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RECENT REVIEWS FROM NODA


BOUNCERS & SHAKERS MARCH 2017

 Any trip to the Athenaeum promises a thoroughly good evening of thought-provoking entertainment and this latest production certainly came up to the usual standard.  In addition to the usual friendly welcome from the Front-of-House Team, the bar area had been set out in style to get everyone into the mood.  This appeared to be very popular with the customers, being fully occupied in the interval, and excellently kept the atmosphere going between the two plays. 

BOUNCERS

The boys got the evening off to an energetic start.  It was a great idea having them in the auditorium as the audience entered, especially as they maintained the detached air associated with bouncers.  They burst on to the stage grabbing attention and plunging the audience into the world of the bouncer. The play depends greatly on the actors’ ability to quickly change from one character to another, without pause, but with clarity that the audience can easily follow.  The boys managed this with ease.  Their storytelling skills were excellently displayed aided by their security in what they were doing.  The character swaps were snappy and clear. 

 “The girls” were well played without too much camp.  The script is so funny in itself it takes a careful hand not to overdo the physical gags.  The Director kept this well under control. 

 Particularly well handled were the urinal scenes which can be so crude as to lose their humour but were not overplayed.  This helped them to be very funny. 

 The lighting was appropriately atmospheric but there was a frequent problem with being able to see faces.  This did cause a problem similar to the BBC’s latest SS-GB series.  It is amazhow much we rely on seeing the actor’s mouth to hear the words.  In general the actors presented the lines with clarity, but the accent did fight the consonants and in the dark it was difficult to get every word.  Despite this, the jokes came over clearly and were greeted with plenty of laughter. 

 The boys maintained a fabulous pace without ever seeming rushed, but not allowing time for rest.  The audience appreciated this and were kept attentive.  The “Dad dancing” was pretty impressive too.

SHAKERS

It was always going to be difficult to pick up the pace again after the interval and hit the floor running.  The girls presented this play with the sharp edges somewhat smoothed and a more sympathetic touch.  This worked well in the soliloquies which form such vital roles in the shape of the play.  These were excellently presented and were very moving.  Each girl tugged at the heart-strings and it was interesting to learn the truth of each character.  Unfortunately the hardness required in contrast was not so evident and a couple of times the striding about the club became too random and lost its shape. The girls obviously enjoyed playing the collection of revolting men.  There was some really good pitch work in these scenes, but once or twice actors resorted to sticking the chin in and the voice became very guttural.  This did make the audibility somewhat difficult.  Combined with the entertaining voices was some lovely physical work. The girls made the most of the physical gags in the shop scene and in the “preparing to go out” scene. The “stomp” opening worked very well getting the scene set and the change of feeling from the boys, and the little touch of physical theatre was particularly well handled really showing off the girls talents.

In both plays the contribution from the sound department was extremely good with the music constantly underscoring the scenes, but never intruding.  There were some excellent choices of pieces complementing the scenes.  The more in your face sections were well handled.

In both plays the actors’ use of the space and belief meant that we could see the venues even though there was no scenery to tell us.  Of course, this was aided by the use of the screen with projections.  The visuals were well chosen and along with sound and lighting changes these were efficiently handled.  The Director speaks of team work in her programme notes and the togetherness of technical and acting was most evident.   The ease with which the actors presented the piece was obviously the result of some fun work together preparing the works.
“Shakers” could have done with being a little more aggressive and with more bite to keep up the atmosphere set by the men.  It did seem to “go on a bit”.  Both plays displayed some excellent work using many different aspects of dramatic work and certainly succeeded in making the audience think as well as laugh.      Nick Lawrence March 2017

JEKYLL & HYDE NOVEMBER 2016

I was delighted to attend Opening Night when the house had been “bought out” for the national charity Rethink Mental Illness.  It was so appropriate that this play had been chosen to support this amazing charity in its work.  The house was also supported by a large party of youngsters who are studying the famous book on which this play is based.  They sat in wrapt attention throughout – a testament to the quality of the performance. 

 The parlour set with its jagged back wall and uneasy angles presented in Regency red against black conveyed the bachelor starkness, the high status and the oppressiveness required by this story.  Items of furniture and ornament had been carefully chosen so as not to be over fussy and yet maintain the overbearing nature of the scene: a wonderful example of less is more.  At first the dining table seemed too small and impracticable, but it soon became clear how corseted the characters were who sat in this area and as time went on how restricted the doctor’s world was becoming.  The large, hardly used open space at the front of the stage quickly became an area of freedom that none of the characters were prepared to venture into and eventually became Edward Hyde’s space and the killing ground.  As Jekyll’s world closed in around him this gaping big space became less and less open to him.  The small area to stage right used for the laboratory worked extremely well.  Dimly lit and cramped with pinched scientific items neatly placed.  Well caught, by the way.  It is a risk to use glassware especially in such a restricted space, but it turned out to all be well planned and carried out.  The entrances via the “back door” through the audience worked very well and proved quite disturbing for the audience’s attention was firmly placed on stage.   Despite the inevitable limited space for these scenes, well planned placing and working rarely emphasised the tightness of the space.

