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Reviews

Snake in the Grass, Friday April 13th 2018, Miners Welfare Hall, Director Mike Nicholls    
This was a little different to the plays we usually expect from Alan Ayckbourn but this intriguing drama had us guessing to the end.
Miriam (Becky Mee) has been caring for her difficult father for many years until his death. She has been assisted by nurse Alice Moody (Ivana Smiljanic) until Miriam has sacked her. On the death of her father older sister Annabel (Erica Nicholls) arrives from Tasmania and we learn that she is to inherit most of her father’s fortune. When Alice returns to blackmail the sisters claiming that Miriam has caused her father’s death the drama begins.
The three ladies were excellent in their roles and kept the suspense going throughout the play. They dealt well with the wide range of emotions and the lib flowed well as they revealed their life stories.
A very convincing set added to the quality of this play. A lot of thought and hard work had obviously gone into the building of it and it was certainly worth it. We had good sound effects as well to add to the suspense of the action.
This was a good choice of a quality play, well directed and with three very talented ladies it certainly worked well. A good evening’s entertainment.
Pam Booth, NODA, Drama District 15
Austensibility, At Mary’s Church, Garforth, 2nd December 2017

In December in collaboration with St. Mary’s Church, GADS presented a rehearsed reading in costume of a play based on Jane Austen’s life. It was devised and written by Alan Richardson from Jane’s diaries, letters and various excerpts from her writings, and was first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2015.

The Church looked great, as did the costumes. Mince pies and mulled wine were on offer during the interval and the second half flew by! This is the second collaboration with St. Mary’s—let’s hope for many more.

At The Sign Of “The Crippled Harlequin” – November 2017, Directed by Mike Nicholls

After a couple of blips in their usual high standard, Garforth A D S bounced back with a very well organised performance, full of tension and suspense.

A well known author is staying at the guest house and is inadvertently recognised as someone else and this leads to mayhem. Jackie Astbury as Marjory Pike the author gave us a very gentle and understanding performance with no hint of why she was at the guest house before she slips in the snow, bangs her head on the wall and dies. Suspicion points its finger at each of the guests as a result of their whereabouts during the accident which is regarded by all as murder.

Carole Hurst as Sally the guesthouse owner gave us a very good study of a caring but nervous lady whilst her husband, Bryan played by David Battersby was quite laid back about the whole affair appearing to let things wash over him until his denial of the murder.

Pamela Seaton and Isobel Clarke (Erica Nicholls and Becky Mee) were excellent in their roles as a couple of teachers trying to supplement their earnings by indulging in jewel smuggling for a notorious criminal and eventually attempting to solve the mystery.

Ivana Smiljanic as Joan Reece, stepped in at short notice to take this part and really stole the show with her portrayal of a loud mouthed, common girl who had been rescued from behind the counter of a chemists shop by her husband Lionel (Martyn Simpson) who is removed from the scene by poison administered by his wife. He has hinted that he is to come into a large sum of money as a reward for solving the criminal affairs of Pamela and Isobel, but is he any good as a private detective? Well played Martyn.

The final character is a young man, Derek (Lee Preston) who is obviously mentally ill and he overhears the accusation about Marjory being someone else, who is named as the person who caused his mother’s suicide.

Twists and turns. Accusations and vengeance. All follow in swift succession leaving the audience entangled in an enormous spider’s web of intrigue and wild guesswork until the final curtain reveals all!

Mike Nicholls who directed the play as well as doing his usual job of stage manager and set builder is to be congratulated at his first foray into this side of theatre. He had obviously disciplined the cast well and got a very good performance out of them.

The set, lighting and costumes were of the standard I have come to expect from this society, nothing out of place and everything in good working order.

Well done Garforth, you certainly gave us a lot to think about during the course of a very good performance.

Geoff Hayward, NODA

 

Ladies’ Day, By Amanda Whittington, 5th April 2017, Director David Battersby

What a difference a play makes! The choice of Ladies’ Day for their Spring Production was definitely a good one and attracted a talented group of ladies who gave us lots of laughs on their visit to York Races.

