After 13 years of doing publicity for Newport Playgoers I’m moving on to pastures new. I’ve written millions of words and taken hundreds of photos to promote Playgoers’ productions and enjoyed every minute. Now it’s time to hand over to someone new. Anyone looking for news of NPS productions can find it at dolmantheatre.co.uk.
It launched Dustin Hoffman’s career and was one of the most iconic films of the ‘60s. Now ‘The Graduate’ is coming to Newport’s Dolman Theatre.
Audiences can follow the disastrous sexual odyssey of Benjamin Braddock as he is initiated into sex by the woman he always addresses as Mrs Robinson.
She is a middle-aged married woman with a drink problem, who also happens to be a friend of his parents.
They pressure him to date a girl of his own age and complications arise when the girl is none other than Mrs. Robinson’s daughter Elaine.
A sparkling satire on middle class, aspiring America, the play offers a fascinating take on the expectations of parents and the reflected glory of designer offspring.
The Graduate is at the Dolman Theatre from Tuesday 10 – Friday 13 May at 7.15 pm, with a matinee performance on Saturday 14 at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.
Long before television became captivated by so-called Nordic Noir dramas, the Norwegian playwright Ibsen was writing controversial brooding stories with strong female characters taking the lead.
Before Sarah Lund and Saga Noren there was Helene Alving in ‘Ghosts’, a play being presented by Newport Playgoers at the Dolman Theatre.
In this brooding tale of suppressed Scandinavian sexuality, Helene is a woman who has spent her life suspended in an emotional void after the death of her cruel but outwardly charming husband.
She is determined to escape the ghosts of her past by telling her son, Oswald, the truth about his philandering father.
But on his return from his life as a painter in Paris, Oswald reveals how he has inherited the legacy of his father’s dissolute life and is being destroyed by syphilis.
This tale of family relations, malicious infections and distorted Victorian morals was considered shockingly indecent when it premiered in 1882.
Director Ruth Ferguson gives ‘Ghosts’ chilling new life in this production.
“The ghosts in Ibsen’s great play are not spirits but the dead ideas and customs that we inherit and find it almost impossible to escape,” she said.
‘Ghosts’ by Henrick Ibsen is at the Dolman Theatre from Tuesday 12th – Friday 15th April at 7.15 pm, with a matinee performance on Saturday 16th at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.
There’s comedy and sprawling, action-packed drama when Playgoers New Generation present a fresh take on the Robin Hood myth at the Dolman Theatre.
Combining modern slang with historical parody, this production brings together all the conflicting legends about the outlaw folk hero.
By re-telling the legend, the play creates roles that challenge and reinvent the myth – with a wise-cracking, superior swords-person in Marian, and a Robin who finds himself a hero only by chance. But true to the legend, all ends well.
The Sheriff’s sleazy scheme fizzles out, King John’s vicious taxes are repealed, the outlaws of Sherwood Forest are granted pardons, and justice descends on England’s green and pleasant land. Perfect fare for everyone who enjoys a rollicking yarn!
Robin Hood by Larry Blamire is at the Dolman Theatre from Tuesday 1st – Friday 4th March at 7.15 pm, with a matinee performance on Saturday 5th at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.
“Mum on a broomstick” is how the South Wales Argus headlined a review of the family drama ‘The Anniversary’ when it was last presented by Newport Playgoers in 1972.
This comedy of family power-play set in 1960s London centres around evil one-eyed Mrs Taggart, an emasculating woman who dominates her three sons who all work in the family construction business.
Now Playgoers are producing the play again and the director, Steve Bissex-Williams, has fond memories of his own mother playing the malevolent matriarch who gathers her sons and their partners to celebrate her wedding anniversary – despite the fact her husband has been dead for 10 years.
“I remember seeing my Mum, Fay Williams, playing this vile, manipulative woman and being horrified by her amazing portrayal which earned a great review by Norrie Drummond, who was the Argus drama critic back then.
“When I was first asked to direct ‘The Anniversary’, I wondered whether the play would be as powerful today as it was then – we tend to be fairly unshockable these days. However, when I picked up the script it read brilliantly. Audiences can expect to be as shocked as I was by this scalpel-tongued, deviously possessive mother who exerts total control over her three weak sons.”
Throughout the “celebration” the evil, manipulative matriarch does everything in her power to remind her children who controls the family finances and ultimately their future.
The eldest, Henry, is a transvestite, middle son Terry is planning to emigrate to Canada with his shrewish wife Karen, and the youngest, Tom, a promiscuous philanderer whose many past relationships have ended at his mother’s insistence, arrives with his pregnant girlfriend Shirley.
This stage version is based on a celebrated film that starred Bette Davis as the mother from hell. This production will be celebrating the plays 50th anniversary, as it first opened in March 1966.
‘The Anniversary’ is at the Dolman Theatre from Tuesday 9 – Friday 12h February at 7.15 pm, with a matinee performance on Saturday 13 at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.
A local theatre company is on the hunt for 1980s fashion items that people may have tucked away in the wardrobe. Anyone who can help Newport Playgoers kit out their actors for an updated version of Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ will receive a credit in the show’s programme.
“We’re looking for shell suits, flared skirts, dresses with shoulder pads and stretch pants – anything that says 1980s,” said the play’s director Emma Brunnock.
“If anyone has big hair wigs or ‘Miami Vice’ style suits that would be great too. Our aim is to give all the characters a genuine ‘80s look. We promise to take excellent care of any items lent to us, and we’ll give people an acknowledgment in the programme to thank them.”
‘As You Like It’ is one of Shakespeare’s early plays – a comic take on pastoral romance that begins with a flurry of banishments and ends with true love conquering all after the heroes and heroines are forced to leave the city and retreat to the forest, where they learn the simple values of rustic life.
It was made into a highly successful, award-winning film by Kenneth Branagh in 2006. Packed with comedy and fast-paced action, Playgoers’ version promises to be totally accessible to modern audiences of all ages.
‘As You Like It’ can be seen at the Dolman Theatre from Tuesday 12th – Saturday 16th January 2016. You can book tickets now by phoning 01633 263670 or visiting www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.
A sweet little old lady is pitted against a gang of criminal misfits who will stop at nothing – including murder! That’s the plot of Newport Playgoers’ next production, ‘The Ladykillers’.
This classic black comedy, based on the much-loved 1955 film of the same name, tells how Professor Marcus and his gang, posing as amateur musicians, rent rooms in the lopsided house of sweet but strict Mrs Wilberforce.
The villains plot to involve her, unwittingly, in Marcus’s brilliantly conceived heist job. The police are left stumped but Mrs Wilberforce becomes wise to their ruse and Marcus concludes that there is only one way to keep the old lady quiet. With only her parrot, General Gordon, to help her, Mrs Wilberforce is alone with five desperate men. But who will be forced to face the music?
The play is based on one of the most famous Ealing Comedies which included Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom and Alec Guinness in the cast. The stage version has been entirely reworked, by comedy writer Graham Linehan who scripted classic TV shows Father Ted and The IT Crowd.
‘The Ladykillers’ is at the Dolman Theatre from Tuesday 10 – Friday 13 November at 7.15 pm, with a matinee performance on Saturday 14 at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.