 Lighting was atmospheric with the gobo window effects showing the different times of day and the fogginess of the streets outside.  Areas were effectively lit giving the appearance of the Victorian room and the inevitable darker areas.  The bravery to do this certainly paid off as Jekyll’s world darkened and the areas of light narrowed.  This worked well with the dulling of Celestine’s clothing.  It was good to see a lighting design so in-tune with what was happening within the story.  ALPs have an impressive costume department and character and status had been carefully considered in the choice of outfits.  As before mentioned, the choice of colouring in Celestine’s outfits and her gradual darkening worked very well.  Also, the changing of the style of shawl which gradually closed in upon her.  How far had corsetry been considered?  Celestine is so confined by society’s conventions, perhaps the bodices could have been more restraining.  Charlotte’s outfit worked very well with its constant reminder of her place of origin and its many criss-crossing of lines and layers.  Hilda’s skirts seemed too short but practical.  There was a lot of ankle showing which seemed too risqué, but perhaps that was the intention.  Penny sported flounces and lace which overflowed and bubbled in all directions nicely emphasising the character.  The gentlemen were most austerely dressed and in general most correctly.  The modern clip-on braces could not be hidden which, when so much consideration had been given, seemed glaringly out of place.  Braces are so important in period pieces of this nature as they assist in making sure there is no gap between the top of the trouser and the waistcoat.  This can be aided by long shirts.  Today’s shirts do not have the tails that they used to and it is difficult to get them to stay down.  This can lead to a ruffle appearing at the join.  The beautifully and tightly presented Doctor would not have had such a problem whereas, naturally, Mr. Hyde certainly had.  The dishevelment of Hyde was beautifully restrained.  So often this character’s appearance is portrayed in the style of twentieth century comic villains and it loses the realistic decline of Jekyll.  Not so on this occasion.

 The general restraint with which the “Victorian Gothic” was treated worked extremely well.  Fortunately, Leonard Caddy, doesn’t wallow in the excesses that can accompany this style of play.  His dialogue was delivered in a very natural manner.  Characters were well drawn and seemed “at home” in the space.  As all the characters would have been familiar with this room it was good not to see any struggling with movement around the space.  Everything seemed so natural and yet repressed.  It was good to see the whole given a modern treatment without Victorian frills and inventions.

 All the characters had been well researched and constructed.  Once again it must be mentioned how natural everyone seemed.  The period nature of the piece places restrictions on everyone but the etiquette of the period and status was carefully used to heighten the tensions.  It is rare to see a version of this story where one could feel sympathy for all the characters and their inability to find ways of dealing with the situation.  The supporting male roles were each beautifully handled with appropriate restraint.

In the central role, Robert Billen gave a highly considered and controlled performance.  From the charming Doctor we first meet to the introspection and descent into darkness he handled the portrayal without excess.  So many opportunities to spoil everything with excesses were studiously ignored and all seemed scarily believable.  The Director’s personal understanding of the process must have been most useful in building this and the other characterisations.   It was good to have everyone so well prepared and at ease with their characters.  Also, obvious to all, was the team-work that had gone into preparing the piece.  The support given to the actors by the Crew was first-rate in every department and the actors worked for each other.  A well paced presentation which subtly built the tension and provoked a good deal of retrospective thought.  


THE TAMING OF THE SHREW JULY 2016

This was a good production from the outset, a well made and attractive set designed by Richard Clarke with a functioning fountain and a useful upstage arch that gave the vista great depth. The use of flying to switch between regions in Act 2 was also well managed. The overall design was visually good, with costumes, hair and general disguises ensuring a complete vision that fitted the colour scheme well.         This is a notoriously difficult play to produce given its subject matter and the nature of Kate’s submission to her husband. It does feel a little out of place in this era and it will always be a bone of contention for directors as to how to manage Kate and her choices and the bullish nature of Petruchio throughout the play. The people in front of me did not know the piece and were a little taken aback by the ending, which again shows the beauty of theatre to provoke discussion and response in individuals. If you make people think and feel the battle is already partly won.

It was good to see the faithfulness to the era in which the play was written and the integrity  and commitment with which it was approached. The language work was evident; the sense and metre well captured which allowed the story to rattle along at a decent pace. There were moments when this flagged a little but overall it was a clean and precise production with each company member clearly directed and detailed in their performance; regardless of whether a cameo or principal. The background work was good throughout keeping the pictures alive and the action ongoing.    This was well cast and directed by Adela Forestier – Walker. Clearly a huge amount of text work had been undertaken alongside fight direction the attention to detail was evident throughout.

Katherina Minola (Jackie Brown) This was a feisty and confident performance. A hugely difficult character to tackle and the relationships between Kate and the other characters were well managed. It is hard to not be repetitive in the delivery of her defiance and overall this was avoided. The language control and script was super. There were times when actions would be out of keeping with the era and she was occasionally very modern woman but this did not detract from the performance.   Petruchio (Jonathan Saunt – Lord) This was a fine performance, there was a swagger that worked well for him with his indifference to the situation openly brutal but understandable. Again the repetitive arguments and physical entanglements whilst are scripted it can be hard to keep “alive.” The chemistry between the two characters was good and the developments throughout clear and thoughtful. The finals scene could also be reached by not starting the piece at such an extreme level of anger for Kate and indifference for Petruchio – this could make the eventual conclusion feel less “contrived” all of these things lie purely in the script and not in your performances which were both full of honesty, integrity and commitment.

