Past Productions

Last updated by Julian on 14 July 2018

A table of productions from October 1996 to March 2014 is at the bottom of this page

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Cheshire Cats – July 2018

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Review

Funny, honest and authentic, with something of an emotional punch, Gail Young’s play tackled a potentially tricky subject in an unfussy but sensitive manner.  Ostensibly this was the tale of the Cheshire Cats team of Hilary, Siobhan, Vicky, Yvonne and Maggie, and their eleventh-hour replacement for the sixth member of the team, as they took part in a cancer charity fundraising Moonwalk in London.  But it also took time to explore the lives of these 5 women, enabling us to learn more about their motivation for participating, a dramatic and sometimes poignant counterbalance to the comic bickering of this group of friends.

 The production was simply staged, with the minimum of props.  It moved at an excellent pace and the constant changes of scene in act 2 were managed in an interesting and dynamic way.  Great use was made of the stage and auditorium spaces, together with lighting and music, and the production was pitch perfect in capturing the euphoria and camaraderie of such charity events.

Director Wayne Ings handled the material with confidence and sensitivity, drawing fine performances from his ensemble cast.

 The five women characters – Vicky (Beverly Sell), Maggie (Jillian Wildgoose), Hilary (Kristy Hepworth), Siobhan (Amanda Evans) and Yvonne (Sue Barton-Leigh) – were well drawn and strongly acted.  There was a real dynamic spark and believable sense of camaraderie between the characters.  Some lovely comic acting was counterbalanced by the poignancy of the soliloquies of Hilary and in particular the final one of Maggie.  The use of the soliloquy was a clever and effective device that permitted the audience a glimpse of the real person behind the façade and added to the sense of authenticity of the writing.

 Peter Revis was in fine form as Andrew the eventual sixth member of the team, revealed to have considerably more hidden depths than to the charming joker to whom we are initially introduced.  The supporting cast all enjoyed their moments, with the race marshals Madge and Emma in particular making their mark.  For anyone who travels by train, the running joke of the all too recognisable train announcement that became unintelligible at all the crucial moments was also something to enjoy.

 This was a fun and moving play that celebrated the endeavours of ordinary people undertaking extraordinary things.  It deserves to be celebrated by a somewhat larger audience than that of the football world cup semi-final night.

 Karen Robson

Prepare to Meet Thy Tomb – April 2018

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REVIEW 18 APRIL 2018

 

This comic thriller by Norman Robbins completes the trilogy of plays about the Tomb family, a family of professional or, as it turns out, not so professional, assassins who are described as playing together and slaying together.  The evening provided a heady mix of over the top characters in a spoof with murder mystery and enough plot twists and double crossings to avoid any sense of the predictable.

The nicely designed set – the sitting room at Monument House, a country house in Norfolk – captured perfectly the atmosphere and Gothic undertones needed for the story.  Director Sheila Barker maintained a firm grip on the proceedings, choreographing the action with precision and moving the action along at a reasonable pace.  The use of music and lighting at the end of each act highlighted the latest dramatic, usually murderous, turn in the plot, whilst also maintaining just the right comic tone.

There was very distinct and detailed characterisation of each role, with each cast member owning their role.  All worked hard to breathe life into what could be rather one dimensional or slightly stereotypical characters.  Overall the production hit exactly the right light-hearted tone needed for the material.  There were still a few fluffed lines and moments of uncertainty; delivery could have been a bit sharper to really nail all the laughs.

Beverley Sell (Hecuba Tomb) made the most of the role, her slightly bohemian costume and clanking beads and bracelets suggesting a figure altogether more benign than the keen poisoner and disposer of bodies that was her character.  Wayne Ings was obviously having a blast as the vainglorious and very camp Quentin Danesworth, an initially fun character that nevertheless, like some others, suffered from the one-dimensional problem.  Georgie Ray Burton was impressive as the hapless Antony Strickland, the PA with a few tricks up his sleeve, as was Kristy Hepworth as Phillipa Collins, the writer of crime fiction with more than a few ideas of her own.

This was a fun and entertaining evening, performed with gusto and commitment by the Hamble Players.

Karen Robson

Aladdin – December 2017

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An original and funny script provides all the necessary ingredients for a first-class and spectacular production of this famous Oriental rags to riches tale.

