Look Out for ‘The Ladykillers’ at the Dolman

October 26, 2015
Unsuspecting Mrs Wilberforce (Ruth Ferguson) is the target of ruthless villains Professor Marcus (Gareth Baskerville), Major Courtney (Richard Dymond), Louis (Wayne Fenton) and Harry (Luke Bowkett). (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Unsuspecting Mrs Wilberforce (Ruth Ferguson) is the target of ruthless villains Professor Marcus (Gareth Baskerville), Major Courtney (Richard Dymond), Louis (Wayne Fenton) and Harry (Luke Bowkett). (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

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.

Misfit crooks Harry (Luke Bowkett) and Professor Marcus (Gareth Baskerville) are plotting do away with Mrs Wilberforce (Ruth Ferguson) even as they take tea with her. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Misfit crooks Harry (Luke Bowkett) and Professor Marcus (Gareth Baskerville) are plotting do away with Mrs Wilberforce (Ruth Ferguson) even as they take tea with her. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

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 Ladykillers’: Gareth Baskerville (Professor Marcus, Richard Dymond ( Major Courtney), Wayne Fenton (Louis), Luke Bowkett (Harry and David Livingstone (One Round).  (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

‘The Ladykillers’: Gareth Baskerville (Professor Marcus, Richard Dymond ( Major Courtney), Wayne Fenton (Louis), Luke Bowkett (Harry and David Livingstone (One Round). (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

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.


Radio’s Top Secret Agent Takes to the Stage

December 13, 2013
Danger for Dick Barton (Kevin Myers) as Baron Scarheart (Steve Saunders) creeps up on him. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Danger for Dick Barton (Kevin Myers) as Baron Scarheart (Steve Saunders) creeps up on him. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Long before James Bond there was only one secret agent who grabbed the public’s imagination – Dick Barton.

The nation was enthralled by his adventures on the “wireless” as he battled against a legion of dastardly villains.

Now, these tales of derring-do are being recreated on the stage of the Dolman Theatre when Newport Playgoers present ‘Dick Barton – Special Agent’.

The BBC Announcer (Richard Dymond) gets a fright from the sound effects man (Bruce Campbell) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The BBC Announcer (Richard Dymond) gets a fright from the sound effects man (Bruce Campbell) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Written as a parody of the 1940s radio series complete with cliff-hanger endings and song and dance routines, this show has something to appeal to those who remember the original series and younger members who have yet to experience the thrill of the Devil’s Gallop!

Audiences will enjoy the laughs as thrills as Dick, along with his trusty sidekicks Jock and Snowy, sets out to thwart the forces of evil whose plot to poison Britain’s tea supply threatens the very future of the nation.

Marta Heartburn (Ros Jones-Griffiths) cracks the whip. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Marta Heartburn (Ros Jones-Griffiths) cracks the whip. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Dick and his chums find themselves tangled in an adventure soaked with intrigue and mystery, as they face arch enemies Marta Heartburn and Baron Scarheart – all the while finding the time to sing a few songs along the way – and save the day!

A tense moment for Dick Barton (Kevin Myers) when Scarheart (Steve Saunders) pulls a gun on him. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

A tense moment for Dick Barton (Kevin Myers) when Scarheart (Steve Saunders) pulls a gun on him. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

 ‘Dick Barton – Special Agent’ is at the Dolman Theatre from 15 – 18 January 2014 at 7.15 pm, with an extra matinee performance on the Saturday at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit dolmantheatre.co.uk.  

Daphne (Nicola Carlyle) and Jock (John Sheen) are captured by Baron Scarheart (Steve Saunders) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Daphne (Nicola Carlyle) and Jock (John Sheen) are captured by Baron Scarheart (Steve Saunders) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Baron Scarheart (Steve Saunders) plots a fiendish plan with Marta Heartburn (Ros Jones-Griffiths) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Baron Scarheart (Steve Saunders) plots a fiendish plan with Marta Heartburn (Ros Jones-Griffiths) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Versatile Ryan Wins Best Actor Award

July 8, 2011
Ryan Salter Webley Winner 2011

Top actor Ryan Salter (centre) surrounded by other cast member of ‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’ (left to right) Richard Dymond, Nicky Davies, the play’s director Claudia Barnes, Clare Drewett and Bruce Campbell (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Ryan Salter was named Newport’s best actor when he was presented with the prestigious Webley Award at Newport Playgoers Society’s AGM.  Ryan won the coveted award for his versatile playing of five roles – including a grumpy old codger, a village policeman and a middle-aged woman – in Playgoers’ production of the popular Ealing comedy ‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’.

