Playgoers Start Season with Roman Romp!

September 10, 2015

Newport Playgoers have started their 93rd season of plays with a bang – their production of ‘Up Pompeii’ has had the audiences rolling in the aisles this week.

Head slave Lurcio (Paul Cotton) tries to juggle everyone's problems. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Head slave Lurcio (Paul Cotton) tries to juggle everyone’s problems. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

This Roman romp whisks audiences back to ancient Pompeii where saucy shenanigans are played out against the backdrop of an ominously rumbling volcano.

This lively production, directed by Playgoers’ favourite Richard Dymond,  is based on the hugely popular comedy TV series starring Frankie Howerd. Few who saw it can forget the wonderful characters whose names speak for themselves: Ludicrus, Ammonia, Nauseus, Erotica, Voluptua and Suspenda.

There’s still a chance to catch it at the Dolman Theatre – the final two performances are on Friday at 7.15pm and Saturday at 2.30pm.

Other forthcoming attractions include ‘The Ladykillers’ based on the classic Ealing comedy and ‘The Graduate’ featuring the seductive Mrs Robinson.

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All Set for Roman Scandals

September 1, 2015

Newport Playgoers plan to whisk audiences back to ancient Pompeii where saucy shenanigans are played out against the backdrop of an ominously rumbling volcano.

Head slave Lurcio (Paul Cotton) tries to juggle everyone's problems. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Head slave Lurcio (Paul Cotton) tries to juggle everyone’s problems. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Up Pompeii, which launches Playgoers’ 93rd season, was a hugely popular comedy TV series starring Frankie Howerd, and few who saw it can forget the wonderful characters whose names speak for themselves: Ludicrus, Ammonia, Nauseus, Erotica, Voluptua, Senna and Suspenda.

Ludicrus (Eamonn Corbett) and his wife Ammonia (Gwen Livingstone) are concerned about their daughter Erotica's (Olivia Harvey) writing. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Ludicrus (Eamonn Corbett) and his wife Ammonia (Gwen Livingstone) are concerned about their daughter Erotica’s (Olivia Harvey) writing. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Orchestrating both plot and characters is the head slave Lurcio, who becomes embroiled in the sexual liaisons of his master’s household, as all its members cheat, double cross and generally misbehave.

Lurcio conveys his thoughts to the audience through a series of innuendos and double entendres while trying to help his master’s daughter Erotica, rescue escaped slave girl, Voluptua, listen to Nauseus’s love poetry and enlist the help of local nymphomaniac Suspenda.

Roman soldiers Kretinus (Ryan Salter) and Trecherus (Owen Barrett) display their incompetence. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Roman soldiers Kretinus (Ryan Salter) and Trecherus (Owen Barrett) display their incompetence. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The play was originally written for Frankie Howerd to repeat his success in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, in which he played a similar role. If you like your history treated in a light-hearted and somewhat risqué manner, this is the play for you.

‘Up Pompeii’ is at the Dolman Theatre from Tuesday 8th – Saturday 12th September at 7.15 pm, with a matinee performance on Saturday at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.


Blackadder and Baldrick All Set to Go Forth in Newport

April 27, 2015

Some of TV’s most iconic comic characters are set to tread the boards of the Dolman Theatre when Newport Playgoers present ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’ in May.

Blackadder (Steve Drowley) listens as Baldrick (Gordon Collins) explains yet another “cunning plan” to escape the frontline. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Blackadder (Steve Drowley) listens as Baldrick (Gordon Collins) explains yet another “cunning plan” to escape the frontline. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Based on the fourth and final series of the BBC hit comedy, this play has the recurring characters of Blackadder, Baldrick and George scheming to get out of the trenches in Flanders during WWI.

General Melchett & Captain Darling thwart their efforts in their own bumbling style, while other memorable characters include the Red Baron, Flashheart and Bob.

