Award-Winning Composer Howard Goodall sends Good Luck Message to Playgoers

March 24, 2014

BAFTA-winning composer Howard Goodall has sent a personal good luck message to the director and cast of his musical ‘Love Story’ which receives its Welsh premiere at the Dolman Theatre in April.

It’s love at first sight for Oliver (David Constant) and Jenny (Eloise Rossiter) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

It’s love at first sight for Oliver (David Constant) and Jenny (Eloise Rossiter) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Mr Goodall, whose musicals have won many international awards, took time off from composing his latest work, to write to Steve Bissex-Williams who is directing the musical version of the hit 1970s tear-jerker.

“I was really pleased to receive the letter from such an illustrious composer who has won EMMY, BRIT and BAFTAs for his choral music, stage musicals, film and TV scores such as ‘Blackadder’ and ‘The Vicar of Dibley’,” said Steve. “He apologised for missing our production but he’ll be busy in France writing his latest musical.”

Mr Goodall wrote, “I hope you could pass on to the company my very best wishes for the opening night and the subsequent performances in Newport. I am touched that your interest in the piece stretches back to its first incarnation at the Minerva Chichester.

The cast rehearse with musical director Jeff Davies at the piano. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The cast rehearse with musical director Jeff Davies at the piano. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“’Love Story’ presents a fair few challenges for its performers, especially those playing Jenny and Oliver who are more or less never off stage, and for the emotional stamina of its audience but I do hope that your players and audience alike will find it also surprisingly good-humoured, even funny, before its closing stages. Oddly enough, for a show with such a famously sad ending, we were a very happy crew putting it together in Chichester and London and enjoyed many a laugh in the rehearsal room. I very much hope that same has been true of your Newport company and you might have been encouraged by the experience to try on another occasion one of my other musicals with sad endings!

Smiles hide a secret heartache when Oliver (David Constant) and Jenny (Eloise Rossiter) marry. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Smiles hide a secret heartache when Oliver (David Constant) and Jenny (Eloise Rossiter) marry. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“So break some collective legs and here’s to a great success for you all. Again, thank you for bringing Love Story to Welsh audiences with such obvious dedication and enthusiasm.”

Based on the best-selling novel by Erich Segal, the musical tells of a rich boy, Oliver, who falls in love with a poor girl, Jenny. He is a Harvard graduate who comes from a wealthy family, Jenny is a working-class, quick-witted student. He is sporty, she plays music. The two decide to marry against the wishes of Oliver’s father who severs all ties with his son and cuts off his financial support. The couple struggle to survive as Oliver works his way through Harvard Law School.

‘Love Story – The Musical’ is at the Dolman Theatre from Wednesday 2 – Saturday 5 April at 7.15 pm, with an extra matinee performance on the Saturday at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.


Welsh Premiere for Musical Version of ‘Love Story’

March 9, 2014
It’s love at first sight for Oliver (David Constant) and Jenny (Eloise Rossiter) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

It’s love at first sight for Oliver (David Constant) and Jenny (Eloise Rossiter) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The classic 1970s tear-jerker ‘Love Story’ has been turned into a musical – and will be making its Welsh premiere at the Dolman Theatre in April.

The new musical version, inspired by Erich Segal’s best-selling iconic novel, is being presented by Newport Playgoers as part of their 91st season.

One of the most romantic films of all time, it tells the moving story of Oliver Barrett IV who went to Harvard and Jenny Cavilleri, a student at the less well-to-do Radcliffe.

The cast rehearse with musical director Jeff Davies at the piano. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The cast rehearse with musical director Jeff Davies at the piano. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The musical has been adapted from the highly successful tear-jerking romantic film of the same name which starred Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw – and made famous the inspired line “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”.

"Love means never having to say you're sorry." (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“We’re proud to be the first in Wales to present this musical version of a much-loved classic,” said director Steve Bissex-Williams.

“It has all the ingredients for a classic love story and the music for this revised version is by Howard Goodall, an EMMY, BRIT and BAFTA-winning composer of choral music, stage musicals, film and TV scores (including ‘Blackadder’ and ‘The Vicar of Dibley’). His musicals have won many international awards, including Ivor Novello and TMA Awards for Best Musical.

