2018 – 2019 Season

‘Two’ by Jim Cartwright
Saturday 29th September 2018 to Saturday 6th October 2018

Taking place over the course of one evening in a typical Northern pub, Jim Cartwright’s ‘Two’ famously features fourteen diverse characters played by just two actors, as various members of the local community pull up a stool and let us into their lives. Written in 1989 but still astonishingly real today, this much performed yet no less loved two-hander by the celebrated Lancastrian playwright waltzes the audience through a spectrum of human emotion, weaving a rich tapestry of life in a working class town through intimate insights into the lives of the colourful pub regulars. A bickering husband and wife and the dozen regulars who pass through their pub in an evening are played by two actors. Each vignette skillfully combines pathos and humor. When a little boy is left behind by his father, a fragile reconciliation occurs as their own dark tragedy is revealed.Characters (1m 1f) Actor 1 Actor 2

‘Come Blow Your Horn’ by Neil Simon
Saturday 17th November 2018 to Saturday 24th November 2018

The play tells the story of a young man’s decision to leave the home of his parents for the bachelor pad of his older brother who leads a swinging ’60s lifestyle. Buddy is a 21-year-old virgin and his older brother Alan is a ladies’ man. Alan lives in an apartment in the East Sixties, New York City. But as the play progresses Alan discovers real feelings for one of the many women with whom he is currently sleeping and when she elects to leave him, he falls apart in response. This contrasts Alan’s hunger for companionship with Buddy’s
metamorphosis into a ladies’ man himself. The playwright points out the fundamental spiritual and emotional emptiness of the playboy lifestyle for which the younger sibling desperately yearns.
Characters (3m 3f) Alan Baker, Peggy Evans, Buddy Baker, Mr. (Father) Baker, Connie, Mrs. (Mother) Baker

‘Hindle Wakes’ by Stanley Houghton
Saturday 9th March 2019 to Saturday 16th March 2019

The play is set in the fictional mill town of Hindle in Lancashire in England, and concerns two young persons, Fanny Hawthorn and Alan Jeffcote, who are discovered to have been having what would now be called a “dirty weekend” during their holiday, during the town’s wakes week. Class is a major plot point in the play; Fanny is a mill-hand in the factory owned by Alan’s father and their respective fathers once worked together before Mr Jeffcote senior rose to owning a mill, while Mr Hawthorn continued as a mill worker. After initial reluctance on the part of Mr Jeffcote senior, and the outright opposition of his wife (who suspects Fanny of being a gold-digger), the families pressure the couple to get married. Greatly to the surprise of everyone (including Alan) Fanny refuses. She makes it clear that she regarded the dalliance with Alan as “a bit of fun” and considers him a poor choice for a husband. She is disowned by her people but expresses confidence that her skills as a weaver will allow her to support herself in the future.
Characters (4m 5f) Mrs Hawthorn, Christopher Hawthorn, Fanny Hawthorn, Mrs Jeffcote, Nathaniel Jeffcote, Alan Jeffcote, Sir Timothy Farrar, Beatrice Farrar, Ada the Maid

‘Summer End’ by Eric Chappell
Saturday 11th May to Saturday 18th May 2019

Emily Baines and May Brewer share a room in a retirement home. Emily’s previous room-mate, Bella, died not long ago. Iron-willed but forgetful, Emily is certain that Bella was murdered by one of the carers, and she has evidence to prove it. When her evidence disappears and Bella’s sapphire ring is found among her possessions Emily cannot remember enough about her own past actions to stop the finger of suspicion pointing at her. It is not until May is attacked that the mystery is solved.
Characters (1m 4f) Emily Baines, May Brewer, Sally, Mrs Lang, Alan Baines

CINDERELLA

Players Youth Theatre

As the M People song goes, “What have you done today to make you feel proud?”

In this case it was the youth production of the pantomime, Cinderella. It is my understanding that this was a first for the Players Youth: to stage a full production of a pantomime, and totally cast from this element of the society, and to be delivered in such a professional manner. It is important for me to commend the hard work and dedication that the adults of the society give, such as Barbara Harris (director) and her assistant, Rob McGregor, to deliver such a thoroughly enjoyable production. It is only by being passionate and willing to share our craft that the next generation gets an opportunity to shine.

This pantomime, by Ben Crocker, followed the traditional tale. Prince Charming and Dandini trading places to deliver the Ball invitations to the people of the kingdom, and on the way meeting Cinderella and her two ugly sisters, Cheryl and Beryl, along with Baron Hardup (Harry Bailey) and his wife, Lady Devilia (Danielle Higson-Didd). At the Ball there was the loss of a shoe, and a Kingdom in which to search for the owner, so that the prince could marry his Cinderella.

We were introduced to the pantomime in traditional style, through rhyme, delivered confidently by Abby Walmsley, the Fairy Godmother, who narrated the story in rhyme throughout keeping us up to date on what was going on.