With the thought of the editing necessary to get it to the RSC at the Dell it may well be worth toying with different starting points to enable the cuts in the script to not feel too imposing. It may also be worth cutting some of the top  of Act 2 as we are led back and forwards to similar situations with little plot development. However the journey in Sc 5 was nicely handled and well directed with good humour. This could be expanded and we could maybe see the game “dawning” a little earlier on.

There are many good roles in this production – Lucentio (Jamie House) and Tranio (Jay Cullen) alongside Gremio (Jules Porter) and Hortensio (Pete Davidson) have a lot of dialogue and plotting to share. This was all well done, it is hard to keep the energy and pace going in these “wordy” scenes but generally these worked well and the relationships were strong. Baptista (Graham Thomas) a suitably exasperated father!     Bianca Minola (Maddy Holley) this is a hard role as she is essential to the entire plot and has to have a good strength of presence to not get “lost” in the main thrust of the piece. Here Bianca was a person in her own right with her own needs that featured well.   Grumio (Richard Clarke) this was an excellent fool. Beautifully bawdy and lewd, the comedy was well handled and the timing measured and accurate. There was much fun to be had and the audience were with you from the outset. Your relationship with Petruchio was clear and the characterisations allowed us to understand further his attitude to Kate and her dowry.

All servants and supporting roles were well established which gave the entire production great polish and a real sense of accomplishment.    ALPs have a way of creating some high quality drama time and time again. The excellent creative team alongside production skills in the group ensure a good show. The depth of talent in the company is clear and the ability to continual cast and produce work of this standard is a real privilege.

SEASON'S GREETINGS December 2015

This was undoubtedly the right time of year to present Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Season’s Greetings’ and no one in the audience could have failed to recognize the many stereotypes of family behavior at Christmas. Ayckbourn is brilliant at allowing an audience to have great fun at the expense of his characters whilst making each and everyone watching vaguely uncomfortable at their extreme antics, probably a bit ‘close to home’! It takes a strong and talented cast to bring these characters to life and Athenaeum Limelight Players certainly demonstrated their talents and abilities.

The play is set in the ‘Bunker’ household where the family is hosting Christmas with an assortment of guests. Each guest has ‘issues’ and these are played out against a background of Christmas ‘time honoured’ traditions. Of course human nature gets in the way and almost destroys the festive occasion, much to the delight and amusement of the audience.  The very workable set (although looking a bit drab and unfinished) allowed the cast to move around a house and perform in different rooms, hall, lounge and dining room with ease. It was difficult to define which era the play was set, but it was almost timeless in appearance.  There were many time and day changes and lots of props to keep the stage crew busy…in almost blackout they prepared upcoming scenes quietly and efficiently. Lighting was fairly basic as the play was set indoors, but I must comment on the ‘night scene’ set in a darkened house, it takes skill to represent complete darkness whilst allowing the audience to see the action…. Well done.

The whole cast appeared at total ease with moves, set and props, performing very naturally. This is a sign of very good direction and natural ability of the cast.  In this play each character is unique and each maintained their extreme distinctiveness throughout, even when on stage with very little to do or say... Neville and Eddie huddled over a broken toy, Phyllis watching TV and miserable Pattie realistically clutching her ‘bump’.

There were no weak links in this cast and everyone performed with talent and enthusiasm. There were a few real highlights when the audience rolled with laughter. The exquisite amorous scene between Belinda and Clive made me laugh out loud, their antics real enough to imagine, were pure farce and their timing excellent.

 I don’t know why the shooting of Clive came as a surprise to me, as on reflection there were many signs that this was coming. References to guns, violence and the police should have warned me, but surprise me it did. This event brought the play to a speedy and untimely conclusion, vaguely unsatisfying for me, but the audience left having given the cast a great ovation and all of us very well entertained. Tony and I had an excellent evening standing in for your Noda Rep Petra Schofield. It was a privilege to attend your lovely theatre and be so welcomed. Thank you to Sarah Hailstone for her hospitality. Well done ALP, a very entertaining evening.

'ALLO 'ALLO 15-18 July 2015 

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Once again it is a pleasure to attend an ALP production. The quality of finish and attention to detail is outstanding alongside an excellent cast.

 The classic `Allo `Allo series can be seen as a little bit of a gamble but clearly the presence of Mark Rhodes as the beleaguered Rene Artois was a winner from the outset.  A strong performance, excellent diction despite the accent and the audience warmed immediately to the characterisation.  The gift of a brilliant script might be one thing, but it needs gentle care to make it work properly.

 Maria Giuliani as Edith was well cast and although slightly more could have been made of the song with Mimi and Yvette so it had a little more gusto the cabaret spots were well handled. It is important to remember not to be too good.  There was good relationship between Rene and Edith allowing the bickering and fun to bounce along.

 Jackie Brown and Grace Shobbrook as Yvette and Mimi, great characterisation and clearly capable actresses.  They were crucial in keeping the background “business” alive and worked hard throughout. They were both fun and gorgeous providing engaging performances for the audience to enjoy.

 Graham Thomas as the Colonel is clearly enjoying the humour and fun of the piece alongside the ebullient Steve Adderley as Alberto. A good double act with great rapport.

 The play works well on so many levels for a company such as ALPS as all characters are integral to the general action and the quality of this piece relied very much on the fact that there was not a weak link in the casting.