The crowd goes wild when Oliver plays in a tense ice hockey game. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The crowd goes wild when Oliver plays in a tense ice hockey game. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“It tells of a rich boy, Oliver, who falls in love with a poor girl, Jenny. He is a Harvard graduate who comes from a wealthy family, she is a working-class, quick-witted student. He is sporty, she plays music.

A brawl in the ice hockey game leaves Oliver (David Constant) needing attention from the doctor (Peter Bourne) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

A brawl in the ice hockey game leaves Oliver (David Constant) needing attention from the doctor (Peter Bourne) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“The two decide to marry against the wishes of Oliver’s father who severs all ties with his son and cuts off his financial support. The couple struggle to survive as Oliver works his way through Harvard Law School. Their romance is as poignant as it is enriching, as sweet as it is intense. The musical version of ‘Love Story’ will win your heart – and it might just break it.”

‘Love Story – The Musical’  will be making its Welsh premiere at the Dolman Theatre from Wednesday 2 – Saturday 5 April at 7.15 pm, with an extra matinee performance on the Saturday at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.

Smiles hide a secret heartache when Oliver (David Constant) and Jenny (Eloise Rossiter) marry. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Smiles hide a secret heartache when Oliver (David Constant) and Jenny (Eloise Rossiter) marry. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)


Sherlock Holmes Confronts Horror in Theatreland

February 11, 2014

Sherlock Holmes (James Reynolds) and Dr Watson (James Symonds) prepare to investigate. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Sherlock Holmes (James Reynolds) and Dr Watson (James Symonds) prepare to investigate. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

There’s a killer on the loose in the West End of fog-shrouded Victorian London. Aspiring playwright George Bernard Shaw decides it’s a case for celebrated sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr Watson to investigate.

Inspector Lestrade (Richard Dymond) points the way for a young copper (Aidan Thomas) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Inspector Lestrade (Richard Dymond) points the way for a young copper (Aidan Thomas) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

In ‘Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror’, Playgoers New Generation (PNG) present a cavalcade of famous names from the era. Oscar Wilde, Gilbert and Sullivan, Bram Stoker and a young H.G. Wells all fall under suspicion when a despised theatre critic is brutally murdered.

Oscar Wilde (Ryan Salter) entertains Bosie (Aidan Thomas) and his friend Hopkins (Tim Hawken) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Oscar Wilde (Ryan Salter) entertains Bosie (Aidan Thomas) and his friend Hopkins (Tim Hawken) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The game’s afoot as Holmes and Watson pursue the killer in this rollickingly funny whodunnit – and come face to face with their own celebrity.

This latest production by PNG follows on from their highly successful adaptation of ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ and features many familiar faces.

Mrs Hudson (Ann Kelly) listens as Holmes (James Reynolds) plays his violin. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Mrs Hudson (Ann Kelly) listens as Holmes (James Reynolds) plays his violin. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“We try to be inclusive in PNG,” said founder member James Reynolds who plays Sherlock. “So as well as younger people we have guest appearances by some of Playgoers’ finest actors such as Richard Dymond, Ann Kelly and Graeme Johnson, all of whom will be well known to regulars at the Dolman Theatre.

The cream of London society enjoy the opening night of a new play - not realising a killer is on the loose. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The cream of London society enjoy the opening night of a new play – not realising a killer is on the loose. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“This play is a very witty take on the Sherlock Holmes stories which we’re sure audiences will find intriguing and highly entertaining.”

‘Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror’ by Anthony Dodge and Marcia Milgrom Dodge is at the Dolman Theatre from 6  – 7  March at 7.15 pm, with a matinee performance on Saturday 8  March at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.

The play is presented by special arrangement with Playscripts.Inc.

Inspector Lestrade (Richard Dymond) and Dr Eccles (Graeme Johnson) examine murder victim Jessie Rutland (Rachel Fenwick) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Inspector Lestrade (Richard Dymond) and Dr Eccles (Graeme Johnson) examine murder victim Jessie Rutland (Rachel Fenwick) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)


Sixties Shocker Comes to the Dolman Theatre

January 22, 2014

Nymphomania, transvestism, incest, blackmail and bribery are just a few of the ingredients of next month’s offering from Newport Playgoers.

Dr Prentice (Chris Bissex) needs to be restrained by his assistant (Stuart Moss) when he tries to examine new secretary Geraldine (Chloe Williams) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Dr Prentice (Chris Bissex) needs to be restrained by his assistant (Stuart Moss) when he tries to examine new secretary Geraldine (Chloe Williams) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

What The Butler Saw was the last play by Joe Orton, a playwright who loved to shock.

