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)

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Desrae Tucker, Leading Light of Newport Playgoers

April 8, 2013

A long-time member of Newport Playgoers and leading light of local amateur dramatics has died at the age of 68. Desrae Tucker was passionate about the theatre, and acted in and directed many of the city’s most successful amateur theatrical productions. In January she directed the hugely popular ‘Dad’s Army’ which Playgoers staged at the Dolman Theatre.

Desrae Tucker

Desrae Tucker

Born in Newport in 1944, Desrae loved dancing as a young girl and won gold medals for her performance as a ballroom dancer. She was educated at Duffryn High School and obtained her teaching certificate at Caerleon College of Education.

After teaching in several local primary schools she returned to Duffryn to teach English and Drama. After gaining an Honours degree from the Open University, she taught at Bettws High School and from there went on to be appointed head of the English and Drama department at Brynmawr Comprehensive School, where she ended her career as a highly respected and valued Deputy Head.

Her close friend and fellow Playgoer, Ann Kelly, said, “To Des, teaching was a vocation and she considered helping young people to achieve their full potential to be an honour and a privilege. Her past pupils and former colleagues all remember her with great affection and gratitude.”

Outside work, Desrae loved theatre and, as well as directing many productions for Newport Pantomime Society, was a member of Newport Playgoers for over 40 years and a founder member of Dolman Youth Theatre. In her time she acted, organised props, prompted, assisted and directed plays, worked backstage and could, if pressed, organise sound and lights. Her last theatrical success was ‘Dad’s Army’, a triumph of characterisation, timing and team work as well as great fun for everyone involved.

Desrae also busied herself in many other areas of local life. She was a past regional president of the N.U.T. and a past president of the local branch of the Soroptimists – a women’s organisation working to better lives for women in this country and abroad. In addition she was an active member of Newport Rotary Club whose focus on community and international service she supported enthusiastically.  She was also secretary of the Newport Photographic Club and was a keen and highly accomplished photographer.

“Above all Desrae was a loving daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and friend,” added Ann Kelly. “Her passing has left a huge hole in many lives.”

 


‘Dad’s Army’ brought to life on Dolman stage

January 9, 2013

There’s a treat in store for all fans of the sitcom ‘Dad’s Army’ – the show and its cast of wonderful characters will be brought to life on the stage of the Dolman Theatre next week.

Newport Playgoers present 'Dad's Army'

The Home Guard on manoeuvres: Richard Dymond as Captain Mainwaring, Ryan Salter as Pike, Eammon Corbett as Sergeant Wilson and.Rob Jacob as Corporal Jones. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

All the favourites will be on parade as Newport Playgoers present three fun-packed episodes of the classic TV programme, including ‘The Deadly Detachment’ in which the bumbling Home Guard capture a German U-boat crew.

Written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, the show tells of the exploits of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard as they defend their quaint town against the might of the Nazi invasion force.

Led by bumbling bank manager Captain Mainwaring (Richard Dymond) and effete Sergeant Wilson (Eammon Corbett) the platoon boasts an unlikely fighting force of the elderly local butcher, Corporal Jones (Rob Jacob), fast-talking spiv Private Walker (Jes Hynes) and mother’s boy Private Pike (Ryan Salter).

Newport Playgoers present 'Dad's Army'

“Hande hoch!” The Home Guard arrest the crew of a German U-boat in ‘Dad’s Army’. Rob Jacob as Corporal Jones, Ryan Salter as Pike, Richard Dymond as Captain Mainwaring and Eammon Corbett as Sergeant Wilson. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The show follows on from Newport Playgoers’ success with the stage version of another hit TV series, ‘Fawlty Towers’, last year.

‘Dad’s Army’ is at the Dolman Theatre from 16 – 19 January 2012 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.


Dolman’s ‘Dad’s Army’ Cast on Rehearsal Duty over Christmas

December 12, 2012

“Carry on rehearsing”. That’s the message for the cast of  ‘Dad’s Army’ who will have precious little time off this Christmas as they prepare for the play’s opening at the Dolman Theatre in January.

