Playgoers Set to Spook Audiences

September 28, 2015
Lord Grey (Chris Bissex-Williams) finds David (James Symonds) alone in the dark. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Lord Grey (Chris Bissex-Williams) finds David (James Symonds) alone in the dark. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Theatregoers will get goose bumps – and giggles – at ‘The Haunting’, an adaptation of the ghost stories of Charles Dickens.

The intriguing title might lead people to supposing that this latest production from Newport Playgoers is a dark and moody social commentary of 19th century England based on a lesser known Dickens book.

In fact, it’s a humorous parody of Victorian horror stories mixed with séance-trickery complete with tapping and knocking, phantom footsteps, doors opening and closing of their own accord, ghostly apparitions, objects flying off walls and the occasional blood-curdling scream.

Lord Grey (Chris Bissex-Williams) employs David (James Symonds) to catalogue his estate's impressive library of rare books. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Lord Grey (Chris Bissex-Williams) employs David (James Symonds) to catalogue his estate’s impressive library of rare books. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The cleverly written play has all the elements needed to evoke Victorian theatre with an intriguing storyline and unravelling mysteries. Two characters bring the narrative alive – the esoteric and reserved Lord Grey who employs fresh-faced young David to catalogue his estate’s impressive library.

David (James Symonds) tries to convince Lord Grey (Chris Bissex-Williams) that the mysterious phenomena are real. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

David (James Symonds) tries to convince Lord Grey (Chris Bissex-Williams) that the mysterious phenomena are real. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

In an ancient, crumbling mansion, they stumble across a dark and terrifying secret that will change their lives forever. As a series of strange and unexplained events conspires to keep David from his work, he realises that in order to convince his sceptical employer that the mysterious phenomena are real they must journey together to the very edge of terror to discover the source of the terrifying visitations.

A genuinely spine-tingling Victorian ghost story, ‘The Haunting’ is at the Dolman Theatre from Tuesday 13th – Friday 16th October at 7.15 pm, with a matinee performance on Saturday 17th at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.

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Playgoers Set to Raise Curtain on New Season

July 28, 2015

Never let it be said that Newport Playgoers rest on their laurels. After a highly successful season that saw them win several awards, the local amateur dramatic society is preparing to unveil a new programme of plays.

Playgoers’ new season opens with ‘Up Pompeii’. Previously Playgoers ventured to ancient Rome with ‘A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum’. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Playgoers’ new season opens with ‘Up Pompeii’. Previously Playgoers ventured to ancient Rome with ‘A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum’. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Rehearsals are already well under way for September’s offering, ‘Up Pompeii’, the stage version of the show that Frankie Howerd made such a hit on TV. Like Playgoers’ last venture to ancient Rome, ‘A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum’, this romp is packed with nubile slave girls and saucy double meanings that are sure to raise lots of belly laughs.

In contrast, October’s play is Charles Dickens’ spooky classic ‘The Haunting’. It’s followed by ‘The Ladykillers’ based on the much-loved Ealing comedy about a gang of crooks in a boarding house and their clumsy attempts to murder their little old landlady.

The new year brings ‘As You Like It’ which is considered by many to be one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies with its heroine, Rosalind praised as one of his most inspiring characters. There’s plenty of black humour as well as drama in ‘The Anniversary’ in which a domineering mother keeps a tight hold on all three of her sons with gifts, threats and ruthless exploitation of their weaknesses – but as the family is brought together to celebrate Mum’s wedding anniversary (regardless of deceased Dad) revolt is in the air.

One of the highlights of last season - ‘According to Claudia’ by local writer Phil Mansell won the award for Best Play presented by the Gwent Drama League. (PHOTO; PHIL MANSELL)

One of the highlights of last season – ‘According to Claudia’ by local writer Phil Mansell won the award for Best Play presented by the Gwent Drama League with several cast members nominated for best actor awards. (PHOTO; PHIL MANSELL)

Playgoers New Generation take to the stage in March with a play about the swashbuckling adventures of ‘Robin Hood’, and this is followed Ibsen’s classic story of repressed Scandinavian sexuality, ‘Ghosts’.

On a lighter note, May sees the stage version of the 1960s film classic ‘The Graduate’ in which young Benjamin Braddock, who is worried about his future, is seduced by the infamous Mrs Robinson. The season ends with ‘Maurice’s Jubilee’, a play set in the royal celebrations of 1977. This play by award-winning actress and writer Nichola McAuliffe. is a funny and poignant exploration of one man’s enduring commitment to his dream of meeting the Queen – and an eternal love triangle fallen on hard times.

Another winning play  from last season – the musical comedy ‘Nunsense’ won the award for Best Overall Production. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Another winning play from last season – the musical comedy ‘Nunsense’ won the award for Best Overall Production. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

It all adds up to a season of plays with something for everyone. A new innovation will be the introduction of signing for the deaf on the Thursday evening performance of every play.

Playgoers who own and run the city’s 400-seat Dolman Theatre are always looking for new members and have a special introductory offer of a first year’s membership for £70 for adults (a saving of £42.50) or £35 for students (a saving of £41.50). They are always looking for volunteers keen to help out with the staging of each production. This includes everything from doing front of house, box office or serving refreshments and sweets and programmes. Or maybe you have the urge to tread the boards or work backstage. Everyone is welcome – you’ll find it’s a great way to make new friends – and have fun! For more information or to book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.