Thursday, 29 October 2009

The Napoleon Complex

Those of us with Sky tv may like to tune in on Tuesday to that celebrated channel OH tv, ( channel 199, in case you'd forgotten ) at 10 PM to watch our very own Napoleon Ryan in a show modestly entitled "The Napoleon Complex". It also features the ubiquitous Mr. Gambrell.

Episode 2 follows two days later, on November 5th at 11pm
Episode 3 is on November 7th at 7pm, with the final episode at 11pm the same night.

Crazy scheduling or what?

Anyway, here's a preview.


No show this Monday. Instead, it's the usual sight of angry shareholders taking the microphone and complaining about fatcat chairmen, overpaid secretaries, and undeserved bonuses.

Or even, your chance to congratulate those who deserve it, and, if there are any problems and defects, helpfully suggest remedies.

The Showcase Must Go On

Here's the latest, in case you didn't know: the Autumn Showcase has now become the Winter Showcase and is still being held at the King's Head, but has been moved to December, on the 7th. So pencil that in your diary.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The Crooked Road to Paris

As has fast become the norm this term, next week's scheduled programme has been changed. Instead of Breakfast on the Med, a double bill of stage plays, we have The Crooked Road to Paris, a screenplay.

Still, it's the same writer, the esteemed Peter McKelvey who explains:

"THE CROOKED ROAD TO PARIS is a 70 minute film storyline. It is set in 1947 in Sussex. A young hitch-hiker loses her way and finds the unexpected in the form of a man who finds himself. No bonking, no car chases, few expletives but thrills galore".

Oh well. You can't have everything. Be there.

The Showcase has been Postponed

Unfortunate news. Owing to a double booking, our Showcase which was planned for the first of November has had to be delayed. We don't yet know when or where, but if a solution is found, rest assured that you will be the first to know.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Pride and Prejudice

Some of you will have read the book. Some will have seen the tv series. But have any of you seen in on stage?
Here's your chance. Fresh from writing a play about Jane Austen's love life, and seeing it produced a couple of year's back, and published by Samuel French, one of the our finest legal mind's Joanna Norland has returned to P-P to bring us her own interpretation on Ms Austen's most acclaimed novel. If you don't own a tv, haven't got an old Everyman mouldering away dust at the bottom of your bookcase, then for an hour and a half of your time, this may well turn out to be the definitive version. Who will be Darcy? Who will be Lizzy? Come along on Monday to find out.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

End Days

Next Monday, 12th October sees a new play by Tony Killaspy. It's been a while since Tony last gave us a play. In fact so long ago was it I'm not sure I was even a member back then. At any rate, I've read the new one, and it's about... well I don't want to spoil it. But the clue is in the title. I think I can say, though, that it's about a threat that doesn't get much media coverage now, which is odd considering what it's about.

But what is it about? Come along on Monday, and find out.

Ron Hart

Ron Hart died on September 14th. I can't say I knew him very well, but I did once chair a reading for one of his last plays with us. He'll probably be most remembered in the theatrical world for Lunch Girls, which was a joint winner of the Verity Bargate award in 1982. Peter Thompson did know him, though, and penned this tribute. He emailed this to the group the day after he was told, and I think it deserves to be given some kind of permanence here on the web.

"I have just heard from his son Jonathan that Ron Hart died yesterday, just short of his 80th birthday. He was a member of Player-Playrights for many years and at the time of joining he was already a successful playwright (LUNCH GIRLS is still being produced all over the world, as is his play MEN ON FIRE about Mahler). He had many styles of writing. He brought us at least one farce, many comedies, one surreal exercise, a thriller which went straight into our Showcase and a poignant poem about a young army officer’s boots. All of these were read with enthusiasm at our Monday nights and they were instructive and hugely entertaining.

We were in the process of trying to get his thriller BOYS CLUB into production when his health gave way over a year ago and he has been housebound and increasingly frail ever since, but still intellectually vigorous. He was an interesting and witty person, with a lively mind, who made a major contribution to our activities. He will be sadly missed and our sympathies go to his widow Carmel Hart, to Jonathan and to the rest of the family".


This term, as well as a change of venue, we also had a change of Competition Secretary, with Elizabeth Yuill abandoning us for the lush pastures of Hamburg, where she is playing in Ronald Harwood's Quartet. As well as one review that described her as "zauberhaften" ( that's "magical" for all you non-polyglots ) there's also one in the Hamburg Express. For those who can't be bothered to register, here it is in full:

"Last Thursday, September 11, the English Theatre of Hamburg premiered the new play of the season - Quartet, by Ronald Harwood. The play is set in a retirement home for opera singers and addresses both the troubles of getting old and the nostalgia for former success. Ronald Harwood, having worked both as an actor and backstage, created a sort of insider story that gives meaning to the transition from youth to old age.

The play begins with three old opera singers, Cissy, Wilf and Reggie, going about their usual business, which includes jokes about sex intertwined with reflections on the meaning of art. Soon they are shaken up by the arrival of a major star Jean, who was once unhappily married to Reggie. The reason for divorce and the length of the marriage remain a mystery until the end of the play.

The plot takes off as the three try to persuade the newcomer to sing with them the Quartet from Rigoletto, which they once were famous for, during Verdi's Anniversary Gala. The story is complete with reflections on the past and the mistakes of youth, as well as many insights into the sexual life of the characters, which gives it a certain edge.

One of the challenges for the actors was to seem convincingly old, both in speech and in actions. While they repeated themselves regularly and portrayed vividly the typical outbreaks of paranoia, their movements were less influenced by their characetrs' age. The result was that the mental lapses seemed almost too much in the absence of physical disabilities.

Nevertheless, the actors performance struck well with the audience. Elizabeth Yuill as the lively Cissy appeared most "mentally affected" and also most good-humoured. Both Alan Booty, as sexually-preoccupied Wilf, and Stephen von Schreiber, playing the austere Reggie, added a note of sensitivity to their characters. While Jean, played by Katrina Norbury, remained a diva despite the old age.

Finally, the actors gave a great opera performance at the end of the play, lip-singing to a record. The lights and the sound transformed the modest set, and the final act appeared both emotional and convincing. I believe it was the most important aspect of the play, because had it been any less powerful, the idea of art transcending through age would have been lost among the comicality of being old".

I think that just about qualifies as a rave. Anyway, get your skates on over to Germany.