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Theatre Group Reports from recent visits

March and April 2019 - Mary Garside
Thursday afternoon, 28 March, saw 31 members visit The Churchill Theatre to see a clever adaption of The Lady Vanishes based on the Alfred Hitchcock film. The scenes on the train were cleverly shown and the tension to find the elderly governes s on the transcontinental train, before it’s too late, were well done. The play starred the husband and wife team of Maxwell Cauldfield and Juliet Mills. The next Wednesday evening, 3 April, found 16 of us back at he Churchill Theatre to hear a very enjoyable concert by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Matthew Coorey. We were treated to Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, Elgar’s Elegy for Strings, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No 3 with Thomas Albertus Irnberger on the violin and after the interval, Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. Something different and a lovely evening. The following week on Wednesday 10 April, there were 28 members in the Dress Circle at The Savoy Theatre to see the matinee of 9 to 5, inspired by the cult film of the 1980’s. A lively show with lots of singing and dancing with Dolly Parton appearing on screen at various points. The cast consisting of Louise Redknapp, Amber Davies, Natalie Mc Queen, Bonnie Langford and Brian Conley. Bonnie Langford was amazingly agile in her role as the devoted assistant to Brian Conley’s sexist boss. The scenes where the three female employees get their own back on him and take over the business are very funny and the show as a whole was enjoyed by all. Finally, in April, on the 24th, a small group of 12 went to see Arthur Miller’s The Price at The Wyndhams Theatre starring David Suchet. We were lucky to get tickets and the run was almost finished. David Suchet was superb and made the play very accessible. The staging was good and well done, but some of us found following the American accents a little difficult and speech not too clear. However, all in all, it was an enjoyable play and worth the trip to see David Suchet in action.

Witness for the Prosecution     London County Hall   2 May 2019 - Mary Garside
A group of 21 theatre group members attended Witness for the Prosecution at County Hall. We all wondered about the setting, which was in the Debating Council Chamber of the old London County Council. It was just perfect for this ingenious Agatha Christie court-room drama, imaginatively staged by Lucy Bailey. Much of the play took part very formally in the court room with ushers summoning witnesses and the judge presiding from his raised dais and some of the audience in a special box as the jury. The set was also cleverly transformed to the solicitors/barristers’ chambers with rugs and tables and chairs brought on and off very slickly. We all were engrossed in the twists and turns of the drama and many of us were surprised by the final twist at the end. If you get a chance, go and see this play as the setting and play are both well worth a visit.

Anything Goes   The Churchill Theatre   5 May 2019 - Pat Ward
It was pleasing to see a full auditorium for the West Wickham Operatic Society’s production of this lovely Cole Porter musical. As per usual, the acting, singing and dancing and little dashes of comedy of the West Wickham Operatic Society were superb, and fabulous costumes helped to complete the enjoyment of it all. I think most of our group of 20 enjoyed it. In my opinion this amateur society would not look out of place on the West End stage. Another successful theatre trip, thanks to Mary.

Impro Chums     Paul Merton   Churchill Theatre   4 June - Margie Ashley
It was great! The bare stage with plain chairs and minimal lighting came alive with Paul Merton and "his Chums" with clever questions thrown to the audience. The cast took turns in acting through funny sketches, including certain words they had heard. The entertainment was really funny and made very local mentioning Penge, Croydon, Petts wood, Beckenham and the Glades Shopping Centre being better than Whitgift!. The collective improvisational experience was well done, with constant change of accents and music which were delightful. The cast of six have to be praised for keeping almost straight faces while we are laughing so much. The Elvis Presley and the Opera sketches will stay with me. A good tonic for a Tuesday evening. Thank you, once again Mary Garside, for your brilliant organisation.

Please keep coming to the group, encourage others and let us know your views about what we are doing and ways we can meet needs of the group. Thank you from the committee