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Last Season

May 2017

A Colourful Offering from Alnwick Theatre Club tells the story of young and old love alike. "Kiss Me Like You Mean It" A Play Written by Chris Chibnall for our May 2017 production. The producer and director was Ben Kinloch and co-director Susan Joyce, the stage manager was Virginia Mayes - Wright, sound John Firth and lighting Andy Hunt

On a midsummer's night, Tony and Ruth meet at a party in a shabby terrace house. On the floor above, Don and Edie, married fifty years, are having a party of their own: only gradually does its purpose become apparent. As the night progresses, love is in the air: the start for Tony and Ruth, the end for Edie and Don. Chris Chibnall's Kiss Me Like You Mean It is a hybrid, a cross between bittersweet romance and sexy black comedy.

Excerpts from a review of the play

Alnwick Theatre Club's most recent offering sent shock waves through audiences during its four-night stint last week, with new Director Ben Kinloch pushing boundaries through his bold choice of play and select cast. Set on a Midsummer night in Manchester, youngsters Tony and Ruth meet outside a house party where their partners drink away the night with little thought of romance. As love begins to blossom between them, we are interrupted by Don and Edie, a couple whose 40 year marriage seems to have inspired a party of their own. In Act Two we come to realise that Don and Edie's wild behaviour is inspired by a tragic truth - Don's imminent death as a result of his terminal cancer. The pair cannot live without one another, and resolve to end it all after a night of drink, sex and rock and roll. With the blessing of the older couple, Tony and Ruth prepare to take the risk of growing old together themselves. As the play is less well-known than some of Alnwick Theatre Club's previous offerings, the opportunity to go in without preconceptions and particular expectations was refreshing. The four actors managed to hold the stage impressively well from beginning to end. During Act One the younger couple, played by newcomer Molly Reading and real-life partner and ex-DCHS actor Harry Brierley, were incredibly natural and convincing. The believable, gentle awkwardness between the characters soon gave way to a romantic intimacy that moved audience members to will the couple together. Comic interjections from the older couple, played by Carol Lawrence and Oliver Pusey, set a hilarious but bizarre backdrop for the young lovers - with cleverly implied sex scenes, a strip-tease, middle-of-the-night gardening and the search for a curry-flavoured condom. In Act Two the chemistry between Don and Edie was a treat to behold. The combination of nostalgia, tenderness and moments of comic genius left audiences with tears of empathy and laughter in equal measures. Audiences felt huge affection for both Don and Edie, and Carol Lawrence's foul-mouthed monologue of colourful profanities left us rocking with laughter and inspired spontaneous applause every night. Oliver Pusey's superb performance ranged from infectiously joyful to powerful and moving as he faced his own death, not always bravely, with the support of his loving wife.

All involved did a fantastic job of holding the attention of the audience, inspiring laugh-out-loud moments and a number of lumps in throats and tears in eyes. As Ben Kinloch's directorial debut, this play represents a refreshing, brave and ambitious choice for Alnwick Theatre Club. The standing ovation given to the cast on Saturday night reflects the buzz felt by everyone I spoke to, and we can but hope that the Playhouse regulars continue to support lesser known plays, casts and directors alike.

Northumberland Gazette

January 2017

Director Sophie Towers chose to write another twist on Cinderella this year. Alnwick Theatre Club is very good at this alternative presentation of a traditional fairy tale and this was no exception with its twists and turns, especially as they like creativity and double entendre! However I did hear one little girl in her Cinderella dress say at the interval ‘When is the real Cinderella coming on’! It certainly was a crazy script but seemed to go down extremely well with the audience as they chuckled and laughed the whole way through, I did however think at times the adult humour was not quite what you would expect in a family panto with an audience majority of children and something to be considered in the future. "Cinderella" for our January 2017 production. The producer and director was Sophie Towers and co-director Helen Gee, the stage manager was Virginia Mayes - Wright, sound and lighting Andy Hunt

