Wanted – ‘80s Style Fashions for Updated Shakespeare!

November 17, 2015

A local theatre company is on the hunt for 1980s fashion items that people may have tucked away in the wardrobe. Anyone who can help Newport Playgoers kit out their actors for an updated version of Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ will receive a credit in the show’s programme.

Desperate for ‘80s clothes: director Emma Brunnock and the cast of ‘As You Like It’ need your help. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Desperate for ‘80s clothes: director Emma Brunnock and the cast of ‘As You Like It’ need your help. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“We’re looking for shell suits, flared skirts, dresses with shoulder pads and stretch pants – anything that says 1980s,” said the play’s director Emma Brunnock.

“If anyone has big hair wigs or ‘Miami Vice’ style suits that would be great too. Our aim is to give all the characters a genuine ‘80s look. We promise to take excellent care of any items lent to us, and we’ll give people an acknowledgment in the programme to thank them.”

The cast of ‘As You Like It’ enjoying rehearsals for Shakespeare’s classic pastoral comedy. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The cast of ‘As You Like It’ enjoying rehearsals for Shakespeare’s classic pastoral comedy. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

‘As You Like It’ is one of Shakespeare’s early playsa comic take on pastoral romance that begins with a flurry of banishments and ends with true love conquering all after the heroes and heroines are forced to leave the city and retreat to the forest, where they learn the simple values of rustic life.

It was made into a highly successful, award-winning film by Kenneth Branagh in 2006. Packed with comedy and fast-paced action, Playgoers’ version promises to be totally accessible to modern audiences of all ages.

‘As You Like It’ can be seen at the Dolman Theatre from Tuesday 12th – Saturday 16th January 2016. You can book tickets now by phoning 01633 263670 or visiting www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.

 

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Four times the fun and laughter in ‘Duets’

April 29, 2014
Shelley (Nicky Davies) overdoes the sangria while newly divorced ex-hubby Bobby (Graeme Johnson) looks on. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Shelley (Nicky Davies) overdoes the sangria while newly divorced ex-hubby Bobby (Graeme Johnson) looks on. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Four pairs of characters at four crucial moments in their lives – welcome to the world of ‘Duets’. 

Newport Playgoers’ next production explores four very different relationships.

Jonathon and Wendy are on a blind date and hoping to get it right this time even though they’ve never got it right before. Barrie is not really interested in women but his secretary Janet sees that as no reason to stop trying.

Champagne corks pop when Janet (Clare Jacobs) goes to Barrie’s flat (Chris Bissex-Williams) for a meal. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Champagne corks pop when Janet (Clare Jacobs) goes to Barrie’s flat (Chris Bissex-Williams) for a meal. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Shelley and Bobby have decided to holiday in Spain to finalise their divorce whilst drowning in cocktails. Angela is marrying for the third time to the dismay of brother Toby and amidst a barrage of bad omens and a dress resembling a parachute.

Wendy (Claudia Barnes) and Jonathon (Laurence Llewellyn) enjoy a quick tango on their blind date. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Wendy (Claudia Barnes) and Jonathon (Laurence Llewellyn) enjoy a quick tango on their blind date. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Put them all together and you have a quartet of scenarios in a gloriously funny examination of the chaotic world of love and relationships. Peter Quilter’s award-winning play, which has much in common with the work of Neil Simon, blends humour with pathos. ‘Duets’ is a hilarious tribute to the strength and madness of the human heart.

‘Duets’ is at the Dolman Theatre from Wednesday 14  – Saturday 17 May 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.

Toby (Jerry Grummit) panics when his sister Angela (Clare Drewett) spills coffee on her hideous dress moments before her third wedding. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Toby (Jerry Grummit) panics when his sister Angela (Clare Drewett) spills coffee on her hideous dress moments before her third wedding. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

 


Award-Winning Composer Howard Goodall sends Good Luck Message to Playgoers

March 24, 2014

BAFTA-winning composer Howard Goodall has sent a personal good luck message to the director and cast of his musical ‘Love Story’ which receives its Welsh premiere at the Dolman Theatre in April.

It’s love at first sight for Oliver (David Constant) and Jenny (Eloise Rossiter) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

It’s love at first sight for Oliver (David Constant) and Jenny (Eloise Rossiter) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Mr Goodall, whose musicals have won many international awards, took time off from composing his latest work, to write to Steve Bissex-Williams who is directing the musical version of the hit 1970s tear-jerker.

“I was really pleased to receive the letter from such an illustrious composer who has won EMMY, BRIT and BAFTAs for his choral music, stage musicals, film and TV scores such as ‘Blackadder’ and ‘The Vicar of Dibley’,” said Steve. “He apologised for missing our production but he’ll be busy in France writing his latest musical.”

Mr Goodall wrote, “I hope you could pass on to the company my very best wishes for the opening night and the subsequent performances in Newport. I am touched that your interest in the piece stretches back to its first incarnation at the Minerva Chichester.

