Playgoer’s Season Finale will be Absolute ‘Nunsense’!

June 2, 2015

Newport Playgoers are set to end their 92nd season of plays with an award-winning musical extravaganza that started life as a series of greetings cards. 

The Little Sisters of Hoboken prepare to entertain audiences with a show to raise funds to bury their fellow nuns who were poisoned by the convent cook. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The Little Sisters of Hoboken prepare to entertain audiences with a show to raise funds to bury their fellow nuns who were poisoned by the convent cook. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The comic nuns proved so popular that their creator, Dan Goggin, turned them into a cabaret and then expanded that into a full length theatre production.

‘Nunsense’ ran for over 3,500 performances and won the Best Off Broadway Musical award.

The musical romp tells of the Little Sisters of Hoboken and their crazy antics after the convent cook serves up some dodgy soup resulting in 52 nuns dying of botulism.

Sister Amnesia (Eloise Rossiter) rehearses her ventriloquist act. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Sister Amnesia (Eloise Rossiter) rehearses her ventriloquist act. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Luckily a few of the nuns were busy playing bingo and were spared this terrible fate. But to their horror they realise the convent hasn’t the funds to pay for the funerals.

The Mother Superior decides she and her fellow nuns will use the left-over set for a production of ‘Grease’ to stage a variety show packed with hilarious show-stopping song and dance numbers to raise the money for the funerals. There follows a hail of fun and frolics as they try to achieve their aim.

The season opened with 'According to Claudia' by local playwright Phil Mansell. The play won Best Theatre Show award presented by entertainment and lifestyle magazine Voice. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The season opened with ‘According to Claudia’ by local playwright Phil Mansell. The play won Best Theatre Show award presented by entertainment and lifestyle magazine Voice. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The season has been another success for Playgoers who own and run the city’s 400-seat Dolman Theatre.

Beginning with ‘According to Claudia’, a play by local writer Phil Mansell, it included the thriller ‘Deathtrap’ and three plays commemorating the First World War including last month’s funny yet thought-provoking ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’.

One of the highlights of the season was the  thriller 'Deathtrap' (PHOTO:PHIL MANSELL)

One of the highlights of the season was the thriller ‘Deathtrap’ (PHOTO:PHIL MANSELL)

Playgoers are already looking forward to next season which begins in September with ‘Up Pompeii’ the stage version of the show that Frankie Howerd made such a hit on TV.

'Blackadder Goes Forth' was one of three plays commemorating the outbreak of World War One. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

‘Blackadder Goes Forth’ was one of three plays commemorating the outbreak of World War One. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

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

 

‘Nunsense is at the Dolman Theatre from 17 – 20 June 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.


2014 in review

January 9, 2015

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,200 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Writer Presents Newly Published Play to Dolman Theatre Library

November 18, 2014

Newport writer Phil Mansell, who has recently had plays published, presented the first copy off the presses to the library at the Dolman Theatre where the play was first performed.

Phil Mansell presents a copy of his play ‘According to Claudia’ to Chris Burrows who runs the library at the Dolman Theatre.

Phil Mansell presents a copy of his play ‘According to Claudia’ to Chris Burrows who runs the library at the Dolman Theatre.

Phil handed over his play ‘According to Claudia’ to Chris Burrows who runs the library, which houses hundreds of plays, for Newport Playgoers.

“It was my way of saying thankyou to Newport Playgoers for having the faith to select this play to open the latest season back in September,” said Phil.

Phil and his wife Caroline, who directed the play, receive the Award for Theatre Show of the Year

Phil and his wife Caroline, who directed the play, receive the Award for Theatre Show of the Year

Since being produced at the Dolman the play has gone on to win the award for Theatre Show of the Year in Newport’s lively entertainment and lifestyle magazine Voice. Phil and his wife, Caroline, who directed the play, went to the presentation evening at the Celtic Manor Resort to receive the award.