 Hayley Shepherd as Helga and Jamie House as Herr Flick, again strong characterisation with great control of the humour and dialogue; Jamie House finely tuning the timing for greatest effect and responding well to the audience.

 Stephanie Skinner as Michelle was a feisty resistance worker, again ensuring that the humour was underplayed and controlled well.  Here the more extreme the situation the more enjoyable the instructions; the arrival of Robert Lewis (Leclerc) as the parrot seller was well set up both in performance and direction.

Julian Porter as Crabtree certainly gained more control as the evening went on, the opening was a little rushed and the accent seemed to take over; once in stride this was a very good performance and suitably silly for all to find hugely entertaining, lovely physical comedy too.

The cameo roles from Clive Orchard, Jim Read, Ian Morrison the cafe patrons and airmen were all accomplished well; everyone appeared to be “part of” the cafe life and the dynamics between all on stage were detailed and clearly directed.

The direction of this piece allowed a clear flow of dialogue against the “background” of the cafe; there were excellent choices in use of staging and the fairly simple static set was both beautifully finished as well as being a great way of creating the various scenes.  The creation of the bedroom and cinema quickly dealt with and the lack of visible stage crew a great bonus. The fluidity of the action helped the piece enormously and ensured the energy never ebbed.

The tricky accents were well managed throughout clearly a lot of work has gone into this production.  The costumes, hair and colour choices were perfect. Make up was well used and the lighting supported a picture perfect production.

ALPS are clearly a strong company and have an excellent following, Warminster are very lucky to have such a wealth of talent and commitment in the town.  It is always a pleasure to come and watch productions and I look forward to the next venture.

Petra Schofield NODA SW Representative – District 10


Macbeth 25-28 March

macb2.jpgThank you for your invitation to Macbeth at The Athenaeum.  It is lovely to see a company taking the plunge and participating in the RSC Open Stages and congratulations for the invitation to perform at The Dell at Stratford upon Avon; a great achievement.
Graham Thomas, directing, updated every moment available. Some of these were more successful than others. The overall concept was good, the extension of the idea of Lady Macbeth having lost a child alongside the creation of Hectate as an arbiter of the piece worked very well; Jackie Brown providing a strong presence and clear purpose leading the weird sisters and other characters through the story.   The use of technology is always a gamble, the overuse of the screens at the beginning of the piece was visually baffling and the “shaky” camera work distracting when trying to listen to the dialogue. 
There is so much “setting up” in these early moments that it was easy to lose the thread of the political storyline if you were new to the play.  The use of mobile phones / laptops worked consistently well throughout. The witches were so strong they could have carried the moment without any additional technological help.

Many of the soliloquies were delivered “out front” so lost some of the intimacy and emotional drive of the internal struggles.  This was a consistent decision and whilst it works on one level, it becomes a little didactic and the audience may engage less with a character who is pacing and talking “at you” there is a fine balance and I appreciate this is a fiercely objective production (and review) but a mix of the two styles may have drawn the audience in further to the turmoil, especially with regards to Macbeth whose inner world relies on focus and detail and emotional drive.

This production gave some excellent performances, a fine strong and highly impressive Lady Macbeth (Tanya Stockting) who, alongside Macbeth, (Richard Clarke) led the show admirably. Their early exchanges were highly charged emotionally and their relationship believable; Lady Macbeth created a gritty onstage edge and her dialogue was well delivered capturing an unnerving determination to see her husband crowned King.

The weird sisters were a good team, Ruby Hyde, Tash Ross, Maddy Holley led by Jackie Brown they had great chemisty and  energy&nbsnbsp; the  delivery of language. The costumes were excellent throughout (Cate Hiscocks and team take a bow) but the creativity of the design here and with Hectate was visually intriguing.

Ian Morrison (Banquo) was a strong and believable friend.  The relationship with Macbeth was well managed and again the input from the Open Stages team in text work paid off dividends as each character created so much more than usual from the script.

 Robert Billen (MacDuff) was another good performance. The stage fighting in the final moments was well executed and provided a fitting end to the text.

 The Macduff family provided good support – Hayley Shepherd, Brandon Grant and Fabian Butler all clear in direction and speech. Always good to see young members stepping up and getting involved with commitment and determination.  Likewise Nathan Lamb as Fleance did well. 

Mention should also go to Tanya Stockting for the composition; the music was both atmospheric and fitting, confirming the unique character of the production.

The whole company and all the “Kings Men” clearly approached the production with great commitment and understanding of what was required to make the text fly and create a strong drama. All the supporting roles were well presented and the depth of input from both the RSC open stages teams and the ALPS creative team ensured a clear sense of purpose and the overall vision worked well. The simple staging was effective and well used.  Perhaps a few extra levels would benefit the onward production as being outdoors will prove to be a very different experience and brings with it a set of new challenges for the company.  

 There is so much to admire in the work of ALPs; if only because you have again pushed the expectations and boundaries of your audience to see things differently. There is bravery in that and in a world where lots of companies are choosing to play it safe, you are collectively leading from the front and should be rightly proud of your achievements.

 Thank you again for inviting me to this production and I wish you much success.

Petra Schofield - NODA South West Regional Representative – District 10


 
 
 


   
     ABOUT US   
 
WELCOME TO OUR WEBSITE... everything will be found on one page, but with links to specific items of interest !

