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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

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.

Image by Andy Marlow

 

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

 

LADIES IN LAVENDER

The Real Thing

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 by Eduardo de Filippo

Our Autumn 2021 production is the famous Italian comedy Saturday Sunday Monday by Eduardo de Filippo. The show dates are 20th to 23rd October 2021.
This will be directed for us by Teri Zambigli and is the final part of a project called Pane ed Eduardo (“Bread and Eduardo”), a documentary about Eduardo de Felippo’s legacy in the English-speaking theatre, which is being written and filmed by Teri. This is an exciting project for the Henley Players to be involved in and rehearsals will be filmed as will at least one of the shows. There is a big cast with parts for all ages so we are starting as soon as possible to cast the show. Please note that there may be further auditions later to complete the cast. We need as much support as possible so do come along and see what it is all about. Teri has asked us to make clear that no-one will be expected to assume an “Italian” accent, if your character has any short Italian phrases e.g. Bon appetite, buona note, buona sera, Tutti and so on, Teri will make sure you know how to pronounce them. Otherwise the action will be entirely in English!