Author: Tim

Spring Production – Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

We are very pleased to announce that our Spring 2024 production is Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. This classic comedy will be directed by John Goodman and will be performed at the Kenton Theatre from 20th to 23rd March.

 

Synopsis:

“I have created this thing out of the squashed cabbage leaves of Covent Garden; and now she pretends to play the fine lady with me.”

Eccentric phonetics expert, Henry Higgins, thinks he can pass off a poor flower girl in polite society with a few months of elocution lessons. It turns out that spirited Eliza Doolittle has a mind and personality of her own and is not willing to lose them as easily as she sheds her cockney accent. Strong characters and great wit animate this classic comedy, and the themes of social mobility and women’s empowerment are as relevant today as when Pygmalion was first performed, over a century ago. Whether you’re a lover of classic drama or a seeker of truth, this play promises an unforgettable evening.

Pygmalion spawned many adaptations for film and stage and was recently revived at the Old Vic.

 

Cast:

Professor Henry Higgins – Peter O’Sullivan

Colonel Pickering – Mike Mungarvan

Eliza Doolittle – Christie Southwick

Alfred Doolittle – Paul Gittus

Mrs Pearce – Liz McEwen

Mrs Higgins – Eileen Pinkarchevski

Mrs Eynsford-Hill – Caroline Hopkins

Clara Eynsford- Hill – Nancy Gittus

Freddy Eynsford-Hill – Joe O’Leary

Mrs Higgins’ parlour maid – Pam Pitts-Simmons

Nepommuck – Joe O’Leary

The Ambassadress – Pam Pitts-Simmons

Autumn Production – A Bunch of Amateurs

The Henley Players are delighted to announce our Autumn Production for 2023 which is A Bunch of Amateurs by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman. This comedy will be directed for us by Julia Ashton and will be performed at The Kenton Theatre from 18th-21st October 2023.
Synopsis:
Ageing Hollywood action hero Jefferson Steele is looking forward to reviving his career by acting with the likes of Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench in a production of King Lear at the birthplace of Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon. What he hasn’t counted on is that the production is actually being staged in Stratford St John, a sleepy village in Suffolk, and his fellow cast members are an enthusiastic bunch of amateur thespians desperately trying to save their theatre. This laugh-out-loud comedy, written by Ian Hislop (Private Eye, Have I Got News For You) and Nick Newman (Spitting Image, Murder Most Horrid) is full of hilarious characters and snappy dialogue as acting worlds collide head-on.
Cast:
Jefferson: Peter O’Sullivan
Dorothy: Pam Pitts
Mary: Rowena McMenamin
Nigel: Steve Mappley
Jessica: Christie Southwick
Lauren: Michaela Evans
Dennis: Mike Mungarvan

Spring 2023 – The Philadelphia Story

Delighted to announce that our Spring 2023 production will be The Philadelphia Story.
We are fortunate to have a director new to the Players, John Timewell, well-known for the Garden Players’ Shakespeare productions and for numerous musicals for HAODS and other societies.
Readings will be held on 8th and 10th November in Harpsden Hall from 8.00p.m. The first audition will be on 15th November (also at 8.00p.m.) and a potential second one has been booked for 22nd November as the cast is quite large. Rehearsals will not start till after the Christmas holidays. The theatre is booked from 19th-25th March, and the playing dates will be 22nd-25th. March.
Synopsis
Philip Barry’s sparkling comedy The Philadelphia Story is a compelling mixture of wit, satire and romance which explores family relationships, class prejudice and human weakness. Wealthy, proud and beautiful, Tracy Lord is about to get married for the second time to her stuffy fiancé George Kittredge. But she hasn’t counted on Mike Connor, a principled reporter reluctantly working for a gossip weekly who has been sent to cover her wedding, and her quick-thinking, roguish first husband C. K. Dexter Haven. The presence of both men at her pre-nuptial party, a drunken midnight swim and champagne-addled declarations, forces Tracy to learn some painful lessons which knock her off her pedestal.
The Philadelphia Story was memorably filmed 1940, with James Stewart and Cary Grant starring alongside Katherine Hepburn. The musical version by Cole Porter, filmed as High Society, had Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra in the leading roles.
Characters
Dinah – Mid-teenage sister to Tracy. Intelligent and precocious.
Tracy Lord – Rich, haughty and strong willed. Divorced from C.K. Dexter Haven and about to marry George Ketteridge.
Margaret Lord – Mother of Tracy, Dinah and Sandy. Wife of Seth Lord.
Sandy Lord – Brother of Tracy. Trying to avert a family scandal being reported in the papers.
Uncle Willie – Kind hearted uncle of Tracy who likes a drink and is very flirtatious.
Mike Connor – Quality writer slumming it with a gossip publication to earn money. Strong working class principles who disapproves of the rich.
Liz Imbrie – Photographer working with Mike.
George Kitteridge – Self-made millionaire who comes from humble beginnings. Very ambitious and wants to marry into high society.
C.K. Dexter Haven – Wealthy and privileged, he comes from the same background as Tracy and was her first husband.
Seth Lord – Father of Tracy, Sandy and Dinah and husband to Margaret. Is having an affair with a young dancer, a scandal which Sandy is trying to prevent being made public.
Thomas/Elsie – An amalgam of 5 small servant roles

