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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 www.maddermarket.co.uk.

 

Kevin and Sandra Stone

Lift-off for Sprowston’s community sports hall

Four men built this frame in just one day – and now Sprowston’s dream of a new community sports hall is officially, and literally, off the ground.

Before work could begin, the Omnis Construction team had to overcome problems including an underground wartime air-raid shelter and a Victorian water tank, discovered during drainage diversion works.

Despite these challenges, hopes are high that the £1.3m hall, at Sprowston Diamond Centre, will be finished this spring.

The project is entirely funded by Sprowston Town Council. The hall will include a reconfigured and refurbished central area, a reception area and new changing rooms.

It will provide improved facilities for a range of community sports and other activities.

Rooms within the new hall will be named after teachers and head teachers of the school which formerly stood on the site.

During construction, Sprowston Town Council’s office has decamped into a portable building in the rear car park next to Neville Road with access through a pedestrian gate. A temporary car park has been provided in the field opposite.

Picture: OMNIS

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 www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk

Catch Sprowston’s panto on Jan 26, 27 and 28

Sprowston Parish Players are about to celebrate their silver anniversary with a traditional panto, The Princess and the Pea.

It was 25 years ago when a group of the congregation at St Cuthbert’s Church formed an all-age drama group for the Sprowston community.

The group’s first production, at the end of January in 1993, was The Wind in the Willows.

For their latest production, the players have given new scriptwriters the opportunity to see their words acted out on stage and the Princess and the Pea has been written by Sally-Anne Clarke who, as a child, played the caterpillar in the players’ 1995 production of Alice in Wonderland.

Through the years the players have also put on a variety of different entertainments, including plays and music hall, and now present regular summer and Christmas concerts too.

When they first launched, the players had to build a stage out of large wooden blocks for each production. It was all hands on deck, often on opening night. Luckily there were always members to provide hot drinks and biscuits. In recent years they have benefited from an all-purpose platform (stage).

A spokesman said: “Having limited staging, even today, we have had to devise ingenious ways to design scenery and properties, and find ways to get them on and off the sets. Stage lighting has been installed in the church negating the need to hire and spend hours fixing them into position ready for use.”

The players are affiliated to the National Operatic and Dramatic Association, which supports over 2,500 amateur theatre groups throughout the UK.

With incredible support from the community, they have raised cash for charities with a local connection, and the church. This year’s nominated charity is Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Anyone interested in joining the players should contact Toni Morina (01603 484554)

Children from seven years are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult until the age of 12.

The Princess and the Pea can be seen in St Cuthbert’s Church, Wroxham Road, at 7.30pm on Friday January 26, at 3pm and 7.30pm on Saturday January 27, and at 3pm on Sunday January 28. Tickets cost £5 for adults, £2.50 for children. They are available from Sheila (01603 419896 or sheila.tuffield@btinternet.com), Toni (01603

484554), Chris on (01603 470500) or on the door.


Cyclist sexually assaulted by man aged 70-80

A woman has been sexually assaulted in daylight by an elderly man as she cycled along Chartwell Road.

Police are appealing for information on the attack, which happened shortly after 11.45am on Wednesday January 10.

The victim, who is in her 40s, was cycling along Chartwell Road when the man approached her.

She stopped on her bike and he pushed himself up against her, touching her inappropriately.

The victim pushed him away before cycling home and reporting the incident to the police.

The man is described as being white, aged 70-80 years old, around 5ft 10, of a medium build and having white hair. He was wearing a grey/white tweed flat cap, a grey/beige big coat and had a walking stick.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with information, should contact PC Ivor McNaugher at Sprowston Police Station on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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.”

 

Sprowston event for medics who saved tot’s foot

A couple whose toddler daughter was involved in a horrific accident are holding a Family Fun Day in Sprowston to thank the medical charity whose volunteer’s expertise saved her foot.

The event, at Sprowston Sports and Social Club, will be held on May 27 – exactly a year after Amelia Duncan (pictured) was seriously injured.

One-year-old Amelia was playing in the family garden while her dad Ben was cutting the grass, using a ride-on lawn mower.