There was Pearl (Carole Hurst), the sensible one of the foursome, who suggests this visit to celebrate her ‘retirement’ in the hope that she will be able to trace her secret lover. It is a big adventure for Jan (Jackie Astbury) who spends her life working to provide for her daughter. Shelley (Becky Mee) is on the look out for a rich man to help out with her debts and Linda (Ivana Smiljanic) goes along in the hope of meeting up with Tony Christie. The four ladies worked well together and gave us lots to think about as they revealed their sometimes sad lives. They created some very amusing moments but what a shame that there were so many prompts accentuated by an over enthusiastic prompter.

Mike Nicholls as Joe the ladies’ boss in the fish factory was well cast as was Martyn Simpson as Jim the sleazy race commentator. Lee Preston had the difficult job of portraying three very different characters and he managed this with great skill.

The director David Battersby had the cameo role of Barry, or should it be Barry’s ghost, but once again forgotten lines spoiled the flow of conversation in quite an important part of the story.

A lot of thought had gone in to costumes and accessories for this play both for the ladies and the men. The set was simple so we had no waiting between scene changes and the sound effects were well timed.

The play attracted a near capacity audience for the first night and the applause at the end showed how much they had enjoyed it. Well done ladies, and gentlemen, you certainly entertained us well.

Pam Booth  NODA District 15

 

A Fly In The Ointment, By Derek Benfield, Director Joyce Robinson – November 2016

When the Minister for the environment comes to his ex-lovers seaside bungalow to look for some incriminating photographs he doesn’t count on his wife turning up. The situation becomes more complicated with the arrival of an enthusiastic police woman, a pizza delivery boy and a doctor who is pursuing the minister’s wife.

The pace of the play was rather slow due to some of the casts insecurity with lines but well done to the prompt for keeping it going so well.

Lee Preston as Albert the pizza delivery boy, brought humour to the production with his cheeky manner. He is a promising new addition to the Society as is Lauren Dwyer who plays the Minister’s mistress. Becky Mee as the Minister’s wife was suitably prim and proper with good clear diction. She coped well with the unwanted attention of a doctor played by Connor Doherty and the affairs of her wayward husband played by David Battersby. The confusion on stage increased when Caroline Hill as the policewoman came along to solve the crime.

I was a little confused as to why most of the cast were dressed for winter when they were supposed to be in the middle of a hot summer at the seaside.

There was a good set which was well decorated and furnished. The few props that were needed were good.

An amusing play with lots of twists and turns which kept the audience amused.

Pam Booth, NODA


THE MURDER ROOM By Jack Sharkey, Directed by Geoff Haywood, Friday 18th March 2016

This is a very complex story of attempted murder when newly married Edgar (David Battersby) and Mavis (Erica Nicholls) start out their life together. This couple always work well together and they got the play off to an amusing start. Why was she trying to kill him? Why was he posing as an older man only to pop up later in the story as a much younger policeman? I’m not quite sure that I ever worked it out, but it made for an amusing situation. Caroline Hill gave a comical performance as the down to earth housekeeper and Martyn Simpson worked well as the detective who was later revealed to be the mystery lover.

Things became even more complicated when Edgar’s daughter Susan (Becky Mee) arrived home from America. This was Becky’s first role with GADS and she gave a striking performance. She was accompanied by her American fiancé Barry (Connor Doherty) who had worked very hard with his accent.

The script for this play is full of misheard lines between the cast, which led to some very humorous conversations, although in some parts they needed to be delivered a little quicker.

As ever, the set was very good, but some of the furniture didn’t seem to fit with the interior of an old cottage. The secret ’murder room’ was well hidden and very believable.

A very amusing production with lots of twists and turns that kept us guessing to the end.

Pamela Booth. NODA District 15

 

A Review of The Murder Room, Friday 18th March 2016

This review was received from a member of the audience who had enjoyed the previous evening so much that he wrote it the next morning at 7.30am!

This was a well attended Friday evening performance which competed against a national charity event on TV. Live theatre has lived on in Garforth for 69 years!

