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)


Actor’s Hair-raising Role Raises £500 for Charity as He Goes Bald for Vicar of Dibley!

November 11, 2013

A leading light of local amateur theatre has raised £500 for charity by having his head shaved for his role in ‘The Vicar of Dibley’.

Jerry Grummit (centre) is congratulated by the cast of ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ (left to right) John Davies, Peter Bourne, Karen Davies, Ryan Salter, Rachel Fenwick, and Chris Edmunds. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Jerry Grummit (centre) is congratulated by the cast of ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ (left to right) John Davies, Peter Bourne, Karen Davies, Ryan Salter, Rachel Fenwick, and Chris Edmunds. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Jerry Grummit, who plays snobby David Horton in the stage version of the hit sitcom, had to lose his hair as there are many jokes about his character being bald.

So, he thought he’d use the hair-raising experience to raise money for the Mcmillan Nurses charity.

Jerry Grummit, in his role as haughty David Horton, prior to having his head shaved for charity. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Jerry Grummit, in his role as haughty David Horton, prior to having his head shaved for charity. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“I thought it was a very worthwhile cause as it provides invaluable support for cancer sufferers and their families,” said 57-year-old Jerry who lives in Blackwood. “So far, through sponsorship I’ve raised £500 and hope to make it even more.”

Jerry, who is an Openreach Works Controller with BT, has been involved in amateur theatre for over 35 years and has played a variety of roles, but admits that being in ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ has been most fun.

“This is my first part with Newport Playgoers and everyone has been so very warm and welcoming I’ve felt really at home.

Jerry Grummit in action onstage with Karen Davies who plays Rev Geraldine Granger. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Jerry Grummit in action onstage with Karen Davies who plays Rev Geraldine Granger. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“My character is a very stuffy person and much of the comedy revolves around his strait-laced attitude to everything – particularly the arrival of a new vicar who is a woman.”

The play gives audiences a chance to revisit the quiet village of Dibley and meet its many insane inhabitants as the new female vicar, Geraldine Granger, takes up her post.  As with the TV show much of the fun is provided by the eccentric members of. Dibley Parish Council, from dithering Jim Trott to eccentric cook Letitia Cropley.

Jerry (centre) is toasted by the cast of 'The Vicar of Dibley' for his charity fund-raising efforts. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Jerry (centre) is toasted by the cast of ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ for his charity fund-raising efforts. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

‘The Vicar of Dibley’ is at the Dolman Theatre from 13 – 16 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.


Newport Youngsters Share Stage with Vicar of Dibley

October 21, 2013
Bright sparks: the children all know the answers when Rev Geraldine Granger (Karen Davies) asks the questions while Alice (Rachel Fenwick) looks on. (Photo: Phil Mansell)

Bright sparks: the children all know the answers when Rev Geraldine Granger (Karen Davies) asks the questions while Alice (Rachel Fenwick) looks on. (Photo: Phil Mansell)

 Schoolchildren from Newport are all set to tread the boards with TV’s ‘Vicar of Dibley’ as the stage version of the show comes to the Dolman Theatre.      

Twenty five youngsters from the children’s Dolman Theatre Works auditioned and eight were chosen to be in a scene set in a Sunday school run by the loveable but dim verger Alice Tinker, played by Rachel Fenwick.

The children of Dibley (left to right) Alex Haywood, Olivia Tune, Theo Bishop, Niamh Pitman and Caitlin Anderson. (Photo: Phil Mansell)

The children of Dibley (left to right) Alex Haywood, Olivia Tune, Theo Bishop, Niamh Pitman and Caitlin Anderson. (Photo: Phil Mansell)

“They are a lovely bunch of kids who are really excited about being in the play,” said director Rosie Bissex.

“In fact, they are so enthusiastic they are also helping with props and anywhere else they can lend a hand. I’m sure they’ll steal every scene they’re in!”

Olivia Tune practises her curtsey when she meets the new vicar (Karen Davies). (Photo: Phil Mansell)

Olivia Tune practises her curtsey when she meets the new vicar (Karen Davies). (Photo: Phil Mansell)

“It’s been great fun rehearsing the play,” said 12-year-old Olivia Tune who goes to Caerleon Comprehensive School.

“I have to do a curtsey when I meet the new vicar. We all love the TV series and are really enjoying being in the stage show.”

“The children have been a joy to work with and are showing a real talent for acting,” said Karen Davies who plays the part made famous by Dawn French.

The play will give audiences a chance to revisit the quiet village of Dibley and meet its many insane inhabitants as the new female vicar, Geraldine Granger, takes up her post.

‘The Vicar of Dibley’ is at the Dolman Theatre from 13 – 16 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.


Vicar of Dibley Pops Into World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

September 30, 2013

The Vicar of Dibley helped raise some laughs as well as money for charity when she popped into the Dolman Theatre for the world’s biggest coffee morning.

Karen Davies in her role as the vicar of Dibley spreads the word about the forthcoming production to visitors to the coffee morning (left to right) Kath Taylor, Pam Bellew and Carol Humphries.

Karen Davies in her role as the vicar of Dibley spreads the word about the forthcoming production to visitors to the coffee morning (left to right) Kath Taylor, Pam Bellew and Carol Humphries. (Photo: Phil Mansell)

People who came to the theatre to help raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support were able to see Karen Davies rehearsing for the role made famous by Dawn French in the hit TV series.

As visitors enjoyed their coffee and cakes, Karen went around in character as the Rev Geraldine Granger spreading the word about the play which Newport Playgoers are staging at the theatre from 13 – 16 November.

Organiser Steve Bissex-Williams with Kelly Molmoth of Cupcakes whose stall proved particularly popular. (Photo: Phil Mansell)

Organiser Steve Bissex-Williams with Kelly Molmoth of Cupcakes whose stall proved particularly popular. (Photo: Phil Mansell)

As well as coffee and cake, visitors also enjoyed craft stalls selling a host of gift items and were able to take a guided tour of the theatre.

“So far we have raised around £450 for this very worthy cause and we are still waiting for donations from Saturday’s successful event,” said Playgoer Steve Bissex-Williams.

The event, which started in 1990, invites people across the UK  to hold a coffee morning, where donations on the day are made to Macmillan. In 2012 115,000 people signed up to coffee morning, raising a record £15 million.

Jon Dunn entertained visitors with a medley of songs at the piano.

Jon Dunn entertained visitors with a medley of songs at the piano.
(Photo: Phil Mansell)


Playgoers Announce 90th Season of Plays

July 3, 2013
Newport Playgoers' 90th Season

Newport Playgoers’ 90th Season

Newport Playgoers have announced the plays that will make up their 90th Season.

Featuring an innovative mix of comedy and drama, the new season begins with ‘The 39 Steps’ at the Dolman Theatre in September.

Playgoers are always keen to recruit  new members, not only onstage but also to help behind the scenes with lighting, sound, wardrobe, props and scenery.