We are reprising our 2010 production of 'Allo 'Allo at the Petersfield Festival Hall from 9th to 11th June. This is the stage version of the hilarious BBC TV series of the same name, set in France during the second world war. Click here to find out more about the show and buy your tickets.
As Hilary Westbrook, John's widow, could not attend any of the Acorn Antiques performances due to prior commitments, she delegated the nomination of the John Westbrook Award for 2015 to Val Sykes. Val chose to award the trophy to Mandy Clowes, saying: 'When there are not so many people on stage, each member of the supporting cast is clearly visible and it is extra important to give it everything. Mandy was always fully involved om each scene she was in, acting and reacting to others very well. I loved the three backing "beehive" singers number and she was clearly really enjoying it,'
Doing your shopping on-line? Why not raise money for Curtain Up! Productions at the same time - at absolutely no cost to yourself? You get access to all of your favourite on-line and high street retailers and pay the same prices that you would normally - all that happens is that CUP receives a percentage of the total of your shopping, which can be as much as 3% of the amount you spend. Since we started this scheme, the society has received a total of £580.59 at a cost of absolutely nothing! Click here to find out more and sign up to start generating money. Note that we are still registered as Denmead Operatic Society with easyfundraising.
Masquerade - A Game of Musical Theatre
29th May - 1st June 2013
Park Community School Theatre, Havant
Written, Produced and Directed
The Hargood-Jones Family
In the Game
The Master's Ambassadors
Amanda Clowes, Nadine Darnley,
The Chorus of the Game
Jayne Green, Ray Hunt, Claire Jarman,
How Masquerade Happened
When we decided that as part of Denmead Operatic's 80th Anniversary year we wanted to present some sort of compilation show, I thought of linking the chosen songs with telling the Society's story through the decades. We have a lot of archive material and some wonderful photographs dating back to the very earliest productions. However, it soon became clear that what we wanted was a fictional narrative to link our song selections.
One of our members mentioned a production that she had been involved in called "A Suitcase of Dreams" where every item taken out of the battered suitcase was linked to a song or a scene.
I took this as my starting point and came up with the idea of an old trunk in the setting of an attic of a big house. From here, the idea of a family of characters and situations grew.
I wanted to create a scenario the necessitated the family being confined to the attic, and created a Jumanji-like game based around the London West End theatres. The playing of the game provided the narrative thread I was looking for and soon characters and events began to take shape.
Each theatre visited provided a song from one of the hit musicals that had been staged there and a musical framework began to appear.
It has been a wild, all-consuming adventure creating this piece with many frustrations along the way, but we made it! As my character, The Theatre Guide, says "Think of the game as just one big journey - an adventure with many exciting surprises along the way...you could even end up a star!"
Ian Clark, Writer and Director
Susan Hargood-Jones and her children Will and Ellie enter the attic of the sprawling mansion owned by Susan's famously eccentric and recently deceased father. They have a long list of things to find, as instructed by his Will.
The children look through an old naval trunk and discover a dusty old board game call Masquerade - A Game of Musical Theatre. Scribbled in their grandfather's handwriting are warnings not to open it, but the children fail to notice this and are soon exploring the contents of the box.
The game's board resembles a map of London Theatreland and when Will opens the musical box, it starts to play an eerie and famous melody. Suddenly the lights go out and the attic door slams shut. The angry voice of The Master of the Game challenges the family to play his game - win and they will be released; lose and they will be locked inside the game forever!
Can the Hargood-Jones's escape the clutches of the evil Master? Can Susan's husband, Robert, find a way to help them?
Join them as they race around London, visiting the great West End theatres and experiencing songs from wonderful musicals past and present. Along the way, they meet colourful characters who have been trapped inside the game for many years and, like them, want to win their freedom.
Will the family and their theatre friends defeat the Master when they come face to face at the Final Curtain? Will the family be reunited and live happily in their new home?
