THE ANASTASIA FILE
Our next production will be The Anastasia Files by Royce Ryton. In the 1920s a woman was dragged from a canal in Berlin. Before long rumours start to spread that she is the Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of Tsar Nicolas II who somehow survived when the Imperial Family was massacred by the bolcheviks.
Although the woman at the centre of the story never makes any claims herself, she seems to have knowledge that would not be generally known and evidence begins to mount up suggesting that she is, indeed, Anastasia. But in that case, why do all her surviving relatives deny the possibility? This cleverly constructed play is part historical drama, part detective story, as it spans over 50 years.
Tickets will be on sale for this fascinating play very shortly from our online box office.
We first presented Abigail's Party 30 years ago when it was more or less a new play. Now it has acheived a cult status as a period piece that simply screams '70s'! We like to think we captured that sense of period, whether it was the wallpaper, the genuine 70s Scheppes tonic water bottles (which no-one in the audience will have noticed!), the costumes or just the way everyone seemed to spend half their lives smoking! If you didn't get to see the play hopefully the pictures will give you some idea of the effect we were looking for.
Amanda Bedwell as Beverly with (left) Carolyn Horsfield as Angela and (right) Tracy Skingley as Susan
Amanda Bedwell had the dual challenge of playing the enormous part of Beverly and having to live up to the iconic performance by Alison Steadman in the television version. She managed brilliantly, partly by avoiding the trap of trying to reproduce Steadman's performance and making Beverly her own character (and partly just by being brilliant!!)
Neil Smith joins the scene as Beverly's put-upon husband, Laurence
Of course, no play rests entirley on one actor's shoulders (unless it's a one-man show!) and Amanda was ably assisted by a superb cast; Neil Smith in his first role for the club as husband Laurence, Carolyn Horsfield as mousey neighbour Angela, Sean Staines as the solid but monosyllabic Tony and Tracy Skingley as single mum Susan, whose daughter Abigail is holding the party after which the play is named.
Sean Staines as Tony managing to look mean and moody, even in that shirt!
Backstage duties were headed up by stage manager Lucy Parrett and we must pay particular praise to the props team of Trish Clegg and Kristina Fleuty and the wardrobe ladies, Val Ryan and Lesley Anderson for helping create the 70s look.
The feedback from the audience was tremendous, the review in the local press terrific and on top of all that we managed to make a profit on the show, which is always a bonus - especially after paying out for all that 'period' wallpaper and even buying a brand new three piece suite!
In the autumn we will be presenting Oh What A Lovely War to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of World War One. This play has been heavily restricted for amateur performance due to the large number of professional revivals up and down the country, so we are very lucky to have secured the rights. This is the story of the war from the perspective of the generals, the ruling classes, the ordinary soldiers in the trenches and the people back home. It is a story of human sacrifice, of bravery, of humour and of incompetance told with the help of the popular songs of the day. This is a big project for us and we would be delighted to hear from anyone who is interested in taking part, especially young men. This is not a musical, it is a play with music and, as such, the ability to act far outweighs the need to be a singer - so don't be shy, get in contact by phoning 01621 892404 or by emailing us.