Ciderella with a twist

Excerpts from a review of the play

The panto opened in splendour with a colourful set with the narrator (Joe Towers) leading us through the story. He had a clear voice and read with expression but would have projected better had he looked out more to the audience, rather than what appeared to be obviously reading, this in turn would have given him more contact with the audience. Sets, props and lighting were good and scene changes were slick. The costumes were colourful and well thought out and everyone looked good in their various characters. As always with this group everyone is always very enthusiastic and gives of their best. The audience appreciated this by their interaction at every possible opportunity, hissing and booing and cheering and applauding. The chorus were lively in their routines and sang well. It’s always a real treat to see the dancers of the Alnwick Academy of Dance take part. They are so talented and a joy to watch and add an extra dimension to the panto. So well done to you all, who came along and danced! You were a credit to your company. Principal roles were reversed this year and did not follow the traditional pattern. Fairy Godfather (Peter Biggers) was excellent in this part; he is such a good character actor and always easily engages the audience. Buttons (Peter Lewis) gave a spritely performance in his quest for becoming Cinderella’s beau and not succeeding and he bonded well with the audience. Cinderella (Jimmy Dodds) in his usual inimitable style captured the audience with his humour from his very first entrance and continued to keep the audience laughing throughout the whole of the show. Jimmy worked well with Prince Charming (Helen Gee) who gave her usual full on and enthusiastic performance to the delight of the audience. Her side kick Dan Tiny (Merryn Hughes) looked good and acted well though at times a little too quiet to catch all of the dialogue. Evil Step sisters (Julie Vint and Susan Joyce) were well matched and gave sound performances. Barron Hardoneby (John Firth) made a good job of being the hard done, henpecked husband.

There were lots of surprises and little twists and turns in this story and they added to the fun of the panto. Minor roles too many to mention all worked well together and were sound in their performances. Everyone joined in with the fun and a good evening was had by all. Once again Alnwick Theatre Club has worked hard to keep this ‘genre’ of Amateur theatre alive and they are to be congratulated on working so hard as a team to give us a splendid evening. Congratulations to Production team, Crew and Cast for yet another very successful pantomime.

NODA Review


Coinciding with the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, Alnwick Theatre Club is staging Sebastian Faulks tragic, wartime-set love story Birdsong this summer.The Theatre Club opted for the Noel Coward classic "BirdSong" for our August production. The producer and co-director director was Peter Biggers and co-director Glenda Fricke. The stage manager was Virginia Mayes - Wright.

The story, adapted for the stage by Rachel Wagstaff, is based in the turmoil of the trenches starting just before the big push for the Somme.

Excerpts from a review of the play

It tells the tale of the young Lieutenant Stephen Wraysford (played by Nick Biggers) trying to come to grips with the meaning of war and his passionate love affair with Isabelle Azaire (played by Olivia Waller) six years earlier in 1910 in Amiens when he was staying with Isabelle's husband (played by Joe Towers) on a work exchange. The story is told in the memory of Stephen as he flits from the carnage of the battlefield to the solace of his love affair with Isabelle, before we reach the denouement in 1918.

Peter Biggers, who is producing the play for the theatre club and co-directing with Glenda Fricke, is very excited at the prospect of bringing Birdsong to the Alnwick Playhouse. It has only recently been released for non-professional groups to perform after an extensive professional touring production last year. Peter said: "It is such a poignant time to be staging the play with the 100-year anniversary of the Somme this year. I hope we can do justice through the play to the memory of the thousands of young soldiers who gave their lives at the Somme." The play is a challenge for the actors as well as technically as the majority of the play is set in and under the trenches at the Somme.

Northumberland Gazette

In My Lady's Chamber


In My Lady’s Chamber is medieval farce (or as described by the director Helen Gee, an adult panto). "My Lady's Chamber" for our May production. The producer and director was Helen Gee with assistance from Sophie Towers and Lisa Gladstone. The stage manager was Virginia Mayes - Wright and set construction by Dave Gibson

Written in 2010 by Giles Scott.

Excerpts from the NODA review of the play

Staged in the Alnwick Playhouse, the auditorium of which is adorned appropriately with large paintings of the Carry-On team, Eric Morecambe and Tommy Cooper. You couldn't set the scene better for this play and the audience were in the mood from the curtain up which revealed the wide single set well constructed by David Gibson and the ATC club members (as in any good farce, all features of the scenery played an active part in the action). The company played well in the large acting area and even coped appropriately with the odd hiccup (the main tabs failed to close completely at the interval but the cast caught off guard made the most of the situation and carried on in the second half capitalising on the circumstances rather than being hampered by them). This shows the calibre of the excellent cast lead by Catherine Hughes (Lady Jane) who was farcically chased by her admirers, the impish 'Squire Richard' played by newcomer Harry Brierley, the lusty Lord William (Peter Biggers) and 'Marquis Louis', a sex mad Frenchman played by Matt Bush.

