Riverside Players present Artnet by Eric Coble.
Katie Aitchison – Joanne Frida
Clive Cheer – Chief
Sarah Hill – Claudette Monet
Shari Newton – Sally Dali
Matt Frieacre – Andy Warhol
Kerry Chesher – Leanne Da Vinci
Kim Frieacre – Paula Picasso
Ferne Haxby – Mona Lisa
Jacob Friett – Sound Technician
Kirstie McMillan – Director
Enjoy the Riverside Players stylings of the classic radio drama: Brief Encounter!
Kirstie Mcmillan as Laura
Daniel O’Brien as Alec
Benjamin Newton as Fred
Ferne Haxby as Mary
Lorraine Slipper as Narrator
Clive Cheer as Condutor
Lord Dave Byrne as Foley Artist
Jacob Friett as Sound Technician
Katie Aitchison as Director/Announcer
SOCIETY Riverside Players
PRODUCTION BLACKADDER II
DATE 25TH October 2019
VENUE Eynsford Village Hall
REPORT BY Janice Boyns-Redway
The string of lights on the approach to the Village Hall were welcoming and the foyer decs. were noticeably in-keeping with this production of Blackadder11, one of Britain’s most popular TV comedies ever made. It is set in the Elizabethan era and is ‘peppered’ with sarcasm; cynicism; satire and humorous quotes, which to this day, remain ‘etched’ on the minds of eager followers.
The stage layout was innovative and enabled the actors to seamlessly move between scenes. The lighting focused the eye effectively on the duel set and the lower level of stage. The increased space worked well, allowing for spontaneity of free movement. The ‘negative’ space was used intelligently and the whole area was impressively arranged, in-keeping with the performance. The design lent itself to partially playing in-the-round, with some of the audience sitting to the side. Everyone accommodated this formation well, addressing the whole audience most of the time. The severed heads were suitably gruesome along with many other impressively thematic props.
Blackadder [Geoff Hillier] demonstrated his character convincingly by being the sly, self-centred, suave and sarcastic nobleman. He was a real cynic, had clarity of speech and was perfectly cast. Lord Percy [Michael Barker] offered a ‘constipated’ personae which epitomised his role. A little more voice clarity was needed here as with Queen Elizabeth [Lorraine Slipper], she was however a Miranda Richardson clone and added a different comic dimension. Baldrick [Jason Down] offered another convincing performance as a bumbling side- kick who was not far from the real thing. Nursie [Ferne Haxby] fascinated the audience with her unusual facial expressions and she also made a good job of producing this production. Lord Melchett [Richard Gissing] was another of the actors to have offered a performance true to his character and was natural in the way that he did it. Lady Farrow and Lady Whiteadder [Julia Bull] gave spirited performances with energy and flair. Mr Ploppy/Lord Whiteadder/Guard [Paul Friett], Mistress Ploppy/Freddie Frobisher/Guard [Tony Fish], Young Farrow/Simon Partridge/Prince Ludwig [Matthew Frieacre], Geoffrey Piddle/Executioner [Lee Bentley], Mrs Higgins [KirstyAtkinson/Naomi Morgan] and Mr Higgins [Matthew Wintour] all demonstrated ‘textured’ characters, some of whom were “repulsive” individuals which suited this production admirably. Mathew’s performance as the Prince was powerful and the brylcreamed hair added to the image. Singing Wanderer [Karen Friett] added another dimension with her powerful renditions. All showed great enthusiasm and off-stage acting maintained consistency. Noone ‘fell’ out of character. The bar staff did well in remaining discreet and they did not detract from the performance The pace throughout moved smoothly and the prompt was satisfyingly underused.Well done for continuous focus.
Congratulations go to the Director and all supporting crew. There were some novel and thematic touches ie the drinks’ names and the programme on parchment .The costumes were typical for the genre; they were well presented and colourful. The innovative layout accommodated the on-the-side seating well but the smoke machine was sited too close to seating. Baldrick’s teeth could have been a little less white and Mistress Ploppy’s hair was in need of dressing as it looked very wig like. The show could have benefitted by offering a slightly toned down exuberance, without compromising its style. Less is more. The parchment listings could be confusing for the uninitiated but overall, it was a fitting tribute to this iconic show. Congratulations go to everyone involved for their expertise and skills whether they be learning lines, the ability to engage with an audience or a good level of understanding of some acting techniques.