Recently, Phil has had two more plays published. ‘Poor Yorick’ was a winning entry in a competition run as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages project and was performed at both the 400-seat Dolman Theatre and Blackwood Little Theatre. Another of Phil’s plays, ‘Bunkered’, was one of the winning entries in a competition judged by Welsh playwright Frank Vickery.

Phil's three published plays

Phil’s three published plays

All three plays are now available on Amazon and Silvermoon Publishing, which specialises in plays aimed at the huge market among drama companies in the UK, America and Australia, will be promoting Phil’s work to thousands of potential performers worldwide.


Newport Writer Signs Publishing Deal

August 28, 2014

A writer from Newport has signed a deal which will see his plays published for performance in the UK, USA and Australia.

Playwright Phil Mansell with a poster for his play ‘According to Claudia’ which will be the cover of his first published play. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Playwright Phil Mansell with a poster for his play ‘According to Claudia’ which will be the cover of his first published play. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Phil Mansell has been signed up with Silvermoon Publishing which specialises in providing plays for hundreds of dramatic companies worldwide. His first play to go into print will be ‘According to Claudia’, which launches the new season by Newport Playgoers at the 400-seat Dolman Theatre in September.

“I’m really pleased to have found a publisher for my work,” said Phil who, until ill health forced him to take early retirement was the Press Officer at Newport University.

“I’ve been writing plays for many years and Silvermoon Publishing want to create a catalogue of my work which they will promote to potential performers including over a thousand contacts they have who are looking for plays.

Claudia (Angharad Jones) admires David (Bob Brown) for his tea-making skills (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Claudia (Angharad Jones) admires David (Bob Brown) for his tea-making skills. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“Very few authors make a fortune from their plays but I will have the satisfaction of knowing that there’s a good chance my work will be staged, not only in this country but across the world.”

As well as ‘According to Claudia’, Phil has several plays lined up for his new publisher including ‘Poor Yorick’ and ‘Bunkered’ both of which won one act play competitions and were staged at the Dolman Theatre. He has recently completed two plays, one of which is about the ghost of John Lennon striking up an unlikely relationship with a retired quantity surveyor.

Lucy (Eloise Rossiter) with ex-crook husband Micky (Paul Howells) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Lucy (Eloise Rossiter) with ex-crook husband Micky (Paul Howells) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

People will have a chance to get a taste of Phil’s writing when ‘According to Claudia’, about the sexy secrets and surprises revealed at a family reunion, runs at the Dolman Theatre from 10 –13 September.

This comedy drama brings together a sexy psychologist married to an ex-crook, her man-hungry sister hoping to seduce a crime writer and a mystery gunman for a birthday party none of them will forget.

‘According To Claudia’ is at the Dolman Theatre from 10  –13 September 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.

Pictured in rehearsal: a breakfast scene dispute between Michael (Chris Bissex-Williams) and Charlotte (Sue Morgan) while Belle (Karen Davies) looks on. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Pictured in rehearsal: a dispute over breakfast between Michael (Chris Bissex-Williams) and Charlotte (Sue Morgan) while Belle (Karen Davies) looks on. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)


Newport Writer’s Play To Launch New Season at Dolman Theatre

July 15, 2014

A play by a writer from Newport has been selected to launch the new season by Newport Playgoers at the 400-seat Dolman Theatre.

Phil Mansell, writer of 'According to Claudia'

Phil Mansell

Phil Mansell’s play ‘According To Claudia’ was chosen by the society’s artistic committee to open a line-up which includes plays by Noel Coward, Somerset Maugham, Ira Levin, Richard Curtis and Ben Elton.

“I feel honoured and proud that my play has been selected to be among work by such illustrious writers,” said 63-year-old Phil, whose wife Caroline will be directing the production.

A tense moment as former crook Micky (Paul Howells) confronts his disapproving father-in-law Michael (Chris Bissex-Williams) as Lucy (Eloise Rossiter) looks on in 'According to Claudia'. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

A tense moment as former crook Micky (Paul Howells) confronts his disapproving father-in-law Michael (Chris Bissex-Williams) as Lucy (Eloise Rossiter) looks on. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“The play is a comedy drama about the secrets that emerge when a family gathers to celebrate the 80th birthday of a crusty Oxford don.