The audience appreciated the many glimpses of flesh from both men and women with cheers, wolf whistles and cat-calls. The comedy was played nicely by all cast members but 'Servant Tom', castle idiot, played by Trevor Hughes and the 'Maid' (Phillipa Mawer) were special favourites. The maid and the servant were dead ringers for characters out of the Art of Coarse Acting (Michael Green's affectionate tribute to amateur theatre) and were a real treat to watch as they seized the comic action when in full flow. Susan Joyce's 'Mademoiselle Monique' basqued in seductive glory whilst the 'Official', played by John Firth, was suitably Machiavellian. The show was very enjoyable – to follow the double-entendre theme, it was truly in-your-farce.

Ray Lowery NODA

Last Season


The Theatre Club Pantomine "Alice's Adventures" for our January production. The director was Laura Coleman and choreography by Holly Dempsy. The stage manager was Virginia Mayes - Wright.

Excerpts from a review of the play

A Pantomine written and directed by Laura Coleman.

Celebrating its 40th pantomime Alnwick Theatre Club geared up for the performance of the season. Alice's Adventures wperformed at Alnwick Playhouse was eight shows. Alice's Adventures was staged by Alnwick Theatre Club at Alnwick Playhouse.'A right pack of cards!'

An adaptation of Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the show is a new production written and directed by first-time director Laura Coleman. It follows young Alice, played by 16-year-old Merryn Hughes, as she finds a glove and returns it to the owner, the White Rabbit, finding herself in a world of trouble. Then talking plants and animals help Alice remember who she is and where she's gone. Meanwhile, doting friend Jack and mother Verluptua race to find their beloved Alice before the evil Queen of Hearts and the equally unpleasant Duchess of Wonderland chop her head off. A line-up of famous local faces are returning for the 40th year of pantomimes for the theatre club, including comedy duo Peter Lewis and Jimmy Dodds who take on their usual roles, with the latter playing the dame.

Northumberland Gazette

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Last Season


The Theatre Club opted for the Noel Coward classic "A song at Twilight" for our August production. The director was Sophie Towers, assisted by Andrew Kane and Lisa Gladstone. The stage manager was Virginia Mayes - Wright.

Excerpts from a review of the play

Coward's play demands a lot from the small cast of some of Alnwick's thespians.

The lengthy dialogue and sometimes unnerving themes would test even the most experienced actor but the whole ensemble works so well because they are so physically aware of the dialogue and movements of each speech.

Paul Tutleman, a fairly new member of the club, played the frustrated and egotistical Hugo very well.

Considering he is much younger than the prescribed role, he managed to capture the traits of the "flustering oaf" extremely well.

A new face Holly Barnett is also worth of a mention. From the moment she stepped on stage, it was clear that she could command and demand attention, not just on stage but through the fourth wall and into the audience.

A final mention must go to Carol Lawrence who gave a very powerful performance of the doting wife and gave a blistering of a monologue during the second half.

But congratulations is due all round.

Northumberland Gazette


Our Spring production this year was the play "Brassed Off" directed by David Richardson.

Stage Manager was Virginia Mayes-Wright. Special thanks go to the Ellington Colliery Band who provided the musical support. Their music added enormously to the atmosphere and emotion of the play.

Congratulations to out talented wardrobe department for the wonderful banner they created.

Excerpts from a review of the play

A tale of a Yorkshire pit closure told through the colliery band's members is hilarious, but resonates with the Northumberland area as an emotionally -charged piece including live music from Ellington Colliery band.

Brassed Off is the latest production from the thespians at Alnwick Theatre Club and I completely forgot I was watching amateur dramatics.

With a cast of just 18, the smaller spring group of the Alnwick Theatre Group are certainly the best of Alnwick acting I've seen in a while.

For me, this show was extremely hard to find a lead character; you have young Liam Cooke who plays a great narrator - type character, who is symbolic of the town's future and watches his father's and grandfather's world collapse in front of him. Then there is the great romance of Lisa Kelly and James Matthewson, who give very real and believable performances as part of the romantic element of the show. There are brilliant duo performances from Peter Biggers and Matt Bush, and Wendy Richardson and Fiona Cuthbert, who bring light relief to the show alongside another fantastic performance from the acting powerhouse that is Jimmy Dodds.

Northumberland Gazette


Our family pantomime this year was the tale of "Pinocchio" written and directed by Sophie Towers.