In fact, when it was first produced, this play appalled and enraged audiences with its blatant sexuality and attacks on authority and conventional morality.

Mrs Prentice (Nicky Davies) is shocked when she sees Police Sergeant Match (Stuart Moss) is only wearing his helmet. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Mrs Prentice (Nicky Davies) is shocked when she sees Police Sergeant Match (Stuart Moss) is only wearing his helmet. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

 

Set in a private psychiatric clinic, this black farce features a range of zany characters including a naked bellboy from a nearby hotel, a young woman looking for a secretarial job who ends up used, abused, and naked, a philandering husband, a sexually hungry wife, and a doctor from headquarters who is crazier than everyone and sees sexual perversity in any situation.

Geraldine (Chloe Williams) ends up naked when she is interviewed for a job at a psychiatric clinic (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Geraldine (Chloe Williams) ends up naked when she is interviewed for a job at a psychiatric clinic (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“Orton used the new found freedoms of the 1960s to take a surreal look at the world around him, fusing witty word-play with a lunatic zeal,” says the play’s director Ray Stone. “This play, which many regard as one of the funniest ever written, still has the power to shock and have us roaring with laughter.”

What The Butler Saw’ is at the Dolman Theatre from 19 – 22 February at 7.15 pm, with an extra matinee performance on the Saturday at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.  


Radio’s Top Secret Agent Takes to the Stage

December 13, 2013
Danger for Dick Barton (Kevin Myers) as Baron Scarheart (Steve Saunders) creeps up on him. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Danger for Dick Barton (Kevin Myers) as Baron Scarheart (Steve Saunders) creeps up on him. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Long before James Bond there was only one secret agent who grabbed the public’s imagination – Dick Barton.

The nation was enthralled by his adventures on the “wireless” as he battled against a legion of dastardly villains.

Now, these tales of derring-do are being recreated on the stage of the Dolman Theatre when Newport Playgoers present ‘Dick Barton – Special Agent’.

The BBC Announcer (Richard Dymond) gets a fright from the sound effects man (Bruce Campbell) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The BBC Announcer (Richard Dymond) gets a fright from the sound effects man (Bruce Campbell) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Written as a parody of the 1940s radio series complete with cliff-hanger endings and song and dance routines, this show has something to appeal to those who remember the original series and younger members who have yet to experience the thrill of the Devil’s Gallop!

Audiences will enjoy the laughs as thrills as Dick, along with his trusty sidekicks Jock and Snowy, sets out to thwart the forces of evil whose plot to poison Britain’s tea supply threatens the very future of the nation.

Marta Heartburn (Ros Jones-Griffiths) cracks the whip. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Marta Heartburn (Ros Jones-Griffiths) cracks the whip. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Dick and his chums find themselves tangled in an adventure soaked with intrigue and mystery, as they face arch enemies Marta Heartburn and Baron Scarheart – all the while finding the time to sing a few songs along the way – and save the day!

A tense moment for Dick Barton (Kevin Myers) when Scarheart (Steve Saunders) pulls a gun on him. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

A tense moment for Dick Barton (Kevin Myers) when Scarheart (Steve Saunders) pulls a gun on him. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

 ‘Dick Barton – Special Agent’ is at the Dolman Theatre from 15 – 18 January 2014 at 7.15 pm, with an extra matinee performance on the Saturday at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit dolmantheatre.co.uk.  

Daphne (Nicola Carlyle) and Jock (John Sheen) are captured by Baron Scarheart (Steve Saunders) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Daphne (Nicola Carlyle) and Jock (John Sheen) are captured by Baron Scarheart (Steve Saunders) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Baron Scarheart (Steve Saunders) plots a fiendish plan with Marta Heartburn (Ros Jones-Griffiths) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Baron Scarheart (Steve Saunders) plots a fiendish plan with Marta Heartburn (Ros Jones-Griffiths) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Actor’s Hair-raising Role Raises £500 for Charity as He Goes Bald for Vicar of Dibley!

November 11, 2013

A leading light of local amateur theatre has raised £500 for charity by having his head shaved for his role in ‘The Vicar of Dibley’.

