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Productions and Events Nailsea Little Theatre

Humble Boy by Charlotte Jones

14th - 19th February 2011

The famous actor Simon Russell Beale complained to writer Charlotte Jones that he had never had the chance to play Hamlet. Her response was to write him a Hamlet and this is it.

All is not well in the Humble hive. 35 year old Felix Humble is a Cambridge astro-physicist in search of a unified field theory. Following the sudden death of his father Felix returns to his middle England home and his difficult and demanding mother, where he soon realises that his search for unity must include his own chaotic life.

Cast: Ian Merryweather, Jose Tarnowski, Ginny Watts, Chris Cook, Bob Beale, Margaret Hobbs. Directed by Graham Tyson.

Last Tango in Little Grimley & The Fat Lady Sings in Little Grimley

9th - 14th May 2011

These two one act plays are cautionary tales about the Little Grimley Amateur Dramatic Society.

The Amatuer Dramatic Society has shrunk to only four members, George, Bernard, Margaret and Joyce. In last Tango the four heroes battle to save their ailing am-dram with a home grown sex comedy. Thus begins a chaotic and hilarious build-up to an evening of extraordinary drama which loclas will never forget.

The Fat lady sings see the querulous quartet finally trying to tackle a musical. The odds are stacked against them, the loclas who saw their last production are still in therapy, and a rival society has appeared on the scene. It all looks very grim for Little Grimley but it’s never over…..until the Fat Lady sings.

Cast: Bob Beale, Vicki Hyde, Terry Emm and Elaine Stewart. Directed by Pauline Tillett.

Hindoo Man by Tom Henry

17th - 22nd October 2011

This is a premiere of a play by Tom Henry, a Nailsea write and journalist. The play deals with the problems faced by the Lancaster Cotton Mills in the 1930s and the effect of India starting its own cotton industry. An actual historic visit to Darwen by Mahatma Ghandi is the background to the play. Although Ghandi himself does not appear in the play, the plot weaves around the impact of the visit made in 1931.


In the cast: Jose Tarnowski, Phil Lawrence, Julie Lawrence, Robin Richards, Terry Emm, Vicki Hyde and Elaine Stewart. The play was directed by Connie Walker.
It is the first time we have produced a totally new work, and this was quite a challenge.
Stage manager was Barrie Walker.

Murdered to Death by Peter Gordon

20th - 25th February 2012

This hilarious spoof of the best of Agatha Christie traditions is set in a country manor house in the 1930s, with an assembled cast of characters guaranteed to delight – Bunting the butler; an English Colonel with the prerequisite stiff upper lip; a shady French art dealer and his moll; the bumbling police inspector and a well-meaning local sleuth who seems to attract murder wherever she goes.

Directed by Graham Tyson and stage managed by Vicki Hyde the cast comprised Kathie Reynolds, Jan Winters, Peter Newman, Bob Beale, Jane Merryweather, Jose Tarnowski, Steve Allan, Ginny Watts, Robin Richards and Ian Merryweather.

CHRIS HARRIS and ’ARRIS’S MUSIC ’ALL

Monday 14th to Saturday 19th May 2012

CHRIS HARRIS and ’ARRIS’S MUSIC ’ALL

A peep back to yesteryear with fun, laughter and songs
for all. Designed for the young at heart, all you were
required to do was sit back and enjoy yourselves.

It was the perfect start to the Jubilee Celebrations

A well known local theatrical talent Nailsea Little Theatre was pleased and proud to welcome Chris Harris to present our last production the season.

Table Manners

22nd to the 27th October 2012

The opening show of our Golden Jubilee Season was a revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s Table Manners. Last performed at Nailsea Little Theatre in 1990 and indeed the first full production in our own premises this play is one of the renowned Norman Conquests trilogy. The action takes place over a weekend during which Reg and Sarah arrive to enable the overworked Annie to get away. Unbeknown to them however and indeed to Norman’s wife Ruth and her long suffering friend Tom the break is an assignation with the hapless Norman. Needless to say, little goes to plan.

Director – Graham Tyson. Stage Manager Vicki Hyde.

Cast – Annie – Julie Lawrence, Sarah – Jose Tarnowski,
Tom – Ian Merryweather, Reg – Terry Emm, Norman – Steve Allan and Ruth – Jan Winters.

