Minack Hosts ‘Pygmalion’ – Shaw’s Version of the ‘X Factor’!

June 25, 2014
As Eliza (Rachel Fenwick) sells her flowers in Covent Garden, Professor Higgins (Steve Drowley) and Colonel Pickering (Wayne Fenton) are listening in. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

As Eliza (Rachel Fenwick) sells her flowers in Covent Garden, Professor Higgins (Steve Drowley) and Colonel Pickering (Wayne Fenton) are listening in. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Anyone who enjoys TV shows like The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent will see that George Bernard Shaw got there first in his 1912 play Pygmalion, which formed the basis of the hit musical My Fair Lady.

The playwright anticipates the pleasures and dangers of taking the dreams of a working class girl and attempting to transform her into a star in the latest production by Newport Playgoers Society when it returns to the Minack Theatre from 7 – 11 July.

Housekeeper Mrs Pearce (Claudia Barnes) announces the arrival of dustman Alfred Doolittle (Richard Dymond) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Housekeeper Mrs Pearce (Claudia Barnes) announces the arrival of dustman Alfred Doolittle (Richard Dymond) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“Eliza Doolittle’s wish is modest by today’s ambitions – she wants to be a lady with a flower shop,” says the play’s director Kevin Myers.

“So phonetics professor Henry Higgins admits her to his version of boot camp where she is scrubbed, clothed and subjected to intensive lessons in diction.

“For Higgins and his friend Colonel Pickering it’s an irresistible experiment – to teach Cockney flower girl Eliza to speak and act like a lady and pass her off as a duchess at an ambassador’s garden party. But for Eliza it’s a lifeline.”

Eliza chats to a real lady Mrs Eynsford Hill (Chris Burrows) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Eliza chats to a real lady Mrs Eynsford Hill (Chris Burrows) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Newport Playgoers have a well-earned reputation for staging outstanding productions and their last play at the Minack, Moliere’s ‘The Hypochondriac’, received rave reviews.

‘Pygmalion’ is at the Minack Theatre from Monday 7 to Friday 11 July. To book tickets call the Box Office on 01736 810181 or visit www.minack.com.


John puts a Sheen on frantic French farce

June 22, 2012
John Sheen

John Sheen (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The name Sheen is synonymous with theatre at its best. For proof, check out the latest production by Newport Playgoers – it’s directed by John Sheen, father of musical theatre star Caroline Sheen and uncle of award-winning actor, Michael Sheen.

John brings years of expertise to his production of ‘The Hypochondriac’, the classic Molière farce that has been updated by Liverpool poet Roger McGough.

Newport Playgoers present 'The Hypochondriac' by Roger McGough after Moliere

Comic capers in ‘The Hypochondriac’
(PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“Following a successful run at the Dolman Theatre we’re now presenting this modern take on Molière’s very funny comedy at the famous open air Minack Theatre on the cliffs in Porthcurno, Cornwall,” said John.

Newport Playgoers present 'The Hypochondriac' by Roger McGough after Moliere

‘The Hypochondriac’ at the Dolman Theatre
(PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“The play is a lavish costume romp packed with fakes – a wealthy hypochondriac who pretends to be dead, a wife who pretends to love her husband and doctors who pretend to understand medicine. I think we’ve concocted the perfect remedy for all the doom and gloom that’s around these days.”

‘The Hypochondriac’ by Roger McGough is at the Minack Theatre from 9th – 13th July. For more information visit  www.dolmantheatre.co.uk or www.minack.com


Proving Laughter is the Best Medicine

June 2, 2012

Add the wit of legendary Liverpool poet Roger McGough to the comic shenanigans of a classic French farce and the result is a real laughter tonic guaranteed to banish the blues.

Newport Playgoers present 'The Hypochondriac'

Argan (Richard Dymond) feels another ailment coming on, to the amusement of his brother Beralde (Chris Bissex-Williams). (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

McGough’s modern take on Molière’s play ‘The Hypochondriac’ is this month’s presentation by Newport Playgoers and centres around the antics of Argan, a perfectly healthy and wealthy gentleman, who is convinced he is seriously ill. In fact, he’s so obsessed with taking medicine for imaginary ailments that he’s blind to the naughty goings-on in his own household.

Newport Playgoers present 'The Hypochondriac'

Saucy servant Toinette (Claudia Barnes) helps Argan (Richard Dymond) with another imaginary medical problem. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

In a neat twist, his most effective cure does not come in a bottle or a bedpan, but in his sharp-tongued servant, Toinette, who has a cunning plan to reveal the truth and open her master’s eyes.

Roger McGough updates this classic Molière comedy, turning prose into verse with a witty edge. A scathingly funny lampoon on both hypochondria and the ‘quack’ medical profession, this tour de farce with its very public enemas gives the action the look of a 17th-century costume romp that could easily be re-titled ‘Carry On Up the Colon’.

Playgoers will be taking the production to the outdoor Minack Theatre in Cornwall next month so there’s another chance to see it in the unique setting of the amazing theatre in the cliffs.

Prescribe yourself a real laughter tonic and see ‘The Hypochondriac’ at the Dolman Theatre from 12 – 16 June at 7.15 pm, with an extra matinee performance on the Saturday at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or 656757.  More information is available online at www.dolmantheatre.co.uk