Ryan Salter in The Titfield Thunderbolt

Ryan Salter as a policeman, one of the five roles he played in 'The Titfield Thunderbolt'. He is pictured with Nicky Davies (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“I was really pleased and proud to be voted the winner of this award, especially as I was up against some very tough competition from some of South Wales’s finest amateur acting talent,” said 27-year-old Ryan.

During the course of the madcap comedy, Ryan had to make 16 quick costume changes and was on stage for much of the time.

“It was pretty hectic but lots of fun,” said Ryan who studied Drama in Theatre and Media at Glamorgan University. “The play was an incredible group effort. It was one of the most innovative, creative and well-received productions that the Dolman Theatre has ever staged.”

 Ryan started acting since he was 12 when he joined Dolman Youth Theatre and he was in their production of ‘Moonfleet’ which was taken to the National Theatre inLondon. He is now busy preparing for his next challenging role – of Manuel, the hapless Spanish waiter in ‘FawltyTowers’ which will be produced in September.

The Webley Award is awarded by Playgoers each year in honour of Thomas Webley, the Society’s first President, who was Principal of Caerleon College, which is now the University of Wales, Newport.

Newport Playgoers also scooped five awards in the recent Gwent Drama League presentations, for their production of the gritty drama ‘Going Straight’. Clare Drewett and Bob Brown, won best supporting actor awards. And the play also won prizes for  best play, best production and best set..


Newport Youngsters Transported back to the ’50s by the Titfield Thunderbolt

June 12, 2011
Titfield Thunderbolt

Pictured during rehearsals are (front, left to right) young actors Alice Hillman, Emma Davies, Joshua Davies and Jessica Needham. Behind them are seasoned Newport Playgoers actors Richard Dymond, Clare Drewett, Caroline Drewett-Mansell, Nicky Davies and Ryan Salter. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Youngsters from Newport are being taken on a madcap ride back to the 1950s when they appear in the stage version of the Ealing comedy ‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’ this week.  

Jessica Needham, Alice Hillman and Joshua and Emma Davies are among a huge cast which is appearing in this highly innovative and entertaining production at the Dolman Theatre.

“We’re having a really great time in this very funny show,” said nine-year-old Emma, who, like her brother, Josh, goes to Caerleon Endowed School.

“We have lots to do, including singing, playing old-fashioned games and taking care of our dog Fluffy,” added eight-year-old Alice, who with her friend Jessica attends Lliswerry Primary School.

The four youngsters are no strangers to appearing on stage, having been in shows staged by Sharon Fitzgerald’s  Dance School, and Joshua has also appeared in revues by Newport Operatic Society. He’s really enjoying playing the part of a naughty schoolboy in ‘Titfield Thunderbolt’.

The play, set in the 1950s when many small branch lines were axed, centres on villagers’ attempts to run their own railway in competition with a local bus company. It promises to take the audience into a zany world of nostalgia and feelgood fun.

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‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’ is at the Dolman Theatre from 14 – 18 June. Tickets can be booked by phoning the box office on 01633 263670 or visiting www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.


All Aboard the Titfield Thunderbolt!

June 8, 2011
A scene from 'The Titfield Thunderbolt'

Lady Chesterford (Clare Drewett) and the Rev Weech (Richard Dymond) are surprised by a rubber chicken in ‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Theatregoers can expect the unexpected when Newport Playgoers go full steam ahead on ‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’ next week.

Based on the popular Ealing comedy, the play centres on villagers’ attempts to run their own railway in competition with a local bus company.

This highly innovative production races along, taking the audience into a zany world of nostalgia and feelgood fun.

‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’ by Philip Goulding is at the Dolman Theatre from 14 – 18 June. Phone 01633 263670 for tickets.

All aboard!

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