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Talented youngsters perform Great War musical drama

Young actors have stepped back in time to the First World War for a musical drama about conflict and comradeship – on the battlefield and in their home town.

The Battle of Boat looks at the friendships and tensions among youngsters in a seaside community as their friend goes off to fight for king and country.

The cast, mostly aged between 16 and eight, are from the Sheringham Little Theatre’s youth group. They have been putting the finishing touches to the drama ahead of opening night this Thursday (September 22).

An all-action script, brimming with powerful music, looks at how the teenagers’ desire to join their soldier friend sees them try recruitment, an air ship and a home-made boat – amid opposition from a suspicious rival gang.

The show, directed by the experienced Adrian Connell, runs from September 20-22 (7.30pm and Saturday 2.30pm matinee). Tickets and information from 01263 822347 or www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com.

Youngsters rehearsing The Battle of Boat.
PICTURE: RICHARD BATSON

 

REVIEW: Don’t Dress for Dinner, Sheringham Rep

The Summer Rep season at Sheringham Little Theatre is always a delight of treats throughout August and this year is no exception.

Don’t Dress for Dinner launched the summer season at Sheringham Little Theatre on Thursday, July 26, and shows now run until September 5.

Set in the French countryside two hours from Paris, Don’t Derss for Dinner is a fast-moving, hilarious, typical farce, full of double meanings, mistaken identities and amorous intentions. The story centres on a married couple and a weekend where they are both intending to spend the time with their respective lovers, unknown to each others.

Into the mix comes the cook, Suzette (Lauren Verrier), whom Bernard (Steve Banks) has employed for the evening while he is entertaining his lover Suzanne (Sarah Langton). His wife, Jaqueline (Naomi Bullock), was meant to be visiting her mother but was secretly spending time with her lover, Robert (Matt Jamie). Plans go awry and they all end up in the same house trying to keep their respective secrets, which results in hilarious confusion and sharp banter.

A very entertaining and fun evening which the audience enjoyed and appreciated. If you have missed this production there are more to come from the rep company at Sheringham Little Theatre.

Kevin and Sandra Stone

 

 

 

Gretel takes a new direction at Sheringham Little Theatre

Directing a drama is a tick on the “bucket list” of battling cancer patient Gretel Brice.
She is at the helm of a youth musical production of the classic story Little Women, an empowering tale of a strong mum fighting adversity to bring up her daughters.
And, with her own daughters Megan and Matilda in the cast at theatres in Sheringham and Great Yarmouth, the show is a poignant and inspirational one for the family, as well as other people with cancer.
Gretel, 49, has had a busy 30-year career in social services, mental and alternative health,and followed her passion for music and dance as a teacher.
But, while running her own complementary health business, a diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer in March last year, saw her become a patient rather than a healer.
Her treatment included losing many organs in a life-saving 10-hour operation plus four months of chemotherapy.
“It was tough. I lost my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, and my whole body felt as if it was being poisoned but I was not prepared to lie in bed and suffer,” said Gretel, who lives near Happisburgh.
“I gardened my way through the impacts of chemo to push it through my system and alleviate the symptoms more quickly,” she explained.
As Gretel got stronger, friend Debbie Thompson, director of Sheringham Little Theatre, asked her to chaperone youngsters at the panto.
It led to Gretel choreographing a youth production of Bugsy Malone this spring, and now to direct Little Women from July 5-7. She also teaches dance and drama at St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth, where the show will be staged on July 8.
“I was still in pain through Bugsy and have suffered some memory loss through the chemo – so remembering the dance steps meant extra work and lots of determination,” said Gretel.
“But dancing makes my soul dance, and the more I did it, the easier it became. It has been therapeutic – physically, mental and emotionally – and has rebuilt my confidence.”
Book tickets at www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com, 01263 822347.

PICTURE: RICHARD BATSON

Rigoletto – live from the Royal Opera House (in Sheringham)

Sheringham Little Theatre is giving opera lovers the chance to see one of Verdi’s best, live from Covent Garden at an encore matinee showing on Sunday, January 21.

Although premiered in 1851 in Venice, the storyline could have been written for today’s cinema and is packed with memorable and well-known melodies and a thriller-like plot combining corruption and lust with love, intrigue, revenge and tragedy.

If you love La Traviata, La Boheme and Madama Butterfly you will love Rigoletto and for the best seat in the house at Covent Garden it would cost you £185 (at the time of writing almost every seat is sold), whereas the best view of the performance is the relay at the Little Theatre where a seat will cost you £15. The show starts at 2pm.

Book on 01263 822347 or choose your seat online at www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

Norman Lamb to attend screening of award-winning documentary in Sheringham

MP for North Norfolk, Norman Lamb will be attending a special screening of the feature documentary film Unrest at  Sheringham Little Theatre this evening.

The film, made by Harvard PhD Jennifer Brea, tracks her own story and that of her partner Omar, as they are both struck down with a severe virus.  Whilst Omar rapidly recovers, Jennifer ends up bed bound with mysterious symptoms which are initially misdiagnosed as being psychosomatic, then eventually diagnosed as being due to ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

The award-winning, Oscar short-listed film tracks this young, fiercely intelligent couple’s love story as the pair grapple with Jennifer’s chronic illness diagnosis and their attempts to both find answers to how she can regain her health, whilst also changing the culture surrounding this most stigmatised of diseases.  Follow Jennifer and Omar’s journey in this documentary about their lives together and those of many other severely affected ME/CFS patients who Jennifer connects with online from her bed.