As it was so well cast, it was an enjoyable evening and one which left the audience thinking they were seeing the ‘real thing.’
ROBIN HOOD AND THE BABES IN THE WOOD
Eynsford Village Hall
Director – Lorraine Slipper
Musical Director – Peter Nicholson
Choreographer – Heidi Phillpott
Sunday 19th January 2020 (12.30 performance)
You can always rely on Riverside Players to produce a fantastic family pantomime and this year’s production was no exception. It was almost like writer and director Lorraine Slipper had put a tick against a check-list on how to write the perfect pantomime. We had a hero, villain, love story, comedy, ghosts, delightful dance routines, audience participation, trendy songs and of course a fantastic Dame Trott in the shape of Matt Frieacre. Not forgetting the ‘Babes’ Arthur (Finn Prior) and Sarah, (Lily Deal). All the cast were splendidly costumed.
The band, a quartet of guitar, keyboard, bass and drums, I thought was going to be too loud, but in fact it wasn’t and I could hear all the vocals. Lighting and sound enhanced the whole experience as did the well thought out and designed scenery.
The story is set in Medieval England and King Richard is away fighting in the Crusades. The rather comedic Sheriff of Nottingham (Jack Barker) and his villainous sister Malevola (Ferne Haxby – what wonderful facial expressions!) hatch a plan to ‘lose’ the Babes in the woods, but of course Robin Hood (Jen Armstrong) and her, sorry – his merry men are there to thwart their plans, with a bit of help from the Forest Spirit (Kerry Chesher). Who is the mysterious stranger keeping an eye on things? Why it’s none other than King Richard (Jason Down) come back to claim his rightful place. The Babes are saved, Robin marries Maid Marion, Dame Trott gets her man (The Sheriff) and all the baddies are put where they belong. What other possible ending could there be to the story?
All of the cast played their parts as individuals, to make this show gel. The production relies on panto traditions and talent.The script is funny and entertaining for the kids with enough topical jokes to keep the adults amused.
Two of my grandsons came with me this year and the 8yr old was joining in with the “It’s behind you” at the top of his voice. I asked the 11yr old what he thought was the best bit, his reply “I got two chocolate coins!” Typical! We all had a lovely afternoon’s entertainment, thank you and well done.
And, from one of our audience members…
Riverside Players are proud to introduce a new director and show for July 2020!
Performance dates are: 17th, 18th, 24th and 25th July 2020
“Songs for a New World” created by Jason Robert Brown is a unique piece of musical theatre. It is more of a song cycle than a story. The show unites a group of performers who all have one thing in common-they stand at moments of transition, a time of decision. We have all had that feeling – do we turn left or right.
The music speaks directly from the performer to the audience. It is almost visceral as it is about an emotional reaction to the lyrics and the melody.
We are looking for a group of people who will work together to stage this show. To bring to life both the emotion and the decision making process of the performance. Actors and singers who can work together as a team, seamlessly and unselfishly supporting one another from the opening to the closing.
In order to achieve this we are holding an informal workshop, where we will introduce you to some of the numbers and ideas for the show. We will also be having a sing along before the main auditions.
Dates for your diary:
- Initial Workshop: Come and play some games, sing some songs and get introduced to the opening sequence from this show. We are looking to see how everyone works together. Everyone is welcome.
Tuesday, 25th February 19:30 – 22:00
- Sing-a-long: Come and sing through the whole show and see which role may suit you! We will be running through the entire show with the MD and director.
Tuesday, 3rd March, 20:00 – 22:00
- Auditions: Open to everyone. Sunday, 15th March 17:00 – 20:00
- Auditions: Open to everyone. Tuesday, 17th March 20:00 – 22:00
For the auditions, please prepare a song from a modern musical composer.
If you would like suggestions, please get in touch and we can offer some ideas.