We are the Athenaeum Centre’s Resident Drama Society.  We like to think of ourselves as non-professional rather than amateur - meaning that we  aim high.

Read our latest Newsletter (see top of page) to keep up to date with our latest news, future plans and up to date diary. 
Its easy to join us and you will be sure of a good welcome;  we pride ourselves on a membership that range from 10 to 80+ and try hard to provide something for everyone, including a full programme of professional training, social events, quiz nights and visits.  
Our Inspiration Evenings (an opportunity to try out scenes and improvise with text)  appeal as much to novices as the more experienced - and take place once or twice a  month, generally on a Wednesday - like us on Facebook for updates.

Those involved in productions rehearse on Tuesday and  Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings.
Any Drama Society is only as good as its members - and ours are enthusiastic and eager to learn and share. Our society is getting well known for high quality productions and, just as importantly, for friendliness.  New members are always welcome and can expect to get involved at the earliest opportunity whether as cast or crew. We look forward to hearing from you. 
Artistic Director Adela Forestier-Walker :  0788 7730199

We regularly get nominated for Awards for our productions, and have won Best Comedy and Technical Brilliance :

The AWARD Winners at the NODA dinner and on the Red Carpet at the Marriott City Hotel in Bristol in March 2015.  The Award was Best Comedy for 'Blackadder Goes Forth'. Most of the cast were present, and we all wished that everyone could have been there to share the moment, missing cast members, crew and Tech wonders.  Thanks to you from ALPs and their committee.
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The Award Winners at NODA dinner and on the 'red carpet' in March of 2014. These were awards for all! Tabitha for her fab Poster design, and cast - but more especially everyone backstage and in the Tech box, for the Tech Achievement Award. However mostly it was for all at ALPs, and resulted in a very proud and grateful Chairman and Committee.


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AUDITIONS / PLAYREADING :
PLAYREADINGS - usually to read a play pre-production or to discuss the merits of a play that is being considered for the future.

SCENE & ROLE PLAYING - to give those of us who are new to directing or to acting an opportunity to try out various roles in a social setting within the comfort of the Athenaeum Function Room - just performing and directing for ourselves.
STAGE MANAGEMENT - to discuss and learn the methods of stage managing generally, and for those aspects specially required for the Athenaeum's Auditorium.
Keep abreast of our auditions and more information via this page and our facebook page facebook.gif

RSC SECTION :
rsc.jpgRSC's UK-wide Open Stages project
ALPs are very proud to announce that we have been selected to participate in the RSC's UKwide Open Stages project. This is an initiative undertaken by the Royal Shakespeare Company to support local amateur theatre companies across the country through a process of mentoring and skills workshops, designed to heighten skills in performing Shakespeare. The year-long workshops and master classes will cover text, movement, speech, and direction, working with professional actors and directors to help the groups get the most out of their production.The project will begin with all 86 directors (including ALPs’ own Graham Thomas), going to the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon late in September for a weekend of skills workshops, followed later in October by ALPs’ local theatre partner, the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton, playing host to more workshops and mentoring for the cast. Our production of Macbeth, to be performed in March 2015 at the Athenaeum Centre, was chosen as one of just 86 productions nationally to benefit from this professional mentoring and guidance. When choosing, the RSC were looking for companies that offered something different or unique - our version will certainly do that, with a contemporary setting at Scottish First Minister Duncan’s battlefield headquarters at the end of a bloody war with England over Scottish devolution.

AS A RESULT OF OUR RSC OPEN STAGES PROJECT
WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE PRIVILEGE OF USING THE OPEN STAGES LOGO FOR THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE.



ALPs AWARDS :

The 'Limeys' were Awards originating from our last Chairman Bob Lewis and the system has stuck - well, sort of! As from April 2012 under the Chairmanship of Adela Forestier-Walker, a small 'silvered' cup is awarded (but returned for the next production!) which recognizes one individual who is specially commended for their particular hard work and selflessness in that particular production. Additionally, and in homage to the Olympics, Adela has been awarding 'Gold' Medals to those who have been outstanding in one of our Productions -outstanding backstage or 'in the limelight' themselves. As from July 2014, these Medals have been replaced by Certificates which go to all the cast and crew.

April 2012
The Cup: Gabrielle Watts  
Medals Peter Stockting
July 2012 
The Cup
:
Graham Southey
Medals: Pete Davidson, Andrea Pearce

Nov 2012 
The Cup:
Sarah Hailstone   
Medals
:
  Debs Hyde


The 2012
  ALPs Red Carpet Awards    Youtube video


July 2013
  
The Cup:  Jim Read               
Medals: Jenny Sach, Jamie House, Tony South and Jason Corke  

Nov 2013
  
The Cup
:
Cate Hiscocks       
Medals
:
Shauna Phillips Newman, Ruby Hyde and Robert (Bob) Lewis

Mar 2014 

The Cup
: Tanya Stockting 
Medals: Nathan Lamb, Pauline Charlesworth, Carla Maguire
Jul 2014  
The Cup
:
Jamie House     
Certificates
:
To all the cast and crew, and grateful recognition to all helpers
Dec 2014 
The Cup: Deb Hyde      
Certificates
:
 To all the cast and crew, and grateful recognition to all helpers.
MAR 2015
The Cup: Ian Morrison
Certs: To cast and Crew
JULY 2015
The Cup: Clive Orchard for his debut acting role in 'Allo 'Allo
Certs: To Cast and Crew

Certificates are always given to Cast and Crew, but the ALPs CUP is given at the discretion of the Chair & Director.