Poor Cinders was innocently played by Sara Morgan, who interacted well with all the other main characters. She became the focus of attention for the Prince, played confidently by Naomi Hunter. The Prince’s sidekick, Dandini (Mia Gibson), provided the audience with exasperated and knowing looks throughout and seemed to be enjoying the mayhem around her.

Not only was the Prince interested in Cinderella, but Adam Gibson engaged us with his shy, lovelorn character of Buttons. Now here was the lynchpin to the smooth running of this pantomime. Adam engaged with the audience at every opportunity and navigated us all through the scenes with a great sense of humour. We all loved the audience participation, especially he was getting younger audience members onto stage. He handled the ensuing hilarious chaos with patience. Ever thought of a career as a teacher or Blue Coat, Adam?

I was amazed at the level of maturity that Izzy Ekgren and James Schilling brought to the characters of Cheryl and Beryl. This comedy duo of the Ugly Sisters has to be played out to the audience so that it is fully engaged. “Oh, yes it does!”, there is no room for shyness. The players have to be able to ad-lib and not be phased by anything that goes awry. These two actors gave performances beyond their years. There was a great slap-stick kitchen scene, and the chasing around the audience was a hoot. Well done!

Another great comedy duo, whether they knew it or not, were Toby Metcalf and Li Chow, the Brokers Men, Snitch and Snatch. These two young men were so confident in their stage presence, moves and line delivery. A great job, guys.

All other players helped this production move at a good pace. Harry was the henpecked Baron, while his Baroness (Danielle) gave us a character to boo!

It seemed to me that this society had provided everything to the youth production that they would with one of their adult presentations. The scenery was minimal but effective creating the scenes, with good lighting to enhance the overall picture. The costumes for this pantomime were excellent. I am sure all those on stage appreciated the work that had gone into making them, especially that of the pantomime horse, Headle Chulme Champ.

Carol Ackers had created simple choreography that didn’t overwhelm abilities or the staging.

There were only two adults on stage. Margaret Williams, playing the keyboard accompaniment, and Val Middleton-Egan, who was the redundant, in the best possible way, continuity.

I am in no doubt that many of the adult society members helped in this production. What came across was the passion of theatre for the youth and the desire to nurture the arts. Bravo!

You can see the review HERE

 

One of our senior reviewers Nicky Lambert picks er top three shows of 2017, all of which are amateur productions, highlighting the quality of the amateur theatre scene in the area.

enter site Hobson’s Choice – Player’s Theatre

This production was one of my theatrical highlights of 2017 because it was of such a professional standard. The lead characters were dream casting, particularly Ian Wilkinson as Henry Hobson. Every show performed by The Player’s Theatre is of an impeccable standard and the passion for theatre shines out of everyone involved, both on stage and off. ‘Hobson’s Choice’ had it all: perfect casting, great acting, humour and pathos.

 

Viagra where can i buy without prescription in Omaha Nebraska Parade – Mossley AODS

This production rivalled the professional production I saw in 2016. It has stayed in my memory very clearly because of the absolutely phenomenal cast, wonderful direction and spectacular scenes. ‘Parade’ is a heavyweight musical, it doesn’t have a frothy, happy story or joyful ending, yet this production, for me, was something that I wanted to see over and over again. An amazing achievement, excellently and expertly produced, directed and performed.

 

 

 

here A Chorus Line – Meighan Youth Theatre

After I had seen this show, I was on such a high from it that I immediately booked tickets to see it again. What an absolutely outstanding production, made all the more spectacular because it was performed by a youth cast – a cast who could hold their heads high on a West End stage. The humour, pathos and emotions were professionally conveyed and the whole evening was an experience which reaffirmed to me why I love musical theatre so much.

 

 

By Nicky Lambert North West End

The Players’ Youth production of Cinderella is one of the best pantomimes I have ever seen – oh yes it is!

This panto has all the traditional elements that you expect: a singalong, plenty of audience participation, lots of “oh no you’re not” and “behind you” but it also has a cheeky youthful aspect to it which is refreshing and absolutely hilarious.

Adam Gibson as Buttons is absolutely perfect casting. He is so at ease in this role and it must be quite challenging as you have to communicate with and encourage the audience. He did this with consummate professionalism and the part could have been made for him. I suspect there were more than a few ad libs which he came out with extremely naturally. Nothing phased him! Even occasional hiccups were dealt with smoothly and added to the delight of the evening. His facial expressions, looks directed at the audience and comedy timing are excellent and this kind of role suits him down to the ground. He really does have the ‘panto patter’ off to a tee and is an excellent link to the audience. He had us all joining in and shouting loudly within about ten seconds of being on stage – just what you want in a panto. When children were encouraged to come up to sing along, Adam was fantastic: this is a section where anything could happen but he was welcoming and friendly and chatted to them with ease. He was ably assisted by Champ, the pantomime horse (who is quite a character in his own right – played by Ellie Byrne and Anamika Chow).

What would Cinderella be without two ugly sisters – Beryl and Cheryl (James Schilling and Izzy Ekgren) – and these two were another example of genius casting. Complete with scouse brows and large moles, they almost stole the show, particularly James with his very oversized bosom and absolutely marvellous intonation, timing and delivery. He is completely at home in this comedy role. Both he and Izzy had the audience in stitches every moment they were on stage.