Ladies in Lavender

Our Autumn production will be Ladies in Lavender which has been adapted for stage by Shaun Mckenna and is based on the film written and directed by Charles Dance. This lovely production will be performed at the Kenton Theatre from 19th to 22nd October 2022.

 

Synopsis

 

Ladies in Lavender is a heart-warming story of unfulfilled dreams and unrequited love. Based on the hit film which starred Judy Dench and Maggie Smith in the lead roles, it tells the tale of two retired sisters Ursula and Janet living in a close-knit fishing village in picturesque Cornwall in 1936.

A handsome and talented young Polish violinist bound for America was washed up on the shore. The sisters take him under their wing and nurse him back to health however the presence of the mysterious young man disrupts their peaceful lives and the community in which they live.

This is a beautiful poignant and award-winning piece of theatre adapted from the film by Shaun McKenna

 

Cast

 

Ursula – Jan Corby

Janet – Julia Ashton

Dorcas – Jenny Haywood

Andrea Marowski – Dean Stephenson

Dr Mead – Mike Mungarvan

Olga Danilof – Siggy Lee

 

Director – Wendy Huntley

The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard

The Henley Players are delighted to announce our Spring production, The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard which will be performed at the Kenton Theatre from 16th to 19th March.
Synopsis
Love is the focus of The Real Thing, a brilliantly constructed play within a play by Tom Stoppard at his clever, witty and poignant best. An early 80s West End hit starring Felicity Kendal, it was also a Tony Award-winning Broadway triumph, with Glenn Close and Jeremy Irons. Described by theatre critic Michael Billington as “that rare thing….an intelligent play about love,” its appeal endures almost forty years on as we watch four entertaining, emotional characters wrestle with the highs and lows of love and passion in their day-to-day lives. Playwright Henry is married to actor Charlotte and actors Max and Annie to each other; the drama unfolds as relationships unravel. But how do we know which relationship is the ‘real thing’? The main themes of love and adultery are underwritten with typical Stoppard questions about the influence of art on life. This pertinent, funny and touching play, which crackles with sharp dialogue and shines an unforgiving spotlight on marriage and relationships, is not to be missed. As Henry tells us: “It’s no trick loving somebody at their best. Love is loving them at their worst”.
Cast
Max – Ioan Havard
Charlotte – Donna Thomson
Henry – Tim Harling
Annie – Grainne Harling
Debbie – Sigourney Lee
Billy – Stephen Taylor-Brown
Brodie – TBC

Saturday Sunday Monday – New Dates

It is with great excitement and not a little relief that we can announce that our much delayed production of the famous Italian comedy Saturday Sunday Monday by Eduardo de Filippo will be performed at the Kenton Theatre on 20th to 23rd October 2021.
Synopsis
Naples, early 1960s. It looks like any other weekend in the Priore family house. Mrs Rosa Priore spends her Saturday preparing her famous ‘ragú’ sauce, although she betrays a nervousness made worse by her husband Peppino, who tells her off with the most trivial pretexts and vents his anger at all surrounding him. Starting with his son, who seeks his grandfather’s advice rather than Peppino’s; then his daughter Giulianella, caught in a quarrel with her fiancé; finally, aunt Memè, guilty of pestering her son with useless medical advice.
Tension within the Priore family mounts until it reaches boiling point the next day. The Priores have invited to their traditional Sunday lunch their neighbours, accountant Luigi Ianniello and his wife. Luigi is a congenial and outgoing, albeit slightly overbearing friend to the Priores, especially Rosa. This causes Peppino to mistake Luigi’s kindness for a romantic interest, leading to an outburst of jealousy that spoils the lunch, and the day, for everybody involved.
The outburst is a result of years of accumulated misunderstandings which have undermined the Priore marriage. Rosa is so upset by the scene that she falls ill and is bedridden, assisted by her relatives. In the meantime, her husband regrets his behaviour and feels misunderstood by everybody.
Finally Monday arrives. The Priores reflect more calmly on what has happened and understand that, deep down, the reason that made the couple fight is actually the love that still binds them. Rosa and Peppino finally express to each other the feelings they have suppressed for years: now, their love, and the memories of their love, are reborn for a new start.
The cast……..
Donna Rosa….Julia Ashton
Virginia …….Liz McEwen
Peppino… Michael Mungarvan
Rocco….Archie Newman
Federico……Len Pannett
Antonio…..Tim Green
Giulianella….Lili Lottie Tuttle
Meme……..Rachel Head
Attilio…….Sam Wimbush
Raffaele…..Liz Keens
Luigi Ianello ……….Stephen Taylor-Brown
Elenea Ianello…..Pam Pitts
Michele….David Parsonson
Roberto …..Arnaldo Teodorani-Fabbri
Maria Carolina…..Jenny Cobb
Catiello, the tailor……Tim Harling
Dr. Cefercola…..Tim Harling
Director…..Teri Zambigli

