REVIEW: Jerusalem, Maddermarket

Jerusalem, Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich Players

The Norwich Players production of Jez Butterworth’s acclaimed play, Jerusalem, shocks and jolts from the opening scenes.

The powerful play has a charismatic rebel as its central character, who is against all middle England society holds sacred.

Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron is a man living his life on the edge of society in a clearing in a wood. He lives in a caravan and deals in, and is often high on, drugs and alcohol. His lifestyle is a magnet for a group of young people who society has given up on

Rooster is played by Nick Meir, who gives a performance that is disturbing and also very moving. He believes in the spirits that live and have lived in the mythical past in the woodland of his home in Wiltshire. His existence in the forest is under threat as the local council want him gone so they can cover his wood with a new housing estate and they are making plans to evict him.

There is also the annual village fair held on St George’s Day which is the climax of his struggles and battles with the council and the group that surrounds him.

This is a production which questions whether an alternative lifestyle can exist along side the commonplace and it is very skilfully played by the cast. The energy, enthusiasm and talent makes this a compelling production.

The play is running at the Maddermarket Theatre until Saturday (March 24).

Kevin and Sandra Stone

Drayton bench remembers a much-loved lady

Regular visitors to Drayton’s Bellomonte Crescent may notice that a wooden bench has appeared there recently.

A plaque on the seat remembers much-loved wife, mum, grandma and great grandma Dorothy Pain.

Dorothy, who died last year, had lived in the road for more than 50 years and the bench has been placed there by her family.

The Pains moved to Norfolk from Berkshire in 1965 in search of countryside, a newly-built home with central heating, a nearby school and the coast a short ride away.

Dorothy was born in Surrey in 1930 and much of her childhood and early teens were spent coping with the difficulties of wartime.

Her first job was in a small grocer’s shop where her tasks included removing mould from the top of jars of jam, placing a fresh greaseproof circle on top and replacing the lid – a luxury like jam couldn’t possibly be thrown away!

Wartime lessons of thrift and gratitude for everything guided Dorothy throughout her life.

At just 15 she first met her future husband, John, who was one of two sailors walking past a bench on which she and a friend were sitting while on holiday in Plymouth.

The couple got engaged on Coronation Day in 1953 and married the following year. They went on to have three children – daughter Christine and sons Norman and Stephen.

Dorothy stayed at home in Norfolk, bringing up the children while John worked at the former Bonds, in Norwich, now John Lewis.

Realising they needed more income to raise and support their family, the couple opened their own company, J.H. & D.I. Pain, Upholsterers.  With John’s help, Dorothy learned to make curtains and did the business accounts.

After her children left home, Dorothy became a successful Avon rep and a caretaker at the new Drayton First School. She also knitted for good causes, making some 200 items for premature and sick babies.

Her family say Dorothy was always selfless and wanting to help.

Dorothy Pain





Broadland householders facing council tax rise


Councillors at Broadland District Council have agreed a 4.3pc council tax rise, the equivalent of an extra £4.99 per year for an average Band D property.

Earlier this month Norfolk County Council agreed a 5.99pc rise in its share of council tax and a 5.5pc budget increase has also been approved for policing in the county during 2018-2019.

Broadland also increased its share of the council tax last year, following a  seven-year freeze.

“No one wants to see a rise in council tax. However, it is important that we are able to help those most in need and continue to maintain high quality services,” said councillor Trudy Mancini-Boyle, Broadland’s portfolio holder for finance. “We have restricted our increase to £4.99 in order to achieve this, although I appreciate that residents will see a rise in other aspects of their bill.” 

The council will continue to look for other sources of income and, following the success of the Carrowbreck Meadow development, has recently secured help from central government for a new housing development in Great Plumstead through its company, Broadland Growth Ltd.

For the second year, residents will be receiving a Buy in Broadland discount voucher booklet with their council tax bills. Designed to support local business, the voucher booklet will provide residents with 96 different discounts and offers for Broadland businesses, giving them the chance to discover new places to enjoy and perhaps rediscover some old favourites.

The council tax rise will be included in bills for 2018/19 which residents will be receiving in the coming weeks.



REVIEW: Relatively Speaking, Maddermarket Theatre

The Norwich Players put on a great performance on Friday (February 16),  giving the Maddermarket audience plenty of laughs.