This screening has been organised in conjunction with the Sheringham ME/CFS Support Group, who are the only ME/CFS Support Group based specifically in North Norfolk (although other groups do cover the whole county).  The condition is thought to affect as many as 6,000 patients in Norfolk alone and as many as 250,000 patients across the UK.  The screening will be attended by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, who will give a brief talk to the audience after the film.

It starts at 6.15pm.  Call the box office on 01263 822347.

Panto puts smile on face of theatre as well as audiences

Sellout panto shows at Sheringham have provided a bonus to the coffers of the town’s Little Theatre.

Nearly 8,000 people saw 43 shows of the Wizard of Oz over the festive period. Many performances were sold out and there was a waiting list for ticket cancellations.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “The panto has been a tremendous success. Takings were above budget – which is a huge help as panto and summer drama are the most commercially important seasons we have and support our other activities during the year.

“Audience feedback was that it was the best panto yet – with a brilliant script, lots of energy and magical elements such as the projection work, sets and puppets. We are sorry if people could not get tickets, but would encourage them to book early for the next panto,” she added.

The 2018 panto will be Beauty and the Beast running from December 7 to January 1 and using the same creative team as this year, headed by director Nick Earnshaw. Tickets will go on sale in March.

Now the Emerald City has disappeared from the stage, events at the venue in early 2018 range from amateur drama, an opera screening, and jazz, to magic, a romantic Valentine’s cinema supper club and a fun family show.

In March (1-3) there is also a three-day festival weekend of Ealing Comedy films (Lavender Hill Mob, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Passport to Pimlico, Man in the White Suit and Whisky Galore).

Other highlights include:

January 19-20 – Alan Ayckbourn’s Confusions by Stage Direct

January 21 – Rigoletto screening from the Royal Opera House

January 28 – Jazz from the Red Shadow Quartet

February 6 – Morgan and West Time Travelling Magicians.

February 10 – Bowjangles music inspired by Myths and Legends

February 14 – Love Story movie (Ryan O’Neil and Ali McGraw) with optional pre-booked supper

February 15 – Rhymes for Revolting Children, cheeky songs poems and comedy for the family

February 21-24 – Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit by CSODS

For more information and tickets visit www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com or call the box office on 01263 822347.

Fun from the successful Wizard of Oz panto at Sheringham Little Theatre.
Picture: Matt Coomber

REVIEW: Wizard of Oz, Sheringham Little Theatre

It’s panto time at Sheringham Little Theatre and its a real cracker of a show oh yes it is!

The season opened with a matinee on Saturday, December 9. The audience in the packed theatre was whisked away by a tornado from Kansas to the Emerald City in the land of Oz and back again.

The opening sequence where Dorothy (Hana Stewart) and Toto her little dog are whisked away from the farm on the oncoming gathering tornado made a  spectacular scene.

It’s a fast-moving show with plenty of great audience participation throughout and the story was easy to follow for all the children in the audience.

Loraine Metcalfe was a deliciously wicked witch of the west and was boo’d every time she made an appearance. There was also Glinda the witch of the north (Shane Armstrong), who was good and kind to Dorothy. Three great favourites with the audience are the Scarecrow, Lion, and at the Tin Man. Scarecrow was funny and loveable, played with great talent by Harry Williams, his companions along the Yellow Brick Road, the romantic Tin Man (Kyle Fraser) and courageous Lion with a very long tail (Rik Warren), all had the audience enthralled as they went on their journey to find what they were all seeking.

It’s a truly fantastic show and has a lovely leading lady with a beautiful singing voice, great music and young dancers. It all goes to make the best start to the Christmas season. OH YES IT DOES.

“It’s magic,” said Finley, aged 10 years . “Really great,” added said Dylan aged seven. The best ever, say us and well done SLT,  you have done it again. Wonderful.

Kevin and Sandra Stone plus Finley and Dylan

REVIEW: Farndale at Sheringham

The first night of the Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society (CSODS) production of We Found Love and an Exquisite Set of Porcelain Figurines Aboard the SS Farndale avenue showed off the company’s great talent.

To deliberately act badly requires a great skill which the members of CSODS managed to pull off well, although there was now and again times where the acting seemed to lose direction.

The play, by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jn, is one of a series of comedy-farce plays featuring the exploits of a group of members of an amateur dramatic society and their ventures into the world of the thirties musical comedy.

The three ladies of the Farnsdale Townswomens Guild Dramatic Society, played by CSODS members Chrissie Robertson, Nona Gray, Kerry Davis and also including the very funny Nick Bird, attempt to bring the elegance, glamour and enchantment of a thirties musical to the stage.

This is a riot of a performance – collapsing scenery, a man cast as a woman, a woman cast as a man, romantic interludes between unlikely couples, a sea captain with a full beard wearing a skirt and heels, a very questionable underwater sequence and shipwreck on a tropical island. The ladies of the Farndale Avenue Dramatic Society certainly carry on regardless and rise above the terrible acting and dubious scenery to bring the thirties back to the stage.

Once again a good performance by CSODS at Sheringham Little Theatre.

Kevin and Sandra Stone