If you would like to perform something from this show we would love to see it.
We would also like to hear you speak a short piece of prose directly to an audience. We are looking for how you communicate naturally with the audience.
(This does not need to be from memory)
Everyone is welcome.
This evening I had a truly delightful experience at the Youth Group production of Alice in Wonderland. I was transported to a magical, fun and colourful world of nonsense by a group of talented, enthusiastic and dedicated performers who were clearly enjoying every minute of being on stage. I particularly enjoyed the identity crisis of Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee (Zoe Giles and Mischa Booyse), the camp terpsichorean antics of the Caterpillar (James Brodie) and the firebrand Queen of Hearts (Ruby Dye). But every single cast member was at the top of their game – whether in consistent characterisation, tuneful and strong singing or confident dancing – and made this a show to remember. It was a pleasure to see the sheer enjoyment on their faces as they performed the final song.
While the kids were great, I want to highlight the real stars of this production – and the Youth Group as a whole: the organising team. It was evident how much effort had gone into drilling the kids in their dances, acting and singing – and not only did this result in great performances, it gave the kids the confidence to go out and do it all with gusto and to cope when things didn’t go quite to plan with the recorded music and sound. It cannot be easy to maintain enthusiasm and performance standards throughout the extended period of weekly rehearsals.
Then of course there are the technical team who contribute so much through lighting, sound, a colourful set and costumes, and the backstage wrangling of set and actors. What made a particular impression on me for this production was the attention to detail front of house, from the dressing of the entrance and auditorium to the costumes of the front of house team – all themed to suit the production. I didn’t experience the tea, but I heard it was a great success. A lot of work went into this and it paid dividends in creating a positive, upbeat vibe even before the curtain went up. (Not to mention the pink gin on optics in the bar!)
Because this is meant to be a critical review of the show, I feel I ought to try and be critical – which is actually very difficult. My only comments are that I felt the kids could have been given more variety in things to do during the overture – it became a little repetitive. Perhaps more of the cast could have been out in the audience interacting with us, as that worked well at other points in the show. And why was the White Rabbit dressed in black? Not that this detracted from her performance in any way!
Having said that, I want to congratulate Naomi and her team for such a joyous theatrical experience. I’m already looking forward to the next one!
We spent the night experiencing Thoroughly Modern Musical. It was a well-staged production that clearly showed a lot of love and effort. The set was stripped back with an industrial feel. The lights were highlighting the themes and tones of each show with simple colours and uplighting to compliment the staging. It created a different atmosphere that was refreshing. Songs started from many different directions and sometimes from within the audience which added a different flavour and style to the show straight away.
The band were highlighted on the main part of the stage which was great to see as they did an amazing job, moving from song to song with different styles. They played each number with enjoyment that was infectious and clear to see in the audience. Brilliantly led my Peter Nicholson they tackled difficult numbers with a variety of full band and stripped back numbers.
The soloists were well suited to their given songs and it certainly made us consider musicals to see in the future (including some we hadn’t heard of beforehand!). It was lovely to see some new faces and some frequent favourites. A welcome and congratulation to new faces Mia and Sophie who showed us how different vocal styles both rocky and more traditionally musical theatre belong on the riverside stage with ‘I’d rather be me’ from Mean girls and ‘Legally Blonde’ from Legally Blonde. We hope they are here to stay. A surprise came from new performers Liam with ‘You’ll be back’ from Hamilton which showed evolving flair and Harry with ‘Objects in the rearview mirror’ from Bat out of hell and ‘Legally Blonde’ which showed such feeling for a new performer. Congratulations to these gentlemen who have previously hidden backstage or in the tower, we hope they don’t hide away in future.
Kudos should be given to the simple yet effective costuming where everyone wore the same black base with suggestions of details which helped convey the style without going over the top. Some costume sharing in the form of a simple jacket helped create continuity. In some cases, a simple ruff or hat added the detail needed and in others more complex details with a full Arthurian outfit completed the look.
A show that was unlike any other musical reviews we have seen with audience participation and a surprise hello was just the thing to help bring modern musicals to Eynsford. We would happily attend the sequel!