The Lady in the Van

4th to the 9th February 2013

The Lady in the Van describes Alan Bennett’s very odd long-term relationship with “Miss Shepherd”. Miss S. first came to the attention of Bennett in the late 1960s. She and her immobile van were to be found in his Camden Town neighborhood, parked ever-closer to Bennett’s home. Eventually he succumbed and permitted her to park it in his own drive where it remained until her death in 1989. Funny and poignant in a way only Alan Bennett can convey this proved to be both a challenging and rewarding production.

Director – Bob Beale. Stage Manager – Nigel Guy

Cast – Miss Shepherd – Elaine Stewart, Alan Bennetts – Tom Henry & Phil Lawrence, Mam – Pat Kelly, Rufus – Peter Newman, Pauline – Jane Merryweather, Social Worker – Vicki Hyde, Underwood/Man/Ambulance Driver – Steve Allan, Mam’s Doctor/Interviewer Jose Tarnowski, Doctor/Leo Fairchild – Robin Richards, Additional Characters – Nigel Guy and Bob Beale.

Theft

13th to the 18th May 2013

Our third production for this season was Theft by Eric Chappell. This play enjoyed two successful tours of the UK, starring George Cole, Roy Hudd and Leslie Grantham. On returning from a night out two couples discover a burglar and apprehend him. They soon begin to wish they hadn’t as he commences to disrupt two seemingly happy marriages and reveal certain uncomfortable truths about their honesty.

Director – Connie Walker. Stage Manager – Barrie Walker.

Cast – Trevor Farrington – Robin Richards, John Miles – Tony Sutcliffe, Jenny Farrington – Isobel Williams, Barbara Miles – Janice Winters and Spriggs – Terry Emm.

Dancing at Lughnasa

21st - 26th October 2013

Our Golden Jubilee production and the first of the 2013 – 2014 Season was directed by Graham Tyson. Graham’s choice of play was a revival of Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel.

Dancing at Lughnasa held fond memories for many of us. It was first presented by Nailsea Theatre Club in the 1990’s at the Scotch Horn. Our Little Theatre offered a much smaller stage on which to perform, but the intimate atmosphere enhanced the magical feel of this play. Lughnasa offered a wonderful opportunity for the ladies as Friel provided strong, warm and funny characters to work with. The three male roles were also well observed.

Graham directed the play originally and it was perhaps rather fitting that one of NLT’s founder members was in charge of our Golden Jubilee production. In addition to Graham the team comprised Barrie Walker as Stage Manager and the cast of Michael – Ian Merryweather, Kate – Ginny Watts, Maggie – Vicki Hyde, Rose – Connie Walker, Agnes – Jan Winters, Chris – Julie Lawrence, Gerry – Steve Allan and Jack – Terry Emm.

Ladies' Day

3rd - 8th February 2014

Our second show of the 2013 – 2014 Season was Ladies’ Day by Amanda Whittington, an exuberant comedy about four likely lasses from the Hull fish docks on a day trip to the races.

Directed by Pauline Tillett, Ladies’ Day recounted the fact that work, love and life were just one long, hard slog for the fish-filleting foursome Pearl, Jan, Shelley and Linda. However, their fortunes changed when Linda found tickets to Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot the year it relocated to York.

Out went the hairnets, overalls and wellies as the four ditched work, did themselves up to the nines and headed off to the races for a drink, a flirt and a flutter!

Under Pauline’s direction were the cast of Pearl – Pat Kelly, Jan – Jan Winters, Shelley – Bronya Manley, Linda – Sarah Vokins, Joe – Richard Guy, Fred – Terry Emm, Jim – Richard Guy, Patrick – Robin Richards, Kevin – Terry Emm and Barry – Richard Guy. Stage Manager was Nigel Guy.

Audacity

12th - 17th May 2014

Our third show of the 2013 – 2014 Season was Audacity by Simon Mawdsley. Audacity is the tale of Philip, John and Dave – three down-at-heel salesmen – who meet in a dingy bedsit flat and hatch a plan to rob a West-End department store of its daily takings. The scheme seems to be going well – until Dave and John’s wives join forces to investigate their husbands’ odd behaviour.

This fast-paced, comedy thriller was published by Samuel French in 2007 and has subsequently been performed all over the world.

