘German’, the doltish ‘One Round’, the confused ‘Major’ and the spivvish ‘flash Harry’ Robinson are cartoonish in their speech, manner and bearing but, seemingly against the odds, they are funny. Even the manner of their deaths is funny. The ‘sweet old lady’ complements their comedy criminality with unsuspecting innocence, responding – once their secret is unmasked – in a way that would do credit to an elderly primary school teacher reprimanding her errant pupils.
Perhaps the 1950s were a more innocent decade, when the local bobby – played thoughtfully by Neil Sumser-Lupson - did still display extraordinary patience with old ladies concerned to fulfil their civic duties. The piece certainly does have a light period charm - into which the Suez crisis was only permitted to briefly intrude – but three full audiences appreciated the high quality performances as much as they relished the nostalgia.
There are few plays, other than those with a military theme, that provide as many opportunities for male actors to display their talents and, in this production, the five dysfunctional ‘criminals’ enjoyed their roles to the full. Neil Phillips (Professor Marcus), Graham Brakenbury (Major Courtney), Ray Tempesta (Harry Robinson), Steve Penwill (One Round) and Paul Skippings (Louis Harvey) exploited the comic potential of their characters, milking the script in a suitably exaggerated manner. Without exception, they timed the delivery of their lines confidently and their obvious pleasure was shared by the audience. Gay Lloyd provided an effective contrast in playing the role of the apparently hapless – although ultimately successful – Mrs ‘Lopsided’ Wilberforce.
The quality of the production was enhanced by Ros Chamberlin’s sharp direction, who had constructed a set that maximised the effective use of a small stage. It was no surprise that all three performances played to full houses. There is a very good reason that the Jubilee players have a loyal following; they can always be relied upon to provide a terrific evening’s entertainment!