PETER PAN - Feb 2017
The Parish Players' February 2017 production of Peter Pan was terrific fun - and we're keen to harness the energy and enthusiasm of children and adults for our next production. Lots of opportunities to help behind the scenes - but there'll also be chances to try out for stage roles as well. A great community endeavour!
Our February 2016 production was sold out and the cast and production team and - we think - the audience all had enormous fun.
Read a review of our 2016 production of 'Annie'' by Barbie Davies
“Never work with children and animals” is a maxim firmly rejected by the lively Parish Players as they wisely recognise that including young people in events is lifeblood to the community and its societies. The animal in their latest production, “Annie” may have been a human being in canine costume, but Aoife McBride, as Snowy the Dog, certainly created the cute factor. She was sister to the just eleven year old leading lady, Niamh McBride who dealt superbly with the lengthy and demanding role
The script and music of “Annie” is refreshingly pacy, witty and inventive for a modern musical. However, the vocal range demanded (particularly for Annie) is challenging. Right from the very first number, Niamh took it all in her confident stride, which also included tap-dancing! She certainly won the audience’s hearts with her sincere performance of straight-forward innocence and optimism.
All the other orphans supported her beautifully. Each one was totally disciplined and committed to their part and the team. Their spirited singing raised the rafters, and Molly (played by Isobel Lambie) showed huge potential and polish. No wonder their dragon of a matron of the orphanage, Miss Hannigan (played by Sian McBride) was jealous! However, Sian played her role as a drunken vulture with real panache, clarity and super singing.
Three McBrides in the cast so far! Granny Cath Chappel played the cook and was a member of the flexible, gracious adult cast who played an enormous number of roles with real verve and variety. Grandad Mike Chappel stage-managed the production with great efficiency so that the team breezed through the considerable number of scene changes despite the “bijou” backstage arrangements.
The scenery itself was very well conceived by Keith Richards, being practical and dressed with good period props. It was greatly enhanced by projected images of New York, which included a moving motor car! Lighting by Richard Churchill played its part, in particular adding snowy winter weather to the set.
There is much uplifting humour in “Annie” which was always skilfully exploited, nowhere better than in the Radio City and White House Cabinet scenes in which versatile David Proud, Richard Newley and Brian Brown twinkled in everything from ventriloquism to President Roosevelt himself.
The villains, played by Ray Hale and Amy Sunderland, shone with slick sliminess in the acting and well-chosen costumes. The “goodies” also shone. Phil Savage captured the huge hearted American billionaire, Warbucks, while Lesley Clarke created a most warm and winning Grace Farrell, the secretary. Butlers are perhaps not renowned for excellent singing, but Mike Belsten, as Drake, broke the mould.
All the accompaniments were crisply played with the right pace and sensitivity under the leadership of Chloe Allsopp-Jones. This skill completed the ingredients for an uplifting evening’s entertainment – but then it is always so at Tockington under the experienced and expert hand of director Linda Evans. Lucky us and lucky Parish Players!
Note: on the night Barbie watched the show, Niamh McBride played Annie. She and Aggie Barnes alternated the title role, a huge part for such young children. Feedback on Aggie's performance was equally impressive.
The Parish Players currently
New members are very welcome. If interested, please get in touch. Enquiries to Director Linda Evans (413887).
The Parish Players have a Facebook site, where you can see lots of photos from recent productions.
If you're interested in reading the Constitution of the Parish Players, you can read it here.
Read a review of our 2015 production of 'Oliver!'
Here's what reviewer Barbie Davies had to say:
"The Parish Players always leave their audiences wanting more, but this was especially so in their energetic and touching performance of “Oliver” at Tockington Village Hall in February.
The whole cast gave strong performances, led by Timothy Mitchell in the title role. With his beautiful singing, crystal-clear diction and sensitive acting, he gave a most winning performance. All the two dozen children involved captivated the audience with real commitment to their parts; they played both workhouse brats and Fagin’s gang. Their discipline, energy, enthusiasm and excellent singing would be the envy of many an adult.
