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

REVIEW: Dancing at Lughnasa, Maddermarket

Dancing at Lughnasa, a play by Brian Friel and performed by Norwich Players, had its opening night on Friday at the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich.

The action takes place in Donegal, a remote corner of rural Eire, on a warm day in August 1936. It centres on the five Mundy sisters, the aunts and mother of seven-year-old Michael, in the house they all share near the small town of Ballybeg.

Life is very simple, the sisters live a hard but on the surface a satisfying life. The outside world is brought into their lives with a radio they nickname Marconi.

While Marconi’s battery lasts, the sisters enjoy music, dancing and the popular songs of the day. They are enthusiastic dancers and need little prompting to fling with joyous abandonment around the small kitchen. Then, two men come back into the quiet lives of the Mundy sisters – Father Jack, the priest who is their older brother and has been in Uganda for most of the lives of the sisters and, briefly, Gerry the father of Michael. Lughnasa is the name of the celebrations surrounding the bringing of the harvest home.

It has pagan roots mixed in with the rituals of the Catholic church, with which they conflict. The story of the action is strung together by the older Michael , Philip Rowe, who narrates from his memory of the time but as he also knows what the future held for all the characters its tinged with sadness and some regret. Altogether an unusual production which had us thinking about events long after the evening had ended. Well done Norwich Players a sensitive portrayal of an unusual drama.

Kevin and Sandra Stone

It’s a ‘mad’ challenge for Rebecca

Maddermarket general manager Rebecca Wass is taking on a huge challenge to raise much-needed funds for the threatre.

On Sunday (January 28) she will be running 48 miles along Pedders Way in 12 hours.

Rebecca felt the need to take on a super tough challenge to try and raise much needed funding to repair the heating system and toilets.

She said: “We are in need of vital funds to repair the building. With a quote of over £50,000 just for the toilets alone, I knew I had to do something.  The theatre holds a special place in the volunteers’ hearts and I know from talking to the actors, set painters and stewards that it is considered a second home. I wanted to try to find a way to help, not just from my role as GM but also as someone who loves the theatre. So I decided to find the biggest challenge I could. A friend suggested the Pedders Way, though I must admit I’m not sure if I will consider them a friend at the end of it.”

The challenge is to complete 48 miles by foot from Knettishall Heath to Holme next to the Sea in under 12 hours. “I know this is going to be really tough, the furthest I have done in training is 27 ½ miles but I did do two marathons in two days between Christmas and New Year. I have to admit that wasn’t a pleasant experience but I was back at work the following day, albeit it with a slight hobble,” said Rebecca. The challenge is even tougher as competitors have to carry all their supplies with them, including waterproofs, water and food as the checkpoints are 12 miles apart.  Rebecca is hoping the weather will be good and not snowing as it did two years ago.

The Maddermarket is a registered charity, and unlike other many other producing houses in the country, they do not receive funding from the Arts Council or the government and therefore rely on audiences buying tickets to see the shows.

The theatre is one of the largest producing houses in the UK with 12 in-house productions a year and therefore the costs mount up to keep the shows at such a high quality.

The theatre is a hive of activity and acts as a second home to a lot of volunteers, actors and educational students that are part of the team at the Theatre.

If you would like to sponsor Rebecca you can via her everyclick page or call into the theatre.

Contact the theatre for more info on 01603 626560