SATURDAY SUNDAY MONDAY POSTPONEMENT

It is with great regret that due to the worsening situation in the UK and globally with the coronavirus, and the Kenton Theatre announcing that as the result of the government advice yesterday it is closing till the end of April, we have no option but to postpone Saturday Sunday Monday until our Autumn slot at the theatre in October.  We had already been discussing this as the safety of our members has to be our top priority , and the risk of  infection with everyone in close proximity during rehearsals in the show week was becoming too greater for us to continue anyway.

I stress that we are not cancelling , but postponing, the production till our Autumn slot at the Kenton Theatre, which is 18th-24th. October. Our director, Teri, and the whole cast have said they are able to remain with the production, which is a great relief. They have all worked so hard and this is such a talented cast, so we are delighted to keep everyone together to do the play as originally intended.

We are still passionate about bringing this fantastic play to the Henley audience and I hope everyone will support the production in the Autumn.

Everyone please stay safe, keep washing your hands and we look forward to seeing you all soon.

 

Saturday Sunday Monday Fully Cast

Happy to announce that our next production, Saturday Sunday Monday,  is now fully cast and in rehearsal. It is a very funny play and part of an exciting documentary project. A link to the flyer is below for circulation.

Saturday Sunday Monday Flyer

The cast……..

Donna Rosa….Julia Ashton

Virginia …….Liz McEwen

Peppino… Michael Mungarvan

Rocco….Archie Newman

Federico……Len Pannett

Antonio…..Tim Green

Giulianella….Lili Tuttle

Meme……..Rachel Head

Attilio…….Sam Wimbush

Raffaele…..Liz Keens

Luigi Ianello……Steve Taylor-Brown

Elenea Ianello…..Pam Pitts

Michele….Tim Balmford

Roberto …..Arnaldo Teodorani-Fabbri

Maria Carolina…..Jemima Pettifer

Catiello, the tailor……Barry Rosier

Dr. Cefercola…..Barry Rosier

 

Director…..Teri Zambigli

Audition Pieces for Saturday Sunday Monday

We had a fantastic turnout for the readings last week for Saturday Sunday Monday and a lot of people took the audition pieces away with them but in case you didn’t or weren’t able to attend the readings please click on the links below to download them. The Auditions are at 8pm at Harpsden Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday this week so we look forward to seeing everyone there.

 

SSM Audition Pieces – Principal Roles

SSM Audition Pieces – Michele, Raffaele, Attilio, Gilulianella, Elena

SSM Audition Pieces – Federico, Dr Cerfecola, Roberto, Rocco, Virginia, Maria Carolina

Dangerous Corner by J.B. Priestley

Our latest production is Dangerous Corner by J.B. Priestley

Dangerous Corner is a well-crafted story, a thriller of truth, secrets and lies, where one loose word leads to an explosive combination of suspicions and emotions. The examination and exposure of the complex human relationships of the dinner party guests is the key, each new revelation taking us to new and more sinister possibilities until we reach an unexpected and gripping climax, a classic thriller.

Initially all seems well at the Caplan’s independent publishing house until a can of worms is unceremoniously ripped open at their dinner party. A chance remark plunges the guests into a re-examination of the mysterious events surrounding the recent death of young Martin Caplan and skeletons come crashing out of the closet in more ways than one. Life will never be the same again… or will it?

Performances at the Kenton Theatre, Henley-on-Thames

www.kentontheatre.co.uk

Box office: 01491 575 698

16–19 October 2019 at 7:30 pm

Matinee 19 October 2019 at 2:30 pm