Every single cast member made this show so very memorable. Harry Bailey as the downtrodden Baron Hardup made the line “what a woman!” completely his own, much to the delight of the audience. When he and Buttons shared a scene, it was like straight man and funny man and they were excellent together.

One observation I would make is that during the dance scene with Buttons and Cinderella (excellently choreographed and performed), it could benefit from louder music. The keyboard was just a little bit too quiet and didn’t give the dancing quite enough support.

Tonight’s audience was made up of mostly adults (I only spotted a handful of children) but we were all thoroughly entertained and I can’t remember laughing so much during a show for ages. When I wasn’t laughing I had a beaming smile on my face. Although the cast are aged 12-18, the humour and the way they perform it is so expertly done, I think it would be wasted on an audience which was made up of mainly children. That isn’t to say that there isn’t plenty in there for children to enjoy but there’s also a lot to keep the grown-ups fully entertained from start to finish.

Cinderella was played charmingly (no pun intended) by Sarah Morgan. The role of Cinders isn’t one that has a lot of funny lines or humour but she played it very well and with a few ad libs. Like Buttons, she handled the occasional hiccup professionally and took it all in her stride. Plus she got to wear the nicest dress at the ball!

A special mention needs to go to Toby Metcalf and Li Chow as Snitch and Snatch. What a fabulous little comedy duo they are! The comedy emanating from them was amazing and they won the audience over straight away.

Warm and hearty congratulations to everyone involved in this absolutely lovely show. The set and costumes are of the high standard that the Players’ Theatre always maintain. All the cast played their roles wonderfully and made the evening a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable experience. It was immediate, warm and immersive, involving the audience at all stages. This is local theatre at its very finest. Oh yes it is!

Reviewer: Nicky Lambert NWE

Reviewed: 15th December 2017

North West End Rating: 🎄 🎄 🎄 🎄 🎄

Picture the scene:  a remote Lake District hotel, a roaring log fire, a spooky wind blowing outside…all the ingredients for the perfect setting for a bit of murder on a Monday night.

“Stone Cold Murder” written by James Cawood is the current production by the Player’s Theatre in Cheadle Hulme.   We are introduced to Olivia and Robert, a newly married couple who have taken over the running of a Lake District hotel which has just closed for the winter.

Olivia, played by Lorna Kong, is the one character in the play who is on the stage the whole time and she does a sterling job at playing the part of a nervous, paranoid woman who is clearly trying to leave her mysterious past behind her.   This includes a sinister ex-boyfriend who she is terrified will catch up with her.  Lorna was extremely compelling, particularly when she interacted with Ramsay (Lee McGregor).   Her mistrust of him was palpable and extremely believable.   We do start to question Olivia’s sanity as her paranoia builds and she does appear to lose the plot at one point.    I did like her reactions to Ramsay – at certain timesshe was just staring at him with undisguised hostility and it was very convincing.   Her obvious distrust of him was very strongly portrayed.  Ramsay himself is a mysterious character, a little odd and you can’t decide whether he’s good or bad.  Lee’s portrayal was well measured and plausible.

Ash McDowell, who plays Robert, has to play his character in two different ways and the difference is well marked and clearly defined.    Never judgea book by its “knitwear model” cover!

We are introduced to Sam (Ian Tyler), whois an aggressive, unpleasant character right from the start.   Ian managed to inject a little humour into his portrayal which was well placed and amusing.   It is clear from the off that Samis an unpredictable, angry man with an axe to grind.

The first half set the scene excellently with a good build-up of intrigueand mystery.   It was quite creepy at times!  The sound effect of the wind was fantastic, extremely atmospheric and quite eerie and was used very well to signify moments of drama.   As the first half drew to a close, the tension between the characters was tangibleand I really couldn’t imaginewhat was going to happen and how things would turn out.

The second half had a bit more action with several reveals and as expected, there were more twists and turns than a country lane.   Whilstthe actors carried the story very well, I felt the plot did become slightly implausible as the body count started to rise but maybe I’m being unreasonable as it is a play, not a documentary!   This is not to cast any aspersions on the acting or characterisation, however.

The set was wonderful – very authentically laid out as a small country hotel reception area with a log fire.  It was quite cosy and made me want to go for a hill walk just so I could come in and sit by that (also very convincing) log fire!  Huge congratulations to all those involved in building the set, it is fantastic.

It is always a pleasure to visit the Player’s theatre (and not just because of the marvellous hospitality they always provide).   This truly is a community theatre right at the heart of the community and it runs on the passion and love that everyone involved clearly has for every single production.

Stone Cold Murder runs until 25th November.

Reviewer: Nicky Lambert NEW

Reviewed: 20th November 2017 

Congratulations to Barbara Harris and Paddy Bever for winning their categories at the ACT Spotlight Awards on Saturday 18 November.
Another two for Players!
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Affiliated to the Greater Manchester Drama Federation
Member of ACT (Association of Community Theatre)