The children were well-matched by an equally vibrant chorus, who not only shouldered several roles, but also performed some very creditable part singing. Their movement and dance work reflected the expertise of choreographer Jill Harris – well versed in the demands of the small stage.
The line-up of actors in the leading roles was consistently impressive. Pompous Mr Bumble (Phil Savage), with his comic timing, and his heartless Widow Gorney (Gill Olewicz) made a ridiculous and ruthless partnership. Mr and Mrs Sowerberry (Richard Newley and Lesley Clarke) were gorgeously ghoulish. A newcomer, Annabelle Leicester, played their daughter, who joined in the taunting of Oliver with Noah Claypole, played with real panache by Callum Mortlock.
The Artful Dodger (Alexander Morris) would certainly have been uncatchable! Here was a really energetic performance! Maedene Webb brought a real warmth and vitality to the part of Bet. The trio of Fagin (Mike Jones), Bill Sykes (Dan Phillips) and Nancy (Louise Luft) created some wonderfully tense, sparky moments on stage. All had superb voices and a real sense of professionalism as we were treated to those famous numbers “As long as he needs me”, “I’m reviewing the situation” and “My name”.
All the music was most ably supported and sensitively played by the two pianos and percussion led by Chloe Allsopp Jones whose musical direction really captured the energy and melodrama of the piece. This was echoed in everything, from the lighting (Richard Churchill), well-chosen and varied Victorian costume (Gill Olewicz) and a set that not only moved seamlessly through the many scenes, but also conveyed the chaos and contrasts of Dickensian London. Andy Black (Designer) would have been proud of Keith, Brian and Rod who worked so well for him during his illness.
With a long string of successful shows, director Linda Evans knows how to pick the right production and get her team to positively shine. However, this time there was one particular star who stood out in the firmament of talent; Morris the Dog. So Linda has proved once again that to keep a company alive and kicking: work with wonderful children – and animals!"
Photos of Past Productions
- Some photographs of our 2011 production of ‘Carousel’, as well as the 2010 production of 'The Gondoliers' and the 2009 production of 'Oklahoma', can be seen on the Olveston Photo Gallery page on this website.
- Even more photos of all recent productions, including the 2012 production of 'Me and My Girl', the 2013 production of 'The King and I' and the 2014 production of 'Hello Dolly' can be seen on our Facebook page.
- You might also like to check us out on Youtube, where we have a very well supported presence.
History of the Parish Players
The eventful life of the Parish Players began in the 1960s, as a drama group in the Olveston and Tockington WI, winning awards in various thespian competitions and writing their own material with considerable success - such as the spectacular ‘Pageant for Queens' to celebrate the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977. Perhaps the most striking event was in 1980 when they took part in a festival of entertainment at the Colston Hall, winning the Avon County competition of Scene 80. As time passed and members left the district and so on, a few men were co-opted to join the team and so was born the Company which became known as the Parish Players. Their first production was an old time music hall written and devised by talented members of the community. The Show seemed to strike a chord and the company was encouraged to present a similar format every year, following different themes with exciting results. By now the players were backed by a hardworking team of enthusiasts backstage. The rush to buy tickets every year almost became an embarrassment, with two or three days booked solid within hours of the box office opening.
By the year 2000 however, it was becoming difficult to find authors. A millennium play ‘Marking Time', written by Beryl Keay, presented at St Mary's Church, became an inspiration for the Director, Linda Evans, and the Parish Players who appeared in it, to introduce a professionally scripted performance and a production of the ‘Mikado' under the baton of Dr David Shaw received critical acclaim. Once launched in this new concept, an annual show of contrasting styles has materialised ever since. ‘The Pirates of Penzance', ‘The Merry Widow', ‘South Pacific', ‘Guys and Dolls', ‘Fiddler on the Roof', ‘White Horse Inn', ‘My Fair Lady', 'Oklahoma!', 'The Gondoliers', 'Carousel', 'Me and My Girl', 'The King and I' and 'Hello Dolly' have now established the Company as an experienced, dedicated group in all aspects, willing to take on almost anything!