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

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

Sparkling start to a special year for Eaton

Sparkling wine, a three-course meal, party games and a singalong were among attractions at a weekend of activities marking the official launch of St Andrew’s Church, Eaton’s, Year of Celebration.

The congregation is celebrating 700 years since the first recorded incumbent of St Andrew’s, Geoffrey de Boton, began his ministry. And it is also 25 years since the addition of the extension known as the “new church” to St Andrew’s.

Some 60 people enjoyed a launch meal in the church hall. There was lots of laughter and friendly competitiveness between the tables with various party games including the impromptu creation of bonnets. The evening ended with a singalong of celebratory songs accompanied by Scott Morrison on the keyboard.

The following day the congregation was joined by friends from Christ Church and other visitors for the 10am launch service. The dean of Norwich Cathedral, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, joined the vicar, Phil Rodd, to officiate at the service during which the newly-installed organ was dedicated.

Afterwards everyone enjoyed coffee and a piece of a special cake, baked for the occasion by a member of the congregation.

The next events to commemorate the year include preparations for the Eaton Primary Academy Art Project – Stations of the Cross. Pupils and staff at the school will work alongside Phil Rodd, Andrea Woods (St Andrew’s children’s and youth worker), and Norwich-based artist Martin Cottam.  Finished works will be exhibited in the church over the fortnight leading up to Easter.

A spokesman said: “St Andrew’s extends a very warm and friendly invitation to anyone wishing to attend any of the events coming up during 2018.

“Or why not come along to any of regular services held throughout the week or take some moments out of a busy day to sit in the quiet beauty of this beautiful building?”

Celebration events in February and March

  • Saturday February 24, 7pm for 7.30pm, Quiz & Puds, St Andrew’s Church Hall, a community fundraising quiz in conjunction with Eaton Village Residents’ Association in support of the new Eaton Green playground project. Tickets from Andrea Woods (07526 728301, or
  • March 9-11, Sew Spiritual, a team of Norfolk quilters return with a new display of beautiful stitching, based on experiences in praying the Psalms, free exhibition in the church, Friday afternoon, all day Saturday, Sunday 10am service until noon.)
  • March 16 – April 1, The Way of the Cross, a special, free exhibition in the church for Easter featuring the work of children from Eaton Primary.
  • Sunday March 25, 10am, traditional Palm Sunday service with procession, guest preacher: Archdeacon Karen Hutchinson.

For further details, see:, or contact the vicar, Phil Rodd: 01603 455778.


Man arrested after cyclist badly injured

A man in his 40s, from Hertfordshire, has been arrested in connection with a collision this morning (Friday February 9) which left a cyclist with serious injuries.

The arrested man is due to be questioned by officers later today.

Police are still appealing for witnesses to the smash, on the A47 at Thickthorn.

Officers were called at 5.30am to reports of a male lying in the road. Further enquiries established he had been cycling along the eastbound carriageway between the Thickthorn and A140 junctions when he was in collision with a lorry.

The lorry left the scene following the incident, travelling in the direction of Great Yarmouth.

The cyclist was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital with serious injuries.

The road was closed while officers dealt with the incident but has since reopened.

Anyone with information or dashcam footage should contact PC Andrew Lincoln at Wymondham Roads Policing on 101.

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

Tots learn proper science in Eaton & Cringleford

Children’s brains are like sponges – soaking up information – and every child is a natural scientist, with an enquiring mind.

So says Dr Lucy Catto, known as Professor Lucy to the very young scientists who flock to her Mini-Professor sessions in Eaton and Cringleford.

In fact the two monthly Saturday sessions in Eaton have proved so popular that Lucy is introducing a third class for 2018.

Dressed in miniature laboratory coats and wearing protective goggles, children aged from two to five take part in real experiments, using proper equipment, and learn about everything from blood to polymers, chromatography, engineering, chemical reactions, bones and engineering.

“We don’t dumb down at all. If a child can say ‘Tyrannosaurus Rex’ they can say any scientific word we can give them,” said Lucy.

Experiments are conducted, with parents’ help, using chemicals and instruments such as pipettes, digital microscopes and stethoscopes. “A key part are the hands-on experiments.

“They are measuring, pouring – it’s brilliant for manual dexterity and fine motor skills,” said Lucy, who has a PhD in biochemistry and a background in research science.

“They learn socialisation and confidence, and it extends their powers of concentration which is excellent preparation for nursery.”

She is also aware that, as a female scientist, she is a positive role model for girls who accept from a very early age that science is not just a boys’ subject.

The national Mini Professors concept was developed by two scientist mums in Winchester who couldn’t find any science-based activities for their young children.