As the curtains opened we were greeted by a well designed set. The emphasis was on detail and decor, leading us to the depths of the cellar and the way to the secret opening doorway and passage we became aware of later in the play. The sound effects, with shots ringing out were impressive. All this added to the richness of the play.

The characters were extremely well portrayed by all the cast members—David, Erica, Caroline, Martyn, Becky and Connor. The dialogue and feelings of remorse, anguish, bravado, forgetfulness, confusion and facial expressions came over very well indeed. Connor coped well with his American accent, and newcomers Martyn and Becky both showed good stage presence in their individual roles and with James investigative mind and Susan’s naivety.

Another evening’s excellent performance—well done everyone. The autumn production awaits us!

Anon

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Unoriginal Sin, by David Tristan
Saturday 21st November 2015
Director   Geoff Haywood
Jenny and Bill are in the process of divorce and the play centres around his sexual exploits and her desire to take him for every penny she can get. Things don’t run smoothly when they become involved with a local couple interested in buying their cottage.
Erica Nicholls and David Battersby as the warring couple worked well together and did their very best to bring some humour to this rather seedy* play. They were very believable in their disputes and were very convincing in their roles.  They were well supported by other members of the cast and it was good to see new young members involved. They showed great promise and I hope to see more of them in future productions. I was a bit uncomfortable with the age difference in some of the casting.
Once again the set was excellent, well thought out and attractively furnished. The sound effects worked well and props were very impressive. A well directed play that kept moving well and was well received by the audience. *We would note that this is a very personal opinion about the play itself rather than the performance and that the vast majority of the audiences thoroughly enjoyed it.
Pam Booth, NODA Representative
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The Beginner’s Guide to Murdering Your Husband, by David Muncaster

(Or ten easy steps to becoming a widow). Friday 21st November 2014

Director  Geoff Haywood
This play was a little bit different as the title may suggest. Maddy (Lynda McCraight) and her husband Jim (Martyn Drake) are making a video along with employees John (Mike Osborne), Kerry (Erica Nicholls) and Julie (Anne Rhodes). This video is to demonstrate the different ways of getting rid of your husband, but it begins to look as though Maddy is thinking of doing this for real. The tables are turned in the last scene, or are they?
There were a number of scenes in the play and although a full set was not needed there were various movable items on stage . The author asks for the cast to change scenes which made for some rather long gaps between the action.
The cast worked well together and produced lots of laughs for the appreciative audience. They had to be very versatile to deal with all the different situations.
The costumes were well thought out for the various parts played.
I’m not sure how useful the ‘video’ was to people-hopefully no one went home and tried out any of the methods.
An amusing play with a twist at the end enjoyed by a capacity audience.
Pam Booth, NODA Representative, Area 14
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NODA REVIEW, ‘Look Who’s Talking’ by Derek Benfield, Spring 2014

Director Pat Toes
The moral of this play is never drink too much at office parties or dinner with friends as it could cause a multitude of problems.
Here we had husband Andrew (Martyn Drake) coping with the unexpected arrival of his secretary (Steph Selwood) who fully expects to fly off to Italy with him, and wife (Anita Rushforth) trying to remember what happened with Brian (David Battersby) at a dinner party a week earlier. The web of lies that they had to spin and the arrival of friend Jane (Anne Rhodes) added to the confusion.
This complex story required very snappy dialogue and unfortunately a number of prompts slowed the pace in parts, maybe it was first night nerves. The play was well cast and new member Steph is a great find .
Once again GADS had produced a lovely set with lots of attention paid to the garden and kitchen backdrops. The furniture and props were excellent and the whole set had a homely feel.
A light hearted play with lots of laughs and much appreciated by the audience.
Pam Booth, Drama District 15

 

Audience Reviews/Comments, ‘Look Who’s Talking’

One word can describe Saturday night’s final performance – excellent!!

From the moment the curtains opened, we were enthralled by a convoluted very hilarious story of intrigue and mystery.

Would Shelia really know what happened at Brian’s flat? Would Andrew make the flight to Italy with Carole?