Jimmy Dodds and Peter Lewis took on the roles of the Dame - Barbina Pasta, and her son - Jimmy Cricket, and were also Co - Producers.

Stage Manager was Virginia Mayes-Wright

Excerpts from a review of the pantomime

The story is set in the village of Bon Gateo where an old toymaker, Gepetto (John Firth) longs for his own real life son.

His wish comes true when The Blue Rinse Fairy (Fiona Cuthbert) grants him the wish of a son Pinocchio (Helen Gee),but he must prove his worth to get his girl Penne Pasta. (Lisa Gladstone)

However he needs to contend with the dastardly Stromboli (Trevor Hughes)before he can become a "real boy".

No Alnwick panto would be complete without a duet from Jimmy Dodds and Peter Lewis,who happened to co-produce the show this year.

Dodds who played Barbina Pasta , mother of Penne was in his element as the dame.

A particular stand-out performance for me came from Helen Gee, who managed to pull off playing a young boy while maintaining a spot on Yorkshire accent and she doesn't half have a good set of pipes on her - She was clearly the best singer of the lot.

Also a shout - out should go to Andrew Kane (Geordio) and Nick Lewis (Julio) whose comic performance had the audience in stitches.

But the star of the show has to be Domino the cat played by Pete Burrow.

This was a great evening out with jokes that were so cleverly written by Sophie Towers. Hats off to the Alnwick Playhouse lighting team and all the backstage crew. A final word for the chorus who helped give the show a kick in the right direction.

Northumberland Gazette

August 2014

Our August production, "Courting and Consequences" consisted of four one act plays covering a range of situations. We had "The Proposal" by Anton Chekhov; "Knightsbridge" by Sir John Mortimer; "Resting Place" by David Campton and "Chinamen" by Michael Frayn.

The plays were produced and direced by Tony Neale, and our stage manager was Virginia Mayes-Wright.

The Proposal


Resting Place


Excerpts from a review of the plays

My favourite was first up - The Proposal, a farce penned by Anton Chekhov. The cast of Daniel Watkins, Trevor Hughes and Lisa Gladstone handled the tongue twisting script with aplomb and very few slip ups. A great effort.

Next was Knightsbridge by Sir John Mortimer, which tells the more flippant tale of a daughter (Lisa Kelly) and her fiance (Matt Bush) who overhear her mother's (Catherine Hughes) telephone conversation and believes she is "on the game". There are plenty of rib-tickling double entendres, as the mother's smokescreen is an antique furniture business. The cast (completed by Tony Neale) did well to keep the momentum going throughout.

Resting place by David Campton, brought the pace down a notch or two after the interval, as an elderly couple (Robin Lewsey and Margaret Neale) talk life, death and supper-time on a cemetery bench. This provided a gentle, touching interlude between the madness of the farces, well acted and definitely moving.

Finally Maggie Wallace and Peter Biggers took on the huge challenge of playing several parts (complete with different voice tones, accents and costumes) in Michael Frayn's Chinamen. It is set in a 1970s dinner party that goes horribly wrong when a jilted husband gets invited along to the same occasion as his departed wife. it was a brave attempt and one that would have improved as the week goes on.

Northumberland Gazette

April 2014

Our April production "Neighbourhood Watch" presented a real challenge for those playing the male and female leads - Martin and Hilda, as they are on stage virtually the whole time. We were indebted To Oliver Pussey and Lisa Gladstone who stepped up to the mark and worked hard to do justice to these two characters.

Maggie Wallace joined us for the first time and returning after a short break was Matt Bush.

We were grateful to David Richardson for directing this show, his first with the club; and also to our stage manager - Virginia Mayes- Wright.

Excerpts from a review of the play

The show tells the story of how a well-intentioned neighbourhood watch scheme, coupled with an innocent mistake, leads to an alarming escalation of events as the residents take extreme measures to protect themselves.

The talented cast rose to the challenge of Ayckbourn's work - his 75th play in fact.

Oliver Pussey and Lisa Gladstone played Martin and Hilda Massie respectively and both coped very well in the lead roles. Tony Neale raised many laughs with his portrayal of Rod Trusser while Matt Bush gave an accomplished performance of the angry and aggressive Luther Bradley.

Wendy Richardson was deliciously flirtacious as Amy Janner while Maggie Wallace performed well on her debut.

Susan Joyce gave a superb busy-body feel to her character, Doroth Doggett, while Peter Biggers gave a fragilty and vulnerability to Gareth Janner.