DECEMBER 2015  Bethan Davies for her moving portrayal of 'Pattie' in Seasons Greetings
JULY 2016  The Cup for The Taming of the Shrew was given to Tanya Stockting for her inspirational help as Assistant Director.
DECEMBER 2016 The cup for Jekyll & Hyde was given to Robert Billen for his amazing performance in the dual role of Dr Jekyll and of Mr Hyde.  
MARCH 2017  The cup for Bouncers & Shakers
was given to Charlotte Stringer for her debut directorial role with ALPs where she brought innovative ideas to the Ath stage in collaboration with Marc Cox' set design.



ALPs WARDROBE :

The room in which our Wardrobe is housed is constantly being revamped and growing and we have some great pictures to illustrate our collection - see our Picture Gallery over on the left. We currently have a fairly extensive Wardrobe with the potential to create some great
outfits/ensembles to suit all occasions, from Fancy Dress to sophisticated drama productions and musicals - for men, women and children. We are able to hire out items at a modest price - currently £15 for a full outfit . More items are added weekly and if you want to hire or to donate items contact Cate (Wardrobe Mistress) on 01985 212821 or email catehiscocks@hotmail.co.uk to arrange a viewing or donate. (Cate is always looking for more clothes, shoes, hats, bags, wedding dresses - or just fabric.   So let her know if you have been having a clear out! Wigs and wig stands are welcome too.) Don't worry if you do not see exactly what you want as Cate is willing to alter or make new items with reasonable notice

MEMBERSHIP :
The Athenaeum Limelight Players welcome new members of all ages. If you are interested in joining the group, please download and fill in the application form below.  A subscription of £16 per adult (over 16 years) payable annually (£15 if paid by direct debit or standing order) from 1st January. (Cheques to be made payable to Atheaeum Limelight Players) - for BACs details contact the Membership Secretary Heather Durbin on heatherdurbin82@gmail.com 
application form viewPDF.jpg
Positions available:
Acting
Adult/Children’s theatre
Publicity
Backstage
Backstage includes set design, construction, scene-painting, stage management, scene-shifting,wardrobe, properties & and more ! 
Previous stage experience is not required for membership of Limelight, but it would be helpful if you could indicate below any such experience that you may have.
Alternatively email adelafw@gmail.com

PAST PRODUCTIONS
2006 - Bad Bad Jo Jo (One of our members, Brian Long, won Best Actor award at theCodford Woolstore Festival) for his role in this play. 
2006 - Half Way up the Wall
2007 - The Railway Children
2008 - Night Must Fall
2008 - Three Plays and a Pudding - Three one act plays: The Wrong Place, World Premier and The Dumb Waiter.
2008 - A Christmas Carol
June 2009 - Two Plays & A Pudding - The Canary Cage and What's For Pudding?
Nov 2009 - Curtain Up On Murder
April 2010 - Sand Castles
August 2010 - The Real Inspector Hound
March 2011 - Habeas Corpus
July 2011 - Two Plays & A Pudding - Who Cares Wins and Last Tango in Little Grimley 
November 2011 - Wyrd Sisters by Sir Terry Pratchett
March 2012 - The Importance of Being Earnest
July 2012 - Two Plays & a Pudding - Between Mouthfuls and Last Panto in Little Grimley
November 2012 & January 2013 - The Vicar of Dibley - nominated for NODA'S Best drama
Summer 2013 - Recollections (The Codford One Act Play Festival)  - nominations and awards
July 2013 - Midsummer Madness - The Fat Lady Sings in Little Grimley and Fawlty Towers
November 2013 - Romeo & Juliet - Nominated for NODA'S Best Drama
March 2014 - Accrington Pals
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July 2014 - Blackadder Goes Forth - Won NODA'S Best Comedy
Oct 2014 - Annie One Two Three
Dec 2014
- A Vicar of Dibley Christmas - Nominated for NODA'S Best Comedy 
March 2015 - Macbeth - nominated and received NODA'S Award for Visual Excellence
July 2015 - 'Allo 'Allo - Nominated for NODA'S Best Comedy
December 2015  - Seasons Greetings
July 2016 - The Taming of the  Shrew - Nominated for NODA'S Best Drama
November 2016 - Jekyll & Hyde - Nominated for NODA'S Best Drama, received Award for Visual Excellence and Best Programme
March 2016 -
Bouncers & Shakers
July 2017 -  
 

RECENT REVIEWS FROM NODA are on the left hand side, older reviews below:

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NODA were unable to find the time to attend and review our December 2014 production but the following is a local review by the Fine Times Recorder & The Valley News

 A Vicar of Dibley Christmas - DEC 2014

15148110302_e0ab5f9fd4_q.jpgWARMINSTER’s Limelight Players played to full houses for four nights at the Athenaeum with The Vicar of Dibley: The Second Coming. Based on the 1990s television show (which starred Dawn French as the vicar of a rural parish full of eccentric characters), the show was first staged by the Limelight Players two years ago and this pre-Christmas encore was in response to popular demand.

Deborah Hyde successfully stepped into the surplice as Geraldine, the vicar, and Sarah Pickford’s portrayal of the naïve verger, Alice, was carried off with delightful conviction.