Directed by Connie Walker the cast comprised Phillip – Matthew Denning, John – Robin Richards, Dave – Terry Emm, Gillian – Jan Winters and Gemma – Fiona Barras. Stage Manager was Barrie Walker.

Abigails Party

19th - 25th October 2014

Our first Show of the 2014 – 2015 Season was Abigail’s Party by Mike Leigh. A play for stage and television devised and directed in 1977 by Mike Leigh it has become an iconic satire on the aspirations and tastes of the new middle class that emerged in Britain in the 1970s.

The play developed in lengthy improvisations and the production opened in April 1977 at the Hampstead Theatre and returned after its initial run in the summer of 1977. A recording was arranged at the BBC as a Play for Today, produced by Margaret Matheson, and transmitted in November 1977 with Alison Steadman in the leading role. Recently revived in the professional theatre the play has now been released for amateur performance.

Directed by Vicki Hyde the cast comprised Beverley – Julie Lawrence, Laurence – Tony Sutcliffe, Angela – Charlie Delahunty, Tony – Steve Allan and Susan – Jan Winters. Stage Manager was Barrie Walker.

Snake In The Grass

9th - 14th February 2015

Our second play of the 2014 – 2015 Season was Snake In The Grass by Alan Ayckbourn. Premièred in 2002 the play, a thriller, concerns a middle-aged older sister who returns to the family home, still that of her younger sister, shortly after the death of their abusive father. All is not well however and a sinister plot ensues!

Directed by Bob Beale the cast comprised Annabel Chester – Ginny Watts, Alice Moody – Pat Kelly and Miriam Chester – Jan Winters. Stage Manager was Nigel Guy.

Day After The Fair

18th - 23rd May 2015

Our third production for 2014/2015 was a revival of Day After The Fair by Frank Harvey. First performed at NLT some twenty five years ago the play is based on Thomas Hardy’s “On The Western Circuit”. Anna, a servant, meets an attractive stranger, Charles, a Barrister from London, at the county fair. Anna, being illiterate, persuades her mistress to carry on a correspondence with him on her behalf. When Charles proposes marriage, the question arises – who is he in love with, the girl he’s met, or the writer of the letters?

Directed by Connie Walker the cast comprised, Edith Harnham – Isobel Williams, Arthur Harnham – Terry Emm, Letty Harnham – Jan Winters, Anna – Sarah Andrieu, Charles Bradford – Robin Richards and Sarah – Maggie Richardson. Stage Manager was Barrie Walker.

The Cemetery Club

12th - 17th October 2015

Our first Show of the 2015/2016 Season was a revival of “The Cemetery Club” by Ivan Menchell. The play opened on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in 1990 and was first performed by NLT in 2003. Subsequently transformed into a successful film the play charts the relationship between Ida, Lucille and Doris, three Jewish widows who meet once a month for tea before going to visit their husbands’ graves. This custom, which has been going on for over three years, is beginning to wane but their lives are suddenly changed when they meet up with Sam the butcher, a widower. The budding romance between Ida and Sam is discouraged by Lucille and Doris but they are guilt stricken when this nearly breaks Ida’s heart. A sensitive play full of wonderful humour and at times quite poignant.

Directed by Graham Tyson, assisted by Vicki Hyde the cast comprised, Ida – Ginny Watts, Lucille – Jose Tarnowski, Doris – Connie Walker, Sam – Peter Newman and Mildred – Shirley Gregory. Stage Manager was Barrie Walker.

Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis

29th February - 5th March 2016

Our second Show of the 2015/2016 Season was Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis by Charlotte Jones.

A feel-good comedy, it focused on Josie Botting, a retiring dominatrix, who was having a birthday party but was in no mood to celebrate, with her cleaner, obsessive-compulsive Martha, who cannot pry herself away from her Mr. Sheen, the Chinese Elvis who looks the part but hasn’t quite learned the words and Lionel, Josie’s most satisfied customer, there to make sure everything went off with a bang!
Charlotte Jones (writer of Humble Boy, also performed by NLT) produced a compelling play full of quirky characters which won the Pearson Television Best Play Award for 1998 and Manchester Evening News Best New Play for 1999. It also contributed to Charlotte Jones winning the Critics Circle Most Promising Playwright Award 1999.