Director David Richardson - taking on his first play for the club - utilized the stage well, while clever use of offstage lighting and sound made the set feel larger than it was.

Northumberland Gazette

January 2014

Our choice for the pantomime this year was "Sleeping Beauty" which proved very popular with our audiences. It was produced and directed by Chris and Heather Howey. The choreographer was Joanne Burn.

Excerpts from a review of the pantomime

Enchanting, entertaining and at times very funny - this was Alnwick Theatre Club's latest pantomime. Oh yes it was!

In traditional panto style, the story is about the conflict of good versus evil.

On the one side is the good Fairy Lilac (Julie Vint) and her four young helpers. They spread good health and happiness throughout the Kingdom.

On the evil side is Bad Witch Hazel (Susan Joyce) and her minions who spread their evil by casting a spell on the Baby Princess Rose.

But, with the help of Prince Alexander (Helen Gee) there is hope that happiness can return to the kingdom of King Cactus (John Firth) and Queen Marigold (Fiona Cuthbert)

Trevor Hughes had the unenviable task of taking on the role of dame.

But you know what, Hughes more then did his character justice.

For me, the stand out player was Joyce, with a fine performance as Bad Witch Hazel.

The panto was packed with music and I thought Vint coped with her solo pieces very well.

There were some good set pieces, in particular a place name sketch involving Fetch (Daniel Watkins) and Carrie (Lisa Gladstone). This was probably the funniest moment of the show.

Some of the slapstick moments came from Alnwick Theatre Club chairman Peter Biggers, playing Muddles. He did very well in the role of the lovable but simple, handyman.

Merryn Hughes gave a delicate performance as Princess Rose while Gee was charming, bold and dashing as Prince Alexander.

One of the highlights of the night was a dramatic dance routine by the talented Alnwick Academy of Dance.

Producers Chris and Heather Howey certainly created a slick production.

Northumberland Gazette

August 2013

Our August production was "The 39 1/2 Steps", a radio play ,which, inspired by John Buchan's novel, is a counter-espionage caper.

As far as the Theatre Club could remember, the group has never before performed a radio play. The show was directed by Chris Heckels, from Radio Revellers, a theatre company which specialises in the presentation of 1930's radio plays.

Excerpts from a review of the play

This was a new and totally different challenge, but it was one that members passed with flying colours.

Firstly, the cast of 12 played no less than 40 roles, changing characters in rapid succession.

A whole host of props were used on stage to recreate noises throughout the play, from drawing curtains to gun shots.

And the audience were prompted to join in at certain times, whether it was applause, laughter, gasps or even baa-ing (there were even sheep in the play)

All 12 people on stage did a good job to bring the entertaining script to life, although I really enjoyed Trevor Hughes' performane as Bobby Tremaine, who had some witty lines and clearly enjoyed his role.

Northumberland Gazette

April 2013

The Theatre club dedicated this play to the memory of Sally Miller who sadly passed away earlier this year. She will be sorely missed.

The publishers released the play "Calendar Girls" to amateurs in September 2012 for a limited period and agreed to pay a proportion of the royalties generated to Leukaemia research. The response to this has been enormous as Amateur Societies up and down the country have put on productions making the play the fastest selling ever in the history of British Theatre.

Taking our lead from the publishers we used this play to raise funds for HospiceCare Northumberland

It is a real pleasure that in deciding to stage "Calendar Girls" we have attracted back some past members of the club Heather Howey, Julie Vint and Clair Birbeck and seen Wendy Richardson join us for her first production with the club.

The director was Tony Neale assisted by David Richardson. The producer was Peter Biggers, and the stage manager was Margaret Neale, assisted by Carol Hawkins and Virginia Mayes Wright.

Excerpts from a review of the play

...........ATC take a bow. Make no mistake about it, there were some really good performances here.

The rapport between the six main characters, played by Heather Howey, Helen Gee, Lisa Gladstone, Susan Smith, Julie Vint,and Wendy Richardson, was believable and fun to watch. They each made their characters come alive by capturing the different personalities of the leading ladies.

Gladstone brought a delicacy to the role of the widow Annie.

Vint was formidable as Ruth, capturing her character's change during the course of the show, from a relative goody-two-shoes and, perhaps somewhat of a victim, in the first half, to becoming a survivor and more independent in the second; exploding at her husband's lover at one point after the interval was a fine piece of theatre.