Relatively Speaking, which runs until Saturday (24th)  is one of Alan Ayckbourn’s earliest successes, but this production has been updated from the original 1960s to the early 1980s by director Jo Edye.

The action centres on the lives of two couples, both of whom share a dark secret that they don’t realise is connected.

The four actors, Teresa Baron who plays Ginny, Rohan Gotobed who plays Greg, Russell J Turner who plays Philip and Jo Davis who plays Shiela, interact with great skill and superb comedy timing.

The twists and turns in the play tie the characters in hilarious knots, which has the audience laughing as they work their way out of the muddles they get into.

A surprising and inspired interlude was the first scene change, which had a strong 1980s feel with the hit songs from the era, and four women in 1980s dress, who managed the scene change in true and comical style. Fabulous.

A great night and a great performance by the Norwich Players.

The play runs until Saturday. For tickets, call the box office on 01603 620917 or see


Kevin and Sandra Stone

CCTV of keyless Lexus theft from Taverham

Police have released CCTV of a Taverham vehicle being stolen in a bid to warn car owners after a number of thefts of keyless entry vehicles across the county.

The incident captured on CCTV happened at approximately 12.50am on Friday February 9 when a vehicle parked at an address on Sandy Lane in Taverham was stolen.

The Lexus RX, registration number SL13 XOX, remains unaccounted for and the investigation is on-going.

Sergeant Toby Gosden said: “Norfolk is seeing a steady rise in the number of high-value vehicle thefts which use a keyless entry system. Criminals are exploiting the vulnerabilities of keyless entry system using pairs of radio transmitters by capturing the signal from the car’s fob.

“Keyless entry are those that allow drivers to open and start the vehicle without even touching the fob or even removing it from their pocket.”

Keyless entry systems on cars offer convenience to drivers, but can in some situations be exploited by criminals. Concerned drivers should contact their dealer for information and guidance, and follow the police’s recommended simple security steps:

  1. Contact your dealer and talk about the digital features in your car. Have there been any software updates you can take advantage of?
  2. Check if your keyless entry fob can be turned off. If it can, and your dealer can also confirm this, then do so overnight.
  3. Store your keys away from household entry points and windows. Keeping your keyless entry fob out of sight is not enough – thieves only need to gain proximity to the key to amplify the signal. Drivers are also being urged to keep both sets of keys in a faraday cage or pouch which blocks the signal from the fob.
  4. Be vigilant. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity in your neighbourhood – and report anything unusual to the Police.
  5. Review your car security. Check for aftermarket security devices such as mechanical locks (steering / gearstick/ pedal / wheel clamp) and trackers, which are proven to deter thieves.”

If you would like any advice or have any information regarding these offences please contact Sgt Toby Gosden on 101. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Do you know him? Wanted after Drayton pharmacy thefts

Police are appealing for help to identify a man following a number of thefts in Drayton.

The offences happened on Saturday January 27 when a man visited Lloyds Pharmacy, in School Road, on four occasions and stole a number of boxes of medication.

Officers have released CCTV images of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the incident.

Anyone who recognises him, or anyone with information, should contact PC Pauline Gray at Aylsham Police Station on 101.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Young talent takes on literary classic as musical