Newport Playgoers present 'Dad's Army'

Richard Dymond as Captain Mainwaring (right) with Rob Jacob as Corporal Jones, Ryan Salter as Pike and Eammon Corbett as Sergeant Wilson. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The stage version of the ever popular sitcom features three episodes of the TV show so rehearsals are particularly gruelling for the large cast. However, in true ‘Dad’s Army’ style Newport Playgoers are soldiering on to ensure the show is a big success.

“The script is brilliantly funny and we’re sure our production will be the perfect antidote to the post-Christmas blues,” said Playgoers’ President Richard Dymond who plays Captain Mainwaring.

‘Dad’s Army’ by Jimmy Perry and David Croft is at the Dolman Theatre from 16 – 19 January 2012 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.


Dolman’s ‘Dad’s Army’ Cast Saddened by Death of Clive Dunn

November 8, 2012

The death of veteran TV star Clive Dunn has been particularly poignant for Newport Playgoers who are currently rehearsing the stage version of ‘Dad’s Army’ at the Dolman Theatre.

Newport Playgoers rehearse 'Dad's Army'

Playgoer Rob Jacobs (right) who plays Corporal Jones is seen here rehearsing with Eammon Corbett as Sergeant Wilson. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Rob Jacobs who plays Corporal Jones, the part made famous by Clive Dunn, said, “Clive was a true TV legend and an inspiration to me. Taking on the role, particularly with the sad news of his death, is even more meaningful.

“I really hope I can do the part justice as a tribute to Clive and his great talent.”

Clive Dunn

Clive Dunn as Corporal Jones in ‘Dad’s Army’

‘Dad’s Army’ is at the Dolman Theatre from 16th – 19th January 2012 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.


Only Boys Aloud Singer Dan is First to Receive New Theatre Award

July 30, 2012

A prestigious new award which recognises outstanding contribution to theatre by a young adult was presented to Only Boys Aloud singer Daniel Hampton at Newport Playgoers Society’s AGM. The Jonathan Conick Award commemorates a much-loved member of Playgoers who lost his battle with cancer three years ago, aged just 29.

Dan Hampton wins first Jonathan Conic Award

Daniel Hampton receives the Jonathan Conick Award from Jonathan’s sister, Hayley.
(PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Jonathon Conick

Jonathan Conick, a much-loved member of Newport Playgoers, lost his battle with cancer three years ago, aged just 29. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Announcing the award, Playgoers’ Vice-President, Bruce Campbell, said, “Jonathan was involved in a wide range of activities at the Dolman Theatre, playing a variety of roles in youth theatre and going on to be a driving force in the creation of the Solo Group for young adult members. He played an active part in many aspects of play production, both onstage and off, culminating in winning the coveted Webley Prize for his performance in ‘Strangers on a Train’ in 2006.”

Jonathan’s sister, Hayley, presented the prize to 19-year-old Daniel for the enormous contribution he has made to the Dolman Theatre. Last season alone Daniel was stage manager on ‘Hi-De-Hi’, assistant director on ‘St. Trinian’s’, ran the lights on the thriller ‘Dead Guilty’, ran sound for the No Holds Bard festival of four one act plays at the Dolman and Blackwood Little Theatre –  and even helped run the Dolman Theatre bar. All this whilst appearing with Only Boys Aloud on ITV’s ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.

Jonathon Conick in 'Strangers on a Train'

Jonathan won the coveted Webley Award for his portrayal of the psychotic Bruno in ‘Strangers on a Train’. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“This is a great honour and it’s amazing to be the first winner of this new, prestigious award,” said Daniel who was recently accepted to study Theatre Production and Design at Trinity St David’s University, Carmarthen.

“Dan is a very worthy first winner of this award and we’re absolutely thrilled to make this happen,” said Hayley Conick at the presentation, “Jonathan loved the theatre so much, it was a huge part of his life which is why this award recognises not just acting but being active in all areas of theatre.”

Newport Playgoers are currently preparing for the start of an exciting new season which includes ‘Dad’s Army’, ‘Calendar Girls’ and ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. The new season opens with Noel Coward’s witty supernatural comedy ‘Blithe Spirit’ on 12th September. To find out more information and book tickets call the Dolman Theatre box office on 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.