Gee was formidable as Chris, the calendar's champion who tastes stardom and is tempted to capitalise on it. Gee brought real energy and a big personality to the role.

For all the comedic moments in the play, of which there are many, the show is touching, as it deals with a sensitive subject matter.

I thought the cast got the tone right, striking a nice balance between the sad and the lighter moments.

Northumberland Gazette

January 2013

This year we returned to Old Peking for what surely must be one of the best pantomime tales - "Aladdin". The script was by Alan P Frayn.

We were pleased to introduce a new principal boy, Helen Gee as Aladdin and new principal girl Sam Jones as Princess Mandarin. Andrew Kane took on a major role as Wishee Washee. Joining us in the chorus this year was Trevor Hughes and Amy Neale. Returning after a few years absence were Fiona Cuthbert and Joyce Stevens.

Robin Lewsey was the Director. Producers were Jimmy Dodds and Sally Miller. Sally was also Choreographer. Gary Brown was Musical Director and the Stage Manager was David Gibson.

Excerpts from a review of the pantomime

Aladdin had all the ingredients for a fun - filled and entertaining pantomime. As ever the theatre club put its own stamp on the show - written by Alan Frayn - throwing in some topical and local gags for good measure.

The giggles came from many angles, but mainly from the glamorous dame, Jimmy Dodds (Widow Twankey) and Chinese policemen Gary Brown (Hu Dun Pong) and Nick Lewis (yu Dun Wong).

The club introduced a new principal boy, Helen Gee, as Aladdin, and new principal girl, Sam Jones, as Princess Mandarin, and the pair more than rose to the occasion in the lead roles.

As did Andrew Kane, who was playing Wishee Washee.

Meanwhile, more seasoned club member Peter Lewis, was suitably evil as the show's baddie, Abanazar, and prompted boos and hisses from the audience when he came on stage.

Northumberland Gazette

August 2012

When Director Daniel Watkins opted to stage "Wyrd Sisters" , he created a great opportunity for the theatre club, and at the same time attracted a number of new members to join us.

We welcomed Matthew Moss, Rose Danagher and Antonia Hoskins.

Daniel was also indebted to our brilliant backstage crew, including another new member (and co stage manager) Virginia Mayes-Wright. Tony Neale was technical producer.

Excerpts from a review of the play

Choosing to perform Wyrd Sisters on the Playhouse stage was brave.

.......But on the stage it was a courageous move which certainly paid off. Because the club conjured up an enjoyable show which produced performances that were well - magic.

Gary Brown was excellent as a bumbling weasly villain Duke Felmet. By contrast, his wife Duchess Felmet is the more dominant and wicked of the two and Clair Birbeck was effectively firm, nasty and ruthless giving her character real personality.

Helen Gee was delightfully over the top as playwrite Hwel. While Nick Lewis excelled as the Fool/Sergeant of the Guard.

Then there were the witches. Sally Miller had suitable presence as Granny Weatherwax. Jade Curran brought young witch Magrat Garlick to life and Philippa Mawer gave a solid performance as Nanny Ogg.

Director Daniel Watkins said the cast had been reading the novel to understand their characters, and this showed.

.........That said I do believe it was a brave choice, although one which yielded arguably the best club performance I have seen.

Northumberland Gazette

April 2012

Inspired by the success of the recent revival of the play, in the West End, the decision to stage the play "When We Are Married" by J.B.Priestley, was easily made.

It was a privilege once again to have Tony Neale as the director. He brought real insight and precision to the direction.

We were pleased to welcome a new member to the cast - Kate Devlin. John Firth was the Stage Manager.

Excerpts from a review of the play

The three men - Alderman Joseph Helliwell, Councillor Albert Parker, and the hilariously "henpecked" Herbert Soppitt, and their wives are respected members of the community.

But at the celebration for their Silver Wedding Anniversary, having all married on the same day twenty five years previously, they learn that they were never married at all.

The main plot of the play unfolds as these three couples, terrified of the potential loss of social standing, come to terms with their lives together.

What sets the play apart for me though is the strength and depth of the supporting roles.

Jade Curran was great as the cheeky young maid Ruby Birtle, while Helen Gee as lady of ill repute Lottie Grady, caused another layer of awkwardness when she dropped by the party

But the stand out performance for me was Jimmy Dodds absolutely brilliant performance as Henry Ormoroyd, the photographer from local paper the Yorkshire Argus.