Directed by Vicki Hyde the cast comprised, Brenda-Marie Botting – Julie Lawrence-Allan, Martha Clear – Jan Winters, Josie Botting – Josie Tarnowski, Lionel Trills – Terry Emm, Elvis / Timothy – Steve Allan and Louise – Charlie Delahunty. Stage Manager was Barrie Walker.

Entertaining Angels

6th - 11th June 2016

Our third Show of the 2015/2016 Season was “Entertaining Angels”, by Richard Everett.

This much acclaimed comedy was a sell-out with it’s UK national tour and had been performed all over the world. The play, set in a classic English vicarage garden, was filled with sharp-edge comedy and probing wit. As a clergy wife, Grace had spent a lifetime on best behaviour. However, following the recent death of her husband, she began to enjoy the new found freedom of being able to do and say exactly as she pleased. But the return of her eccentric missionary sister, together with some disturbing revelations forced Grace to confront the truth of her marriage.

Directed by Connie Walker the cast comprised, Grace – Jan Winters, Ruth – Vicki Hyde, Bardolph – Robin Richards, Jo – Katy Moody and Sarah – Isobel Williams. The Stage Manager was Barrie Walker.

Talking Heads and Deckchairs

17th - 21st October 2016

Our opening Show of the 2016/2017 Season comprised two of the Deckchairs series (Outdoor Pleasures and Remember Me) by Jean McConnell, directed by Connie Walker and two Alan Bennett monologues, Her Big Chance directed by Vicki Hyde and Soldiering On, directed by Graham Tyson. The Stage Manager was Barrie Walker

Cast

Remember Me : Sarah – Jan Winters, Eizabeth – Isobel Williams

Her Big Chance : Katy Moody

Soldiering On : Jose Tarnowski

Remember Me : Aunt Tottie – Jan Winters, Deirdre – Isobel Williams

Breezeblock Park

27th February - 4th March 2017

NLT’s second production of the 2016/17 Season was Breezeblock Park by Willy Russell. Originally commissioned in 1975, Willy Russell’s Breezeblock Park is at once painfully funny and sharply moving. The play is set on a Liverpool housing estate at Christmas when a close-knit Liverpool family gather for the festivities. However, beneath the glitzy gift wrap, tinsel and fairy lights lie concealed jealousies, a secret and petty squabbles and the festivities slowly start to unravel!

Directed and Stage Managed by Vicki Hyde the cast comprised, Betty – Jan Winters, Syd – Steve Harrison, Sandra – Katy Moody, Vera – Julie Lawrence-Allan, Tommy – Steve Allan, Reeny – Ginny Watts, Ted – Terry Emm, John – Alex Telling and Tim – Darren Burrett.

Life and Beth

22nd - 27th May 2017

NLT’s final Show of the 2016/2017 Season was Life and Beth by Alan Ayckbourn. Dating from 2008 the play featured recently widowed Beth, hosting her first family Christmas since her husband’s Gordon’s death. However, a visit and prayer from the local vicar brought an unwelcome and unexpected Christmas visitor to the house!

Directed by Robin Richards the cast comprised, Beth – Jose Tarnowski, Gordon – Tony Sutcliffe, Martin – Darren Burnett, Ella – Kate Moody, Connie – Lisa Grant, David – Steve Harrison, Man’s Voice – Nigel Guy and Woman’s Voice – Pat Kelly. The Stage Manager was Nigel Guy.

The Odd Couple (Female Version)

16th - 21st October 2017

NLT’s first Show of the 2017/2018 Season was the Odd Couple (Female Version) by Neil Simon. Florence Unger and Olive Madison took over the personae in Neil Simon’s hilarious female version of The Odd Couple. Substituted for the poker party that begins the original, the girls were invited over for an evening of Trivial Pursuit. The Pidgeon sisters were replaced by the Constanzuela brothers but the pace and comic genius of the original was preserved.

The female version of The Odd Couple was first presented on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre on June 11, 1985 and at NLT in February 2001! Directed by Graham Tyson the cast comprised, Mickey – Isobel Williams, Sylvia – Katy Moody, Renee – Connie Walker, Vera – Ginny Watts, Olive Madison – Jose Tarnowski, Florence Unger – Jan Winters, Manolo Costazuela – Tony Sutcliffe and Jesus Costazuela – Darren Burrett. The Stage Manager was Barrie Walker.