Bursting with comedy and visual business, courtesy of  Widow Twankey, Wishee Washee and the two Chinese Policemen (Yu-Dun-Wong and Hu-Dun-Pong), there is ample opportunity for audience participation, slapstick and traditional pantomime fun.

Pride & Prejudice – July 2017

This tale of love and values unfolds in the class-conscious England of the late 18th century. The five Bennet sisters – including strong-willed Elizabeth and young Lydia – have been raised by their mother with one purpose in life: finding a husband. When a wealthy bachelor takes up residence in a nearby mansion, the Bennets are abuzz. Amongst the man’s sophisticated circle of friends, surely there will be no shortage of suitors for the Bennet sisters. But when Elizabeth meets up with the handsome and – it would seem – snobbish Mr. Darcy, the battle of the sexes is joined.

Daily Echo Review

There are numerous Austen related events in this bicentenary year of her death and Hamble Players Youth Theatre’s charming production makes a welcome addition.

This witty and clever adaptation beautifully distils the complexities of the plot into a series of bite sized scenes, whilst retaining the best of Jane Austen’s one liners.

A simple stage set provided a perfect background to the action, supplemented by a constant state of activity shifting around the props with the change of each scene.

The young cast seemed to have settled well into the challenge of tackling the wordy script and very much made their characters their own. Dressed in an unexpectedly staid (and more early 20th century) style, Eloise Green imbued Lizzie with enough sparkle to overcome this and her scenes with Darcy (Charlie Baxter), who was excellent, had real wit. Charly Armstong gave an eye catching turn as the incorrigible Mrs Bennet.

Karen Robson

 

Beauty & The Beast – December 2016

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Based firmly on the traditional tale, but with some similarities to the Disney film / musical, this new version brings Beauty and the Beast well and truly into the realm of pantomime.  Whilst the story lends itself willingly to this genre, it is in many respects a “one-off”, being very different to other popular pantomime subjects, but this is not necessarily a bad thing, providing a refreshing break from the more usual format.
Some of the characters are familiar, whilst some new ones have been created especially for this pantomime – for example the pair of comic beauticians – Marcel and Monique.
The name “Belle” is not a Disney invention, but dates back to the earliest (French) versions – in French the equivalent to “Beauty.”

Hamble Players Youth Theatre present – Blue Stockings – July 2016

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Hamble Players Youth Theatre present this moving, comical and eye-opening story of four young women fighting for education and self-determination against the larger backdrop of women’s suffrage.

1896. Girton College, Cambridge, the first college in Britain to admit women. The Girton girls study ferociously and match their male peers grade for grade. Yet, when the men graduate, the women leave with nothing but the stigma of being a ‘blue stocking’ – an unnatural, educated woman. They are denied degrees and go home unqualified and unmarriageable.

In Blue Stockings, Tess Moffat and her fellow first years are determined to win the right to graduate. But little do they anticipate the hurdles in their way: the distractions of love, the cruelty of the class divide or the strength of the opposition, who will do anything to stop them. The play follows them over one tumultuous academic year, in their fight to change the future of education.

REVIEW: Blue Stockings, Hamble Players Youth Theatre, Memorial Hall, Hamble.

In the wake of the UK gaining its second female Prime Minister, a story focusing on the struggle for women’s education, rights and public role is incredibly prescient.

Jessica Swale’s play is the fascinating tale of four women students at Girton College, Cambridge, in 1896. By turns moving, comic and heartfelt, it was also somewhat educational as we were introduced to many of the philosophical, scientific and other ideas prevalent at the time.

The cast really threw themselves into the material and performed with a great deal of passion and commitment. There were some really nicely handled scenes and excellent interaction between the players. Isabelle Whitcher captured Tess’s steely determination and lack of self-confidence well and there was particularly good support from Eloise Green (Miss Blake) and Charlie Baxter (sympathetic Mr Banks).

While the staging used the auditorium and lighting well, the constant changing of props between scenes did ultimately become a little intrusive.