The characters were extremely well portrayed by all the cast members Anita, David, Martyn, Stephanie, and Anne. The dialogue, and feelings of remorse, anguish, bravado and facial expressions came over very well indeed. They were ably directed by veteran Director, Pat Toes.

Newcomers Stephanie (Carole) and Anne (Jane), both had good stage presence in their individual and collective roles, with Carole gorging herself on ‘cheese footballs’, whilst Anne consumed champagne by the glass full!

The set was well designed, with the emphasis on detail and décor, leading us from the lounge into the garden, kitchen and foyer. Lighting and sound effects added to the richness of the play. The props, front of house and refreshments complimented the evening’s entertainment.

An excellent play, well performed and thoroughly enjoyed. One thought though……….. how many ‘cheese footballs’ did Carole consume?

Mr. and Mrs. R. D. Taylor, Friends of GADS.

The evening was very entertaining, very well organised and the players were very impressive.  We didn’t win anything on the raffle but there was a glass of wine on arrival and at the interlude tea and coffee were brought to your seat on a trolley.  The stage set was very credible and clearly a lot of work had gone into both rehearsals and the creation of props.  At the final curtain some of the stars of the show actually came down to the audience and spoke to us ‘ordinary people’ pity I had forgotten my autograph book! Anon

‘Look Who’s Talking.’  was a great night out. Really glad I saw it. I thought the main actress was as good as Abigail in Abigail’s Party. Anon

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An Evening of One Act Plays
23rd November 2013
Directors Jenny Nash  & Pat Toes

The evening began with an interesting history of the growth of drama in Garforth read by Judith Elliott and Kristen Lambert.

The first two plays written by Peter Quilter and directed by Jenny Nash were a refreshing change for one act plays. They were both two handers and well written.

The first one, ‘Blind Date’, told of a couple meeting up for the first time after advertising in a magazine. Wendy ( Erica Nicholls) arrives with a large cheese for her date, – well she could hardly bring flowers for a man! The dialogue between her and Jonathan (David Battersby) was humorous and they were a well matched believable couple.

The second play ‘The Holiday’ was, in contrast, about a couple in the process of bringing their marriage to an end. Bobby (Mike Osborne) and Shelley (Linda McCraight) are taking a last holiday together in Spain. They have been partying and Shelley is much the worse for drink. It’s extremely difficult to play an inebriated person but Linda managed this splendidly throughout the play. There was a nice twist at the end which left you wondering if the marriage was really over.

The third play ‘Split Ends’ directed by Pat Toes told of a family waiting for the first visit of the son’s girlfriend. When Susan (Linda McCraight) arrives she has a voracious appetite and eats all before her. This was a good character role which this play needed to get the humour over to the audience. Dad (Mike Osborne) ends up being taken to hospital by his son Norman (David Battersby) after swallowing a contact lens leaving Mum (Michele Kelly) to cope with new kittens that have just arrived.

The simple black set was used for all three plays, changing pictures, props and furniture, and it worked well. The lighting and sound effects were good in all three plays.

A varied and entertaining evening that sent the audience home with smiles on their faces.

Pam Booth, NODA

An Evening of One Act Plays
November 2013
Directors Jenny Nash & Pat Toes

A trilogy of comedy performed with excellence was this year’s Autumn production. The three plays, ‘Blind Date’, ‘The Holiday’ and ‘Split Ends’, explored the talents of David, Erica, Mike and ‘tipsy–lispy’ Lynda, who were joined by newcomer Michele, who performed with confidence.

Much laughter was expressed by the packed audience on the Friday evening, who really appreciated the very humorous dialogue and funny jokes.

There were many memorable moments in each of the three One Act Plays, including “You’ve got spam. I love spam!” from the ‘lispy’ Lynda……..and Michele’s, “Your father’s wearing a dead cat on his head!”

Again, very careful detail had been paid to the design of the three different sets, the lighting, the props, costumes and the make-up.

Well done to Jenny, on her production debut. Also to Pat for her over-all directorship, excellent professional colour programme layout, creative artwork, accompanying each play, and the good quality photos.