Norfolk’s young talented actors are maing up the cast in a new production for Norfolk Youth Music Theatre.
The musical of Jane Eyre is based on the famous romantic novel by Charlotte Brontë, the musical tells the story of orphan Jane from her unhappy childhood to falling in love with the master of Thornfield Hall, Edward Rochester, who employs her as governess to his ward.
Their union seems doomed, Jane flees, disaster strikes Edward – but there is a happy ending.
The lead role of Jane is played by former Aylsham High student Ellen Smith, who is currently studying drama, history and film at Paston College, as well as getting involved with Far East Theatre Company’s performances.
She has performed with the Norfolk Youth Music Theatre many times, including Rita O’Grady in Made in Dagenham, Cosette in Les Miserables and Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors. Ellen has also performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival twice with NYMT and with Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society.
Ellen, 17, is currently in the process of auditioning for drama schools across the country. She said: “Acting is something I enjoy more than anything, and being a part of such a lovely, talented company makes the experience even more enjoyable. Jane Eyre is such a fantastic part to tackle, I will need to draw on all of my emotions when portraying this iconic character.”
Amy English, 17, is also a former Aylsham student, now studying drama and performing arts at Paston, where she is involved in the show Illyria. Doctor Who fan Amy said: “I am a huge fan of the show, but most of all I love acting, and hope to go to drama school and pursue a career in theatre.”
Current high school student Elizabeth (Libby) Lumb is playing Adele in Jane Eyre.
The 12-year-old has appeared in a few shows previously, such as The Sound of Music and The King and I at Aylsham High School, and was part of the choir in the touring West End production of Joseph and His Technicolor Dreamcoat.
She said: “I love acting and want to continue as long as possible. I  also like walking my dog, Douglas, and having fun with my friends.”
Sophie Millington, 10, and Jeremiah Humphreys-Piercy, 16, are also starring.
Sophie, who plays the young Jane, is in Year 5 at Town Close School and loves acting, singing, dancing and Brownies.
“I play the violin with Norwich Suzuki Group and I also play the piano,” she said.  “As well as taking part in school productions, I have performed in Bill Kenwright’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, and have sung with Blake at Cromer Pier, Rebeca Newman at Norwich Playhouse, and Classical Reflection at Sheringham and Trimingham.
“My biggest interest is theatre and performing and my favourite sport is netball.”
Jeremiah plays magistrate Mr Eshton. He studied at CNS where he began to enjoy drama, playing John Hale in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, and Banquo in Macbeth.
He currently attends Paston Sixth Form College, where he is studying A-level drama and is appearing in the college’s production of Illyria this month. Jeremiah enjoys making films and YouTube videos in his spare time. He hopes to go to drama school and start an acting career

Music and lyrics for the production are by Paul Gordon, book and additional lyrics by John Caird. It is directed by Adrian Connell.
For tickets contact the Norwich Playhouse box office on 10603 598598 or visit

Top uni offers for Taverham High students

Taverham High School is celebrating its best-ever set of offers for Year 13 students from universities, apprenticeships and training providers.

They include Nick Gabriel who has fought back from the devastation of losing his dad to secure a confirmed place at Oxford University to study geography.

Another two students, Ellen Flower and Jack Rolf-Gökeş, have been offered places to read maths at Oxford if they achieve good enough A-level grades in this summer’s exams.

Taverham High head teacher Carol Dallas said she was “incredibly proud and delighted.”

Mrs Dallas added: “Yet again we have high numbers of students entering the top universities in the country and they show a determination to achieve the highest possible academic standards.

“As a school community we have worked exceptionally hard to ensure that all of our students receive the extensive enrichment, preparation and guidance to realise their dreams and aspirations, this does not necessarily mean through the university route with some students have receiving exceptional offers on apprenticeships and training courses.”
Nick Gabriel (pictured, denim jacket) said he was very excited at the prospect of studying at Oxford’s Brasenose College from October. “After my father passed away, I felt as if whole world had disintegrated in front of my eyes,” he added.

“Thus my performance at GCSE was very average in comparison to the rest of my cohort. Nonetheless I am very grateful that this happened, since it motivated me to work harder during my A-level studies, and to prove to my teachers and family, and of course myself, that I am capable of success and exceeding expectations.”

He gained two A*s in geography and psychology and an A in music and, during a gap year, decided to try for Oxford.

Nick remembers heading for home after his two interviews: “I left feeling as if I had been pushed to think outside of my comfort zone, but equally motivated to be educated at the institution.”
Ellen Flower (pictured) had a fantastic week at the UNIQ Oxford Summer School for students from state schools hoping to study at Oxford University and, after winning the problem-solving competition, started to believe she might be in with a chance of a place at the university.

“As part of the admissions process, I had to sit the Oxford Mathematics Aptitude Test. It is fair to say that this test was the hardest thing that I’ve ever undertaken academically,” she said.

Ellen spent an intense four days of rigorous interviews at Oxford and “cried quite a lot!” when she was later offered a place at her first choice, Worcester College.

She added: “ I am so pleased that my hard work has paid off – just the A levels to go now!”
Jack Rolf-Gökeş (pictured) approached the Oxford admissions process with the goal of seeing how far he could get as he had nothing to lose.

“There were multiple points at which I thought I’d blown my chances,” he added.

“First, the admissions test was one of the hardest papers I’d ever seen, so immediately after sitting it I resigned myself to the notion that I would be getting my rejection in the post shortly.”

But he was invited for interviews and was ultimately successful in being offered a place.

Jack added: “I received a lot of support from teachers at the sixth form and at other schools, and I’m glad I have something to show for both my efforts and theirs.”