The individual characters at the parish meetings appeared to relish their roles with Graham Thomas as the chairman, David, maintaining authority as the chairman while struggling to sustain a Christian attitude towards his disappointing daughter in law (Alice).

There was a double set showing the parish hall and vicarage, with vignettes between Alice and the vicar in the vestry.

A rare hush descended on the audience when Frank, played by Robert Lewis, took the microphone for a personal “outing” on Dibley’s local radio station, which provided the action for much of the first act.

The second raised the comedy to a new level as it focused on preparations for the Christmas nativity play in which a heavily pregnant Alice takes the part of Mary. Much hilarity followed when the verger went into labour on stage and a vet from the audience volunteered to help.

The highlight of the show was Alice’s confusion about her personal and stage identity – as she cradles her newborn in her arms she wonders if she has given birth to the son of God!

The show was expertly directed and produced by the Players’ chairman, Adela Forestier Walker.

ANNIE ONE, TWO, THREE - Otober  2014 

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Thank you, as always, for the invitation and warm welcome at the venue.  It was lovely to see it so busy and is a good reflection of the support for the company in the community.
This was a play that was new to me, understandably chosen to showcase the talents of your more experienced members who handled the piece admirably.
From the outset it was clear that this script whilst serving a purpose is not particularly well written and some of the lines must have been quite difficult to work with.  That is not remotely anything to do with the cast or the production, but it made the pace occasional a little flat.
The central performances were strong and well played; it was inspiring to watch the talents of Jenny Sachs (Martha) and Margaret 
Manning (Mary) who clearly relished the opportunity to take key roles and carried them off with great style.  Equally so, Judith Green as Ruby was perfect casting, bringing a flourish to proceedings.  Having this standard of performance from the more mature members was a real treat and whilst Maria Giuliani worked hard as Miriam, the age gap was always evident.  It might have been more successful had the physicality of being a much older woman been taken into account, maybe also a longer skirt length and more costume to “hide” behind, you would still have been able to be stylish.  Either way, the dialogue was well handled and you worked well together as a trio. Robert Lewis (Eric) was a suitably downtrodden son who found his voice and alongside Elaine Orchard (Alison) you made a good couple.  Kelly Pullen (Patricia) remained calm and collected. This was a well measured performance which could have easily distracted from the other sub plots very early on.
The police team of Wendy Dopheide and Stephanie Sturdee worked very well, providing some good comedy as well as creating strong characterisation.  They brought the play to its conclusion and their costumes here were very good too.

Overall this was a successful production, the direction was clear and did not give away too much too early, props and costumes supported the storyline well. You are a strong company and to be able to undertake this production is a real credit to a forward thinking committee team, realising the breath of talent in the membership.

BLACKADDER - July 2014

549f6c25-fa09-49a3-8505-c9263e8bf61d.jpgReview 19th July by Petra Schofield – NODA rep Region 102014

Thank you for your kind invitation to Blackadder Goes Forth, it was heartening to see such strong ticket sales and support for ALP on the final night of the run.
Blackadder is a good choice of show, it is popular on so many levels but given the centenary of the start of WW1; it seems more appropriate than ever.  The scripts are excellent and audiences know exactly what to expect, even if this does create a safe environment for performers who become extensions of already recognised characters who cannot be changed.
This was a good, strong production. Performances were impressive, particularly from Jamie House (George) whose huge energy, charm and immaculate comic timing made for a great side kick to Ian Morrison (Blackadder) whilst Tony Knowles (Baldrick) was suitably downtrodden and dirty.
f02e9140-9c19-4000-a4d9-b38213a6cf2f.jpgThere is great fun to be had with these characters and none of this was missed Pete Davidson (Melchett) and Elliott Wheeler (Capt. Darling) were a good team whilst Justin Snell – McLellan (Lord Flashheart) was a fine performance alongside the cameo but essential role of Driver Bob (Jackie Brown.)  Robert Lewis (Haig) was well realised whilst the additional soldiers Joe Bumstead and Tanya Stockting added depth to the small company and created some good background images.
The whole company no doubt had a great time with this show.  The set was excellent, creating a good trench dug out whilst the apron allowed the offices to create the more austere environments.  The design and construction team did a good job – whilst it was a static set it was solid and versatile and well painted.
Costumes were outstanding (Cate Hiscocks & Co.), clearly well sourced, well fitting and striking in appearance – the props complemented these well.  There was little out of place (except maybe a rogue sticker on a boot)
The sound effects and lighting was well managed (John and Johnny Poole), the use of projection at the beginning of Act 2 was good fun and the use of the Warminster Community Choir in the interval was an inspired idea.  I particularly liked the involvement of further community groups into the production and perhaps had this been playing at the beginning too, those who ran out for the interval wouldn’t have missed such a treat.
It was clear that this was a huge hit with the audience, the direction was sound and use of all available entrances and exits helped keep momentum and energy throughout.
Congratulations on a successful production, I look forward to the next one – wishing you all a peaceful summer
Petra Schofield