David Wilson - audience member - June 2013
I was unknown to your Society, but having read about your financial situation in The News, following Titanic, I thought I would attend your performance of Masquerade. I am not a professional critic but do enjoy theatre. I also appreciate that you can only work with the members of your Society and the finances available to you.
I was met by a very happy Front of House team, and enjoyed the display of photos. As with most Societies, you work with restricted options. Park Community School is not the most exciting of venues, but upon entering the "theatre", I was intrigued by what the evening had to offer.
The family performed their roles well - and didn't they have a lot to learn! The whole show was riding on them. Susan, the mother, had a lovely voice and I particularly enjoyed the rendition of The Colours of My Life with husband Rob. His soft tenor voice was a total contrast to the power of The Master.
The children kept the pace going in Act 1 but the energy seemed to drop a little in Act 2. Some lines were delivered a little too quickly and squeakily. Ellie did particularly well with the challenging Tell Me on a Sunday number and William with Close Every Door To Me.
Well done to "has been" Annie, stepping into the role at short notice (never easy) and adding a little bit of light relief to the proceedings. Just an observation, but the level of the delivery of her lines became ever quieter as the evening progressed and I missed a couple. Nonetheless, an enjoyable performance.
The Ambassadors and chorus members were a bit of a mixed bag to be honest. Some had big smiles on their faces, knew what they were doing and looked like they were enjoying themselves, but others not so. Some sang beautifully (especially the young lady who had a solo in The Sun Has Got His Hat On) but were some of the others singing at all? As a company, when you all sang with gusto, it is a great sound.
The set was very effective with good use of projection, but some was a bit washed out at times. The lighting was good but not subtle enough in the back of gauze lighting. It needed to be more focussed. I did not make any notes about the sound at all, which means that it was great!
The band made a good sound and seemed confident in their delivery. They were well balanced with the singers.
I loved the idea of the story and Ian Clark you are a talented man in more ways than one. Yes, it was a bit too long in the second half and could have contained a bit more humour in places but I am sure that, given the opportunity, a minor rewrite in places would knock a few rough edges off the storyline. What I will say is that this production was far more interesting than watching a "showstoppers" or "songs from stage and screen" production, and full credit to you.
On stage, the character of the Theatre Guide lifted the production to the next level. A seasoned performed who continually acted as opposed to delivering a line and then stopping acting (others take note). The highlight for me was the wonderfully powerful confrontation song with the Master, who dominated the stage with each and every entrance.
Softer seats aside, the rest of my body enjoyed the show and I for one would love to see it staged in a bigger theatre with a larger cast, better vocals and real dance numbers. Then it would wow the audience!
Congratulations to all on what I thought overall was an enjoyable evening.
Steve Wood - audience member - June 2013
I just had to let you know how much we enjoyed the production. It was fantastic!!!!! We marvelled at your creative ability and were in awe of all the excellent individual performances. Masquerade is, without doubt, something of a masterpiece that would grace a West End stage! Very well done to you and all the members of the Society for a wonderfully entertaining show.
John E. Thomas - NODA - 31 May 2013
When I attended this performance, I had little idea what I was coming to see. In fact, it was the first perfomance of a musical written by the producer, Ian Clark. The story moves the audience around the various theatres of London's Theatre Land, taking songs and action from the many shows that are based there. It begins and ends at The Dominion with the show "Beauty and the Beast", a very apt choice. The family are guided through the game by The Master, played by Kerry Applin, and his Theatre Guide, played by writer and producer Ian Clark. The family members were mother Susan, played by Hilary Glanville, father Robert, by Ryan Richards, children Ellie and William, by Megan and Luke Brand, and Grandfather, Mike Powell. They were well supported by the Chorus and The Master's Ambassadors.
Alongside some tremendous individual performances and an excellent chorus, backed up by a finely balance band, conducted by Musical Director Phil Woods, it produced overall a superb show. It gave the audience much pleasure and entertainment.