Jerry Grummit (centre) is congratulated by the cast of ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ (left to right) John Davies, Peter Bourne, Karen Davies, Ryan Salter, Rachel Fenwick, and Chris Edmunds. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Jerry Grummit (centre) is congratulated by the cast of ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ (left to right) John Davies, Peter Bourne, Karen Davies, Ryan Salter, Rachel Fenwick, and Chris Edmunds. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Jerry Grummit, who plays snobby David Horton in the stage version of the hit sitcom, had to lose his hair as there are many jokes about his character being bald.

So, he thought he’d use the hair-raising experience to raise money for the Mcmillan Nurses charity.

Jerry Grummit, in his role as haughty David Horton, prior to having his head shaved for charity. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Jerry Grummit, in his role as haughty David Horton, prior to having his head shaved for charity. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“I thought it was a very worthwhile cause as it provides invaluable support for cancer sufferers and their families,” said 57-year-old Jerry who lives in Blackwood. “So far, through sponsorship I’ve raised £500 and hope to make it even more.”

Jerry, who is an Openreach Works Controller with BT, has been involved in amateur theatre for over 35 years and has played a variety of roles, but admits that being in ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ has been most fun.

“This is my first part with Newport Playgoers and everyone has been so very warm and welcoming I’ve felt really at home.

Jerry Grummit in action onstage with Karen Davies who plays Rev Geraldine Granger. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Jerry Grummit in action onstage with Karen Davies who plays Rev Geraldine Granger. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“My character is a very stuffy person and much of the comedy revolves around his strait-laced attitude to everything – particularly the arrival of a new vicar who is a woman.”

The play gives audiences a chance to revisit the quiet village of Dibley and meet its many insane inhabitants as the new female vicar, Geraldine Granger, takes up her post.  As with the TV show much of the fun is provided by the eccentric members of. Dibley Parish Council, from dithering Jim Trott to eccentric cook Letitia Cropley.

Jerry (centre) is toasted by the cast of 'The Vicar of Dibley' for his charity fund-raising efforts. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Jerry (centre) is toasted by the cast of ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ for his charity fund-raising efforts. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

‘The Vicar of Dibley’ is at the Dolman Theatre from 13 – 16 November at 7.15 pm, with an extra matinee performance on the Saturday at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.


Newport Youngsters Share Stage with Vicar of Dibley

October 21, 2013
Bright sparks: the children all know the answers when Rev Geraldine Granger (Karen Davies) asks the questions while Alice (Rachel Fenwick) looks on. (Photo: Phil Mansell)

Bright sparks: the children all know the answers when Rev Geraldine Granger (Karen Davies) asks the questions while Alice (Rachel Fenwick) looks on. (Photo: Phil Mansell)

 Schoolchildren from Newport are all set to tread the boards with TV’s ‘Vicar of Dibley’ as the stage version of the show comes to the Dolman Theatre.      

Twenty five youngsters from the children’s Dolman Theatre Works auditioned and eight were chosen to be in a scene set in a Sunday school run by the loveable but dim verger Alice Tinker, played by Rachel Fenwick.

The children of Dibley (left to right) Alex Haywood, Olivia Tune, Theo Bishop, Niamh Pitman and Caitlin Anderson. (Photo: Phil Mansell)

The children of Dibley (left to right) Alex Haywood, Olivia Tune, Theo Bishop, Niamh Pitman and Caitlin Anderson. (Photo: Phil Mansell)

“They are a lovely bunch of kids who are really excited about being in the play,” said director Rosie Bissex.

“In fact, they are so enthusiastic they are also helping with props and anywhere else they can lend a hand. I’m sure they’ll steal every scene they’re in!”

Olivia Tune practises her curtsey when she meets the new vicar (Karen Davies). (Photo: Phil Mansell)

Olivia Tune practises her curtsey when she meets the new vicar (Karen Davies). (Photo: Phil Mansell)

“It’s been great fun rehearsing the play,” said 12-year-old Olivia Tune who goes to Caerleon Comprehensive School.

“I have to do a curtsey when I meet the new vicar. We all love the TV series and are really enjoying being in the stage show.”

“The children have been a joy to work with and are showing a real talent for acting,” said Karen Davies who plays the part made famous by Dawn French.

The play will give audiences a chance to revisit the quiet village of Dibley and meet its many insane inhabitants as the new female vicar, Geraldine Granger, takes up her post.

‘The Vicar of Dibley’ is at the Dolman Theatre from 13 – 16 November at 7.15 pm, with an extra matinee performance on the Saturday at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.


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