ACCRINGTON PALS - March 2014

accringtonpals.pngThe Accrington Pals, is a great choice of play given the centenary of the start of WWW1.  It is a fine play and the script offers a lot of scope for actors, I appreciate some of the company had not been involved in a show before and all credit to the cast who worked really well together.Performances were generally strong, the ladies certainly made the most of their situation and characterisation was good.  The drinking scene in Act 2 was definitely a highlight with lovely rapport and sensitivity to the text and each other.  Bertha (Beth Dombkowski) and Sarah (Jackie Brown) were a great pairing with a believable and entertaining friendship. The men were also impressive with some strong moments; going over the top in the trenches was the pinnacle moment of the show and was captured well. Both Tom (Rob Billen) and Ralph (Tony Knowles) worked well to create their roles; with fine support from the rest of the company including the young Nathan Lamb.  The costumes were excellent, allowing a really good feel to the era – both for men and women.  The music was well chosen and singing from Tanya Stocking was well delivered.  It is easy to see that ALPs has a strong company with a real commitment to the task in hand.  This was a good production and no doubt has proven to be a learning experience for many of the younger members of the cast.

ROMEO & JULIET NOVEMBER 2013
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Congratulations are in order whenever a drama company seeks to perform works by our greatest playwright.  
With a full-length performance or, as in this case, a heavily abridged version what is going to be vital is a clear delivery of Shakespeare’s wonderful text.  This is where this particular production raised the game.  Time and effort had quite obviously been spent working the text.  Voices
were agile and resonant with articulation well manipulated while not being exaggerated.  This allowed the delivery to be perfectly normal and immediate without a touch of “hallowedness” while remaining respectful of the author’s intentions.  In any performance of this play the naturalness of the younger characters is so important to the piece having any ability to make people think, and this portrayal certainly achieved this excellently.  Words were generally clear and audible.  Except with a couple of characters voices were natural and easily assimilated.  Work with Michael Corbidge obviously inspired everyone and had been successfully followed-up throughout the rehearsal period.  Because of this no one could say that Shakespeare’s lines were not well spoken.

Reading the informative programme introduced the actors behind the characters.  This was most interesting and confirmed that, the apparent limited experience (assuming experience is calculated by years of practise or number of roles played) of most of the cast, freed the production from affected acting and a deluge of tricks.   
Conclusions:    The impression given was that these actors and their technical support enjoy Shakespeare and that the audience should enjoy his work too.   If the presentation is fun for the performers and crew then the audience will enjoy it as well.  So many of the necessary boxes were ticked, particularly in delivery of the lines, storytelling and naturalness of characterisation, that it would be hard to fail, but some companies would still have messed up.  Athenaeum Limelight Players certainly did not mess up but brought an exciting play to a thankful audience in an exuberant and modernistic manner.   The choice of author was challenging and even risky, but the whole came off really successfully. 


MIDSUMMER MADNESS  JULY 2013
   THE FAT LADY SINGS   

The cast clearly threw everything they had at the story as it was, and were clearly having lots of fun with characters that they were very comfortable with and had put a lot of thought
and development into.

basil.jpg   FAWLTY TOWERS
This clearly showed that Graham Thomas had clearly worked hard with his company to achieve that very fine balance between rewarding the audience with some very recognisable old favourites, and not making us feel that we could have simply been watching repeats on BBC2.

THE VICAR OF DIBLEY
 NOVEMBER 2012 & MARCH 2013

vod.jpgI con
gratulate director, Adela Forestier-Walker and all at ALPs for achieving this very high class production. You took a chance in performing such a well-loved TV programme and it paid off in spades. Your Warminster audience was treated to a splendid evening out that produced much hilarity and enjoyment – they are fortunate indeed to have such a talented, enthusiastic and dedicated group on their doorstep.

TWO PLAYS AND A PUDDING JULY 2012

BETWEEN MOUTHFULS 
set the evening off perfectly and there were some 
fine individual performances most noticeably by Tom Hiscocks as the waiter. His portrayal was very John Cleese/Fawlty Towers like at times, I’msure as directed, and was always amusing.
LAST PANTO IN LITTLE GRIMLEY    
The play beautifully depicted the various ‘traditional’ characters one usually sees in any amateur theatre group and each actor delivered their characterisation to perfection; although I have to admit I found some of the material they had to deliver less good than they were! Judith Green, the director, gave each of the actors’ ample opportunities to come to the fore at the appropriate time and this each grasped with both hands.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST MARCH 2012
iobe.jpgOscar Wilde’s farcical comedy is a satire of Victorian ways and is probably his most enduringly popular play. However, it is this audience familiarity, off-set by the unfamiliarity of its speech, poise and mannerisms for today’s actors which create the play’s greatest challenges and ALPs were more than up to the task.   The production had a good pace and rhythm to it, allowing the witty dialogue and comic exchanges to flow in-time and rarely drag. All of the actors presented an impressive attention to detail in terms of their speech, poise and mannerisms to match their characters and the time period.

file_12_45380125092011.jpgWYRD SISTERS NOVEMBER 2011
This was a brave choice of production for a group that has been used to performing more traditional fare, although looking at the packed house on Saturday night it appeared to have been fully justified. Talking to director, Adela Forestier-Walker, and Assistant Director, Judith Green, before the show and during the interval both commented on how this play had brought new members into the company and new younger audiences to the theatre and I congratulate Limelight Productions for taking this stance. Without an injection of new blood from time to time any organisation will fail and so I applaud all concerned for their foresight and ability to accept change (something many amateur groups find very difficult).