The tot ran into the machine’s path and was caught underneath it. When Ben lifted it off her, Amelia’s terrified parents saw that her right leg had been deeply gashed by the lawn mower’s blades.

They rang 999 and first on the scene was an ambulance crewed by two paramedics and a student paramedic.

As they rushed Amelia to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn – the nearest to the family’s home in Wisbech – the ambulance was met en route by critical care paramedic Carl Smith, a volunteer with the charity Norfolk Accident Rescue Service (NARS).

Doctors and paramedics who volunteer with NARS have received extra training to provide specialised trauma care.

Carl assessed Amelia and realised that to save her foot she would need specialist plastic surgery, carried out at a major regional trauma hospital like Addenbrooke’s, in Cambridge, and so the ambulance took the little girl there instead.

Over the next three weeks Amelia underwent seven operations, including major surgery on her second birthday, three days after the accident. Today she is making good progress but still has a scar on her leg.

NARS receives no funding from the government or NHS and relies entirely on public donations and Ben and his wife Tracy, who have two older children as well, want to say ‘thank you’ by raising as much money as possible for the charity at the Sprowston event.

They own BT’s Roadshow, which provides a range of equipment for parties and events, including bouncy castles which will feature at the fun day, together with stalls, face painting and many other attractions.

Ben said: “We would like as many people as possible to come along and support this fantastic cause. These fantastic people saved our daughter, along with amazing paramedics.”

He added: “Amelia isn’t fully recovered and may need further operations and will be under Addenbrooke’s for many more years to come.

“We are holding the fun day at Sprowston as there is a good community spirit there and we do a lot of events throughout the year for them.”

 

Sprowston man’s Christmas song and video

 

Christmas-mad musician John Fisher has fulfilled a dream of releasing a seasonal single, plus an all-singing, all-dancing video.

And Sprowston resident John, 44, has done it in style, recruiting dozens of family and friends to take part in the six-minute video, which is packed with tinsel and fun, and was shot all over Norwich.

His single, Fit For A King, is an upbeat, Christmas-pudding mixture of a tune, with echoes of Slade, Wizard, Greg Lake’s I Believe in Father Christmas, and John and Yoko’s Happy Christmas War Is Over. It includes a choir-style chorus.

The song was played on December 3 at Thorpe St Andrew’s River Green lights switch on, and John and his wife Karen hired Norwich’s Hollywood Cinema on December 6 to give all those involved a VIP preview of the single and video before they were officially released, on December 8.

John, who owns recording business Earth Studios, on Salhouse Road, Norwich, wrote the song last year. As a singer/songwriter he is signed to Ashwood Music and recorded it at Ashwood Recording Studios, Bowthorpe, with other musicians including former The Darkness’s Ed Graham on drums.

The video, shot by ex-BBC cameraman Richard Howes, of Insight Media, was made between November 2016 and February this year.

It follows the drunken route of a very tipsy Father Christmas (played by Bradley Buxton) around Norwich, ending in the St Mary Magdalene Church, on Silver Road, where everyone is gathered.

A gang of motorcyclists is seen passing River Green while the Tunnel of Light and Chapelfield Gardens also feature.

Among those Bad Santa meets on his way are two young men dressed as Mrs Claus – John’s drama student son Jack, 19, and his friend Josh Mace. John’s younger son, Connor, 16, plays a cyclist who runs into Santa. And friends Simon Pritchard and his wife Suzie appear in rock ‘n’ roll gear.

“I struck gold with the cast. Everyone dressed up to the nines with tinsel, lights, and Christmas jumpers,” said John. “I’m a big kid at Christmas. I’m very much family orientated. We have a big do on Boxing Day with family and friends. I love all the singing and party games.

“The single is quite hooky. I wanted it to be one of those end-of-the-night in the pub singalong songs. Hopefully that’s what I’ve captured. I’m really, really pleased with the result.”

  • The single is available on all media sites to buy as a download, or to stream on Spotify.
  • The video can be seen on Universal via Vivo, or Sony via Radial. Search for John Fisher, Fit For A King
  • John Fisher is pictured right, clinking mugs with fellow musician Rob Arneil