Karen Robson – Daily Echo

Blithe Spirit – March 2016

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Review:

“STEPPING into the memorial hall was like stepping into someone’s drawing room, such was the impressive set and props, complete with chandelier and French windows to the garden, through which the mischievous Elvira (Sue Barton-Leigh) made her ethereal entrance. But let’s backtrack to the period BE (before Elvira) where Charles (Peter Revis) and his wife, Ruth (Beverley Sell) affectionately banter and sail through life and innocently invite Madame Arcarti (Carol Ings) and their friends, the bumbling Dr Bradman (David Hughes) and his twittering wife (Sheila Barker) to participate in a séance. Big mistake! For all their scepticism, Arcarti has half a talent and manages to summon Charles’ expired wife. Ings was magnificent as the eccentric and exuberant medium, contrasting with the understandably disgruntled Ruth and her bewildered husband. Barton-Leigh also gave a sterling performance as she wreaked havoc. Proportionally the most laughs went to the smallest part, the maid Edith (Maria Barnett) who never missed an opportunity to perform.

Rebecca Case”

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Alice in Wonderland – Dec 2015

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Familiar characters from Lewis Carroll’s work, Alice herself, the Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit and Mad Hatter, found themselves rubbing shoulders with those from panto land, including a prince and princess, a dame and assorted minions in Hamble Players’ new pantomime.

This was an entertaining production, with some impressive costumes and scenery, a good use of lighting and a clever song selection.  Even the jokes seemed more newly minted and amusing.  However, with some technical problems, a game last minute substitute for a sick cast member and a very boisterous audience, the show perhaps flew a little more by the seat of its pants than usual.

There were some fine performances.  Tara Barton-Leigh was just right as Alice and worked particularly well with Ashleigh Ings as the dashing Prince.  Beverley Sell was slightly understated as Dame Gladys and all the better for this.  Sue Barton-Leigh made an impressive baddie.

Riotous fun.

Karen Robson

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Hoovering On The Edge – June 2015

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Seven very different people sign up for a 10 day creative writing course in Spain and writer Hilary Spiers’ witty script allows each one the opportunity to reveal something about themselves – some more openly than others.

Gregarious Honor (Andrea Swemmer) is the first , as tutor Gareth vainly attempts to engage with the group.  As the only male character, Wayne Ings predicably does not dissapoint as he struggled to explain the T.I.T writing method to his increasingly sceptical pupils. Jacqui Liddel delivered the stand out performance as garrulous Moira, with fine support from Andrea Swemmer.  Carol Ings as the not-what-she-seemed Sue and Jan Brazier as magistrate Gwen. Leanne Wilkins (Rita), Lita Buckley (Chris), and Mandy Boterhoek (Clare) also played their parts very well and director Beverley Sell’s support team again delivered a good-looking set with some fantastic backdrops.

As a comedy, it’s essentially one for the ladies, certainly not in the Calendar Girls class, but worth a look anyway!!

Alan Johns

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Hamble Players Youth Theatre “A Thirty-Minute Dream” – June 2015

Hamble Players Youth Theatre version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare, abridged by Bill Tordoff.

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REVIEW By Daily Echo: A Thirty-Minute Dream by Hamble Players Youth Theatre – June 2015

ABRIDGED by Bill Tordoff from ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’, this was a clever distillation of the essence of Shakespeare’s work, keeping plot and language, but not long speeches, making it accessible for its young cast.
At just over 30 minutes the story and pace never felt rushed, but rather well conceived and strongly directed. The young cast performed with great gusto and dealt well with the complexities of the language. The quartet of lovers – Lysander (Alfie Baxter), Hermia (Isabelle Whitcher), Demetrius (Oscar Davis) and Helena (Jasmine Naomi Mould) – played out their story line with skill and a certain flair for comedy. Georgie Ray Burton was impressive as Theseus / Oberon and well matched by Charly Armstong as a regal Titania. Charlie Baxter gave a scene-stealing turn as Bottom: his death scene was a wonder to behold.

KAREN ROBSON

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Cinderella – December 2014

Cinderella – “A Right Laugh” – Echo Review

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The Haunting of Hill House – September 2014

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Megan & The Golden Key – March 2014

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Dick Whittington – Dec 2013

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Ten Rods – September 2013

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Calendar Girls – June 2013

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Wizard of OZ – Dec 2012

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The Haunted Through Lounge and Recessed Dining Nook – Sept 2012

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Production history

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