I saw the performance on its second night of four and it was a remarkably polished performance, if not perfect from this Amateur group.

..........All those in the cast and crew should be congratulated for their efforts.

Northumberland Gazette

January 2012

"Treasure Island" written by Alan P Frayn, was the fourth pantomime that Don Beattie directed for the Theatre Club, working with a dedicated cast and crew to put this show together. We welcomed Andy Cochrane to the cast and hope to see him in more productions.

Gary Brown was Musical Director and also took on the task of Stage Manager. Sally Miller was choreographer.

A big "thank you" must go to our loyal audiences who made this show such a success and seemed to thoroughly enjoy our story of piracy, romance and treasure.

Excerpts from a review of the pantomime

Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson classic, this version of Treasure Island takes all the thrills and adventure of the original and puts a classic comedy spin on it for the stage, which the merry crew clearly relish from the off.

The sets are particularly excellent, making use of some stunning backdrop scenery which lends a storybook quality to the production while simple props add the finishing touches.

Lewis and McCarthy were great choices for the lead roles, which not only demanded considerable memory skills for lengthy dialogue, but also singing ability for a variety of show stopping numbers.

Curran also impressed with her ability to sing solo and as one half of a duet with McCarthy, while the chorus fulfilled their important dual role of vocal support and stage presence as Silver's vicious band of free booters.

Notable individual mention must go to Susan Smith, playing the dozy but amorous Potty Patsy, John Firth's cackling rum addled Billy Barnacle, Nick Lewis as Blind Ali, who has superb comic timing with his myopic one liners, Peter Biggers as the foppish Captain Mullet, Julie Mcintosh as Sea Snake Sally and Sally Miller as Spirit of the Sea.

The glorious inept Three Pirates - Jolly Roger, played to extravagance by Andrew Kane, Cut-Throat Kate (Helen Gee) and Salty Sam (Lewis Gattens)- were a barrel of laughs, especially their dislike of almost all things piratical and their ostentatious outfits.

My performance of the night was a tough one to choose, with Jimmy Dodds having the audience in stitches with his vulgar but loveable Rosie

But a special mention also has to go to Andy Cochrane as the manic, cheese-fixated castaway Barmy Ben, who brought the character to rip-roaring life withsome fine comic acting.

Overall, an excellent night of home-grown entertainment and worthy of a 21 - cannon salute for the cast, dancers and production team at Alnwick Theatre Club.

Northumberland Gazette

August 2011

The play "Danny the Champion of the World" was adapted for the stage by David Wood from the original story by Roald Dahl.

The Theatre club was indebted to Alex Clark Thompson for taking on the enormous role of Danny and coping with the need to be so many things - from naive, innocent and happy -go - lucky all the way through to a brave and courageous, principled lad. We also welcomed back Oliver Pusey in the role of Dad.

The director was Peter Biggers, assisted by Glenda Fricke and Lisa Gladstone. Lisa was also stage manager for this production.

Excerpts from a review of the play

Alex Clark Thompson did a fantastic job in the lead role of Danny. He showed all sides of the innocent yet courageous youngster and is a star to watch out for.

Oliver Pusey played a great Dad and the connection between the pair was well portrayed.

Tony Neale was a good mean Mr Hazel and Daniel Watkins and Gary Brown were suitably nasty gamekeepers.

The audience participation was also good and typically the mean men were booed.

Northumberland Gazette

May 2011

Tony Neale has previously appeared in acting roles for the theatre club, but this was his first venture for us as a producer. The play he decided upon was John Godber's "Up 'n' Under" which was first staged in 1984. Lisa Gladstone was assistant producer. We welcomed a new member to the cast - David Paterson.

Excerpts from a review of the play

Having seen many of Alnwick Theatre Club's previous performances I was looking forward to another comic routine which would leave me smiling - and I wasn't disappointed.

Julie McIntosh was a brilliant Hazel, putting the lads through their paces and showing them that girls can be as good as, and sometimes better than boys. Peter Biggers was fantastic as Arthur, who played as well as coaching, and proved he had what it takes to create a winning side. Gary Brown, who played teacher Phil Hopley, was also one of my favourites.

The best moment for me though was when the audience turned into the fans cheering and applauding their team, who managed to play a whole game on the Playhouse theatre stage.

The play showed real camaraderie and each and every member of the cast should give themselves a huge pat on the back.

Performing a whole play with only seven cast members is a major achievement.

Northumberland Gazette

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