His daughters fuel the fire by bringing along partners who include a crime writer and a former East End gangster returning in disguise from the Costa del Crime.”

Three sisters are reunited in Phil Mansell's play 'According to Claudia: Lucy (Eloise Rossiter), Claudia (Angharad Jones) and Belle (Karen Davies). (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Three sisters are reunited – Lucy (Eloise Rossiter), Claudia (Angharad Jones) and Belle (Karen Davies). (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

A mystery gunman interrupts the planning of the birthday party in Phil Mansell's play 'According to Claudia'. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

A mystery gunman interrupts the planning of the birthday party. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

This is the latest success that Phil has enjoyed as a writer. His play ‘Poor Yorick’ was a winning entry in a competition run as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages project and was performed at both the Dolman Theatre and at Blackwood Little Theatre.

Phil’s play ‘Bunkered’  was one of the winning entries in a competition judged by Welsh playwright Frank Vickery, and enjoyed a very successful run at the Dolman Theatre. 

‘According To Claudia’ is at the Dolman Theatre from10  –13 September 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.


Argus Sponsors Festival of New Plays at the Dolman Theatre

March 2, 2012

The South Wales Argus is sponsoring a festival of new one act plays that combine stand-up comedy, bloody sword fights and romantic mix-ups to give a modern take on Shakespeare. The ‘No Holds Bard’ festival at the Dolman Theatre from 15th – 17th March, promises to be an evening of lively entertainment that makes Shakespeare totally accessible for today’s audiences and turns his plots into plays for today.

A scene from 'Roman and Julia' by gary Dooley

A tender moment between two people (Rose Bissex and Daniel Penfold) who meet in 'Roman and Julia' by Gary Dooley

The festival showcases four plays that won a competition run by Newport Playgoers as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages project. One play will go on to be staged at Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre – and possibly to Stratford as part of the World Shakespeare Year celebrations.

Two of the plays – ‘Poor Yorick’ by Phil Mansell from Newport, and ‘Only Words Remain’ by Kevin Myers of Cardiff– are by writers who are no strangers to having plays staged at the Dolman. Kevin’s play ‘Surviving the Century’ and Phil’s play ‘Bunkered’ were two of the four winners of a highly successful golf-themed writing competition organised to tie in with the Ryder Cup coming to Newport.

A scene from 'Poor Yorick' by Phil Mansell

Yorick (Will Smith-Haddon) and Hamlet (Chris Powell) plot revenge and job opportunities while Queen Gertrude (Sue Morgan) looks on in ‘Poor Yorick’ by Phil Mansell.

The other two winning plays to be performed as part of the festival are ‘To Sleep Perchance to Die’ by Russell Walker and ‘Roman and Julia’ by Gary Dooley.

“The aim of the competition was to give a new twist on Shakespeare and create plays that today’s audiences will enjoy and connect with,” said Playgoers’ President Richard Dymond, “I hope the people of south Wales will come along and enjoy an evening that looks set to be full of fun and surprises.

A scene from 'Only Words remain' by Kevin Myers

A mysterious elderly man (Chris Bissex) meets a woman from his past (Lillian Hynes) in ‘Only Words Remain’ by Kevin Myers.

”We are particularly pleased and proud that our local newspaper, the Argus, has kindly sponsored the three night festival of one act plays,” he added.

A scene from 'To Sleep Perchance to Die' by Russell Walker

The Dreamer (Luke Bowkett) faces another scary moment as he lives the actor’s nightmare over and over again in ‘To Sleep Perchance to Die’ by Russell Walker.

Tickets for the ‘No Holds Bard’ festival, which is at the Dolman Theatre from 15 – 17 March, can be booked by phoning the box office on 01633 263670 or visiting dolmantheatre.co.uk.