The cast rehearse with musical director Jeff Davies at the piano. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The cast rehearse with musical director Jeff Davies at the piano. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“’Love Story’ presents a fair few challenges for its performers, especially those playing Jenny and Oliver who are more or less never off stage, and for the emotional stamina of its audience but I do hope that your players and audience alike will find it also surprisingly good-humoured, even funny, before its closing stages. Oddly enough, for a show with such a famously sad ending, we were a very happy crew putting it together in Chichester and London and enjoyed many a laugh in the rehearsal room. I very much hope that same has been true of your Newport company and you might have been encouraged by the experience to try on another occasion one of my other musicals with sad endings!

Smiles hide a secret heartache when Oliver (David Constant) and Jenny (Eloise Rossiter) marry. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Smiles hide a secret heartache when Oliver (David Constant) and Jenny (Eloise Rossiter) marry. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“So break some collective legs and here’s to a great success for you all. Again, thank you for bringing Love Story to Welsh audiences with such obvious dedication and enthusiasm.”

Based on the best-selling novel by Erich Segal, the musical tells of a rich boy, Oliver, who falls in love with a poor girl, Jenny. He is a Harvard graduate who comes from a wealthy family, Jenny is a working-class, quick-witted student. He is sporty, she plays music. The two decide to marry against the wishes of Oliver’s father who severs all ties with his son and cuts off his financial support. The couple struggle to survive as Oliver works his way through Harvard Law School.

‘Love Story – The Musical’ is at the Dolman Theatre from Wednesday 2 – Saturday 5 April 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.


Welsh Premiere for Musical Version of ‘Love Story’

March 9, 2014
It’s love at first sight for Oliver (David Constant) and Jenny (Eloise Rossiter) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

It’s love at first sight for Oliver (David Constant) and Jenny (Eloise Rossiter) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The classic 1970s tear-jerker ‘Love Story’ has been turned into a musical – and will be making its Welsh premiere at the Dolman Theatre in April.

The new musical version, inspired by Erich Segal’s best-selling iconic novel, is being presented by Newport Playgoers as part of their 91st season.

One of the most romantic films of all time, it tells the moving story of Oliver Barrett IV who went to Harvard and Jenny Cavilleri, a student at the less well-to-do Radcliffe.

The cast rehearse with musical director Jeff Davies at the piano. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The cast rehearse with musical director Jeff Davies at the piano. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The musical has been adapted from the highly successful tear-jerking romantic film of the same name which starred Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw – and made famous the inspired line “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”.

"Love means never having to say you're sorry." (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“We’re proud to be the first in Wales to present this musical version of a much-loved classic,” said director Steve Bissex-Williams.

“It has all the ingredients for a classic love story and the music for this revised version is by Howard Goodall, an EMMY, BRIT and BAFTA-winning composer of choral music, stage musicals, film and TV scores (including ‘Blackadder’ and ‘The Vicar of Dibley’). His musicals have won many international awards, including Ivor Novello and TMA Awards for Best Musical.

The crowd goes wild when Oliver plays in a tense ice hockey game. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The crowd goes wild when Oliver plays in a tense ice hockey game. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“It tells of a rich boy, Oliver, who falls in love with a poor girl, Jenny. He is a Harvard graduate who comes from a wealthy family, she is a working-class, quick-witted student. He is sporty, she plays music.

A brawl in the ice hockey game leaves Oliver (David Constant) needing attention from the doctor (Peter Bourne) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

A brawl in the ice hockey game leaves Oliver (David Constant) needing attention from the doctor (Peter Bourne) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“The two decide to marry against the wishes of Oliver’s father who severs all ties with his son and cuts off his financial support. The couple struggle to survive as Oliver works his way through Harvard Law School. Their romance is as poignant as it is enriching, as sweet as it is intense. The musical version of ‘Love Story’ will win your heart – and it might just break it.”

‘Love Story – The Musical’  will be making its Welsh premiere at the Dolman Theatre from Wednesday 2 – Saturday 5 April 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.

Smiles hide a secret heartache when Oliver (David Constant) and Jenny (Eloise Rossiter) marry. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Smiles hide a secret heartache when Oliver (David Constant) and Jenny (Eloise Rossiter) marry. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)


Playgoers present a feel-good comedy with a novel plot

November 6, 2012

Newport Playgoers’ latest production, ‘Nobody’s Perfect’, has a plotline reminiscent of the Dustin Hoffman film ‘Tootsie’. Frustrated writer Leonard Loftus has all his books rejected by a feminist publishing house because he is a man.

However, when he submits a novel based on his experiences as a single parent under the pseudonym Myrtle Banbury, the editor, Harriet, loves it. The snag is she insists on meeting Myrtle so she can hand over the prize money and sign her up. In order to collect the money, Leonard is forced to dress up as a woman.

Newport Playgoers present 'Nobody's Perfect'

Crossed lines and cross dressing are the order of the day in ‘Nobody’s Perfect’.
(PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

In high heels and lipstick, Leonard is caught in a hilarious dilemma of cross-dressing and cross-purposes in what has been acclaimed as a classic feel-good romantic comedy. The play offers belly laughs galore – with four irresistibly loveable characters locked into a hilarious plot.

‘Nobody’s Perfect’ by Simon Williams is at the Dolman Theatre from 14 – 17 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.