Baldrick (Gordon Collins), George (James Symonds), Melchett (Peter Bourne) and Blackadder (Steve Drowley) discuss tactics. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Baldrick (Gordon Collins), George (James Symonds), Melchett (Peter Bourne) and Blackadder (Steve Drowley) discuss tactics. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Recreating an undisputed TV classic – whose characters were made memorable by some of the most enduring names in British comedy –  would be a daunting mission for most amateur theatre companies. But Playgoers have a great track record of bringing popular sitcoms to life on the stage. Previous successes include ‘The Vicar of Dibley’,‘Allo ‘Allo, ‘Fawlty Towers’ and ‘Dad’s Army’.

Lord Flashheart (Ryan Hillier) wastes no time in getting to know new recruit “Bob” (Catherine Morgan) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Lord Flashheart (Ryan Hillier) wastes no time in getting to know new recruit “Bob” (Catherine Morgan) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“As well as being classic comedy, this revival of ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’ is timely with this year being both the centenary of the start of World War One and the 25th anniversary of when the show first aired on TV, said the play’s director Rosemary Bissex.

“Amid all the jokes and satire in the original script by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, the final scene where our heroes finally go over the top is a classic, truly emotional TV moment,” she added.

Baldrick (Gordon Collins), George (James Symonds), Melchett (Peter Bourne) and Blackadder (Steve Drowley) discuss tactics. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Baldrick (Gordon Collins), George (James Symonds), Melchett (Peter Bourne) and Blackadder (Steve Drowley) discuss tactics. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The play is packed with wit and humour but it also has the power to make audiences reflect on the indiscriminate waste of so many lives – all those naive Baldricks, the patriotic Georges and the world-weary Blackadders who never returned from the Great War.

‘Blackadder Goes Forth’ is at the Dolman Theatre from 13 – 16 May at 7.15 pm with a matinee performance on the Saturday at 2.30 pm. For more information or to book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.

Previous Playgoers' productions of TV classics: 'The Vicar of Dibley', 'Dad's Army', 'Fawlty Towers' and 'Allo 'Allo. (PHOTOS: PHIL MANSELL)

Previous Playgoers’ productions of TV classics: ‘The Vicar of Dibley’, ‘Dad’s Army’, ‘Fawlty Towers’ and ‘Allo ‘Allo. (PHOTOS: PHIL MANSELL)


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.


‘Fawlty’ Start to Newport Playgoers’ New Season!

September 2, 2011
Newport Playgoers present 'Fawlty Towers'

Waiting to welcome you to ‘Fawlty Towers’ are Sybil (Nicky Davies), Basil (Alex Wilson), Manuel (Ryan Salter) and Polly (Catherine Morgan) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

There’s mayhem and misunderstandings galore when Newport Playgoers launch their new season with ‘FawltyTowers’ on 13th September.

Based on the classic sitcom created by John Cleese and Connie Booth, this promises to be a real treat for theatregoers.

All the show’s wonderfully memorable characters are on duty at the world’s worst hotel – manic Basil, his gossipy, unhelpful wife Sybil, hapless Spanish waiter Manuel, and waitress Polly (see them in action in the photos below).

It features three of the show’s classic episodes, including the one in which Basil tells a party of Germans where they went wrong during World War 2.

“To bring a work from the small screen to the stage is never easy, especially one which has not been re-written or adapted,” said the play’s first-time director Jes Hynes. “However, I have a fantastic cast and we’re working hard to make this comedy classic into a great production that we’re sure audiences will love.”

 ‘FawltyTowers’ is the first of eight plays making up Playgoers’ 88th Season. Future productions include ‘Frost/Nixon’, ‘The Lady in the Van’ by Alan Bennett and an updated version of Moliere’s ‘The Hypochondriac’ written byLiverpool poet Roger McGough.

 ‘FawltyTowers’ is at the Dolman Theatre from 13 – 17 September. For tickets, phone 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.

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