The 40-minute sessions must be pre-booked and are held in Eaton Park Community Centre on one Saturday a month at 9.45am, 10.45am and 11.50am – each aimed at a different age group.

They also take place in Cringleford Pavilion on Wednesdays at 11.30am and 1pm, and in Hayman Lodge, Old Catton, on Fridays at 10.30am and 11.30am.

For more information email Lucy at or ring 07793 817355 or visit



Norfolk Christmas drink/drug drive results

More than 100 people were arrested during the Norfolk Christmas drink-drive campaign with almost 1,000 people breathalysed.

The month-long campaign, launched on December 1 2017, targeted drivers getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Patrols and roadside checks were carried out with Norfolk having a 8.55pc fail rate.

A total of 947 tests were carried out with 81 drivers providing positive readings. Of the 172 drug tests conducted 56 drivers failed.

This year saw specific time slots at Norwich Magistrates’ Courts being reserved to deal with those caught drink or drug driving. This effectively meant that offenders could lose their licence within 24 hours of being breathalysed whilst facing additional fines.

In Norfolk:

  • Neil Grimwood, 56, from Lone Barn Road in Norwich was stopped after driving erratically. He provided a positive breath test of more than three times the legal limit. He was arrested on Saturday December 2 and at court on Friday December 5 where he was disqualified for 26 months and ordered to pay a £3,200 fine.
  • Martin Banfield, 46, from King Street, Norwich was stopped after being seen driving in an erratic manner in Neatishead. He was stopped and provided a positive breath test of more than three times the legal limit. He was disqualified for 28 months, ordered to undertake rehabilitation activity and given an electronic tag and curfew between 6pm and 6am for one month.
  • Peter Thomas, 44, from The Archway, Lowestoft was breathalysed following an RTC involving a brick wall. He provided a positive breath test and was arrested on Wednesday  December 13. He appeared at court the next day and was disqualified for three years and ordered to pay £400.
  • Zilvians Neveckas, 34, from Havelock Road, Great Yarmouth was arrested on South Quay in Great Yarmouth on Wednesday December 27 after a member of public reported his driving. He failed a breath test and was more than three times over the legal limit. He also did not have insurance and was driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence. He was seen at court on Friday 29 and disqualified for four years, ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and sentenced to eight weeks in prison suspended for two years.

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of the joint Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit, said: “It’s always disappointing to see that people are still prepared to take the risk and get behind the wheel under the influence of drink or drugs, although it is a minority.

“Dozens of people caught during the campaign would have started 2018 with a minimum 12 to 18 month driving ban, which will have massive implications on their professional and social lives.

“We target drink-drivers all year round and my plea to motorists considering getting behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs is don’t – it’s simply not worth the risk.”

During the 2016 campaign 1,320 tests were carried out with 85 drivers failing.

Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green, said: “It is clear some drivers still don’t grasp the fact that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous and unacceptable and a selfish thing to do. .

“It is just not worth the risk and should not be tolerated by the community. We all have a part to play in keeping our roads safe. Do yourself a favour, do everyone else a favour and don’t drive under the influence of drink or drugs and don’t let your friends or family do so.”


Cadets transform care home’s garden

Residents at a Cringleford care home are enjoying a transformed garden, thanks to the efforts of a group of police cadets.

Cavell Court, on Dragonfly Lane, now boasts newly-painted garden tables and chairs, an improved sensory space and plenty of handmade enclosures to attract local wildlife.  Panola pansies, begonias, bellis reds and dwarf conifers have also been planted, adding to the existing displays.

The cadets and their leaders joined residents as part of a community project which also aimed to encourage friendship between different generations.

Youngsters helped residents make fat balls for the birds and create colourful decorations such as pinwheels to brighten up the outside space.  A total of 40 handmade birdboxes have also been added to the garden, with all of the timber donated by a local Jewson’s branch.

Afterwards, the police cadets joined residents, their relatives and the Care UK team for a well-deserved buffet and firework display. Richard Lawson, home manager at Cavell Court, said: “We’re so grateful to the police cadets who helped spruce up our garden,  the project proved to be a real success and you could see from the residents’ faces just how much they enjoyed spending time with the cadets. “Intergenerational relationships have been proven to be beneficial to older people, and it was clear that the residents at Cavell Court really enjoyed the afternoon.

“The outdoors has many therapeutic benefits for older people, not least because it’s given them the opportunity to get back to nature, but it can also improve mood, concentration and relieve stress. We hope the garden will bring much joy to residents and visitors over the coming years.”

Cavell Court is an 80-bed care home which provides full-time residential, nursing and dementia care, as well as short-term respite care.

Picture: Lucy Taylor Photography