The introductory short story of the foundation days of Live Theatre in Garforth, from its early beginnings in the 1920’s, to the present day of GADS, preceded the plays and was presented by Judith and Kirsten. It was a humbling reminder of the dedication of local enthusiasts, who have entertained our Community for over 66 years. This is a truly wonderful and proud achievement!

So, thank you again, for all involved in putting on such a challenging production, both on stage, backstage, front of house, the refreshments and publicity.

We look forward to the Spring Production in 2014.

Mr and Mrs R.D. Taylor
Friends of GADS

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Natural Causes
25th April 2013
Director Erica Nicholls

This black comedy tells of a husband’s attempt to arrange his wife’s suicide in order to carry on his affair with his attractive assistant. The play has ,of course, many twists and turns including the arrival of a sympathetic man from the Samaritans. There were many amusing moments in this play but uncertainty with lines detracted a little from this. There were some good performances especially from David Battersby( Walter) and Lynda McCraight who played his wife. The play was well directed and the humour brought out to the full. Timing was good especially with the all important poisoned drinks. The applause that greeted the set when the curtains opened was well deserved. A lot of thought had gone into this and the props used on stage. An entertaining production with lots of laughs.

Pam Booth, NODA

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Out Of Focus – by Peter Gordon. November 2012

When the nervous and rather disorganised vicar’s wife over-books the church hall for various activities chaos reigns. This is sorted out by everyone agreeing to help out with the local pantomime run by the vicar’s wife. The rest of the play then tells of the progress of the pantomime up to the shows’ final performance.

A strong cast of nine worked well together and brought out the humour. Erica Nicholls as the vicar’s wife did a sterling job and her ‘drunken’ performance in the last scene was very amusing.

A lot of thought had gone into the simple set and I’m sure that many in the audience would recognise a church hall they knew. The costumes were well chosen, especially for the pantomime, and the panto make up was excellent. The various sound effects required for the play were spot on.

Although the cast of nine were all on stage together at times there was no masking, and positioning had been carefully thought out. An entertaining evening for a very receptive audience.

Pam Booth, NODA

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65th Anniversary

On Saturday 4th August 2012, we celebrated the 65th Anniversay of GADS at Garforth Working Mens Club, on Barleyhill Road. To mark the celebrations a one act play was performed by Erica Nicholls and David Battersby from Duets by Peter Quilter. This was a hilarious play, very well perfomed and set the scene for an enjoyable evening. A wonderful buffet was organised and some entertaining music which paved the way for a very generous and kind awards presentation to all members from 2011 to present day. Each member was presented with a commemorative plaque donated by anonymous audience members who have thoroughly enjoyed GADS entertainment over the years and wanted to show their appreciation. The cast, crew and members were very grateful and thank these very kind people with the hope to continue to entertain. A very inspiring speech was given by Judith Elliott (President of GADS) and the evening ended with the hope of many more years of performances.

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No Dinner For Sinners – March 2012

It is good to see that Garforth are still attracting new young members and well done to them for their excellent performances.
Once again the talented set builders had been hard at work and had created a wonderful flat belonging to an aspiring young business man. This young man had invited the narrow minded American Director of his firm to dinner and has to persuade his live in girlfriend to pose as his wife for the evening. When she refuses to do this and walks out on him he is left with the problem of finding a ‘wife’. Desperation sets in and he finally has to accept the offer of his outspoken cleaning lady. This choice plus the return of his girlfriend and his personal assistant leads to total confusion.
There were some good performances from the cast as this form of farce requires quick action and good timing. The capacity audience fully enjoyed the humour and the enthusiastic applause was well deserved.
Pamela Booth – NODA

A packed audience at the Saturday night show really appreciated this year’s spring production of the comedy ‘No Dinner For Sinners’.
It was extremely funny with plenty of laughter and twists and turns in the plot, performed by six members of the cast, three of whom are new members, Charlotte, David and Kirsty. They were joined by stalwart members Erica, Lynda and Martyn. All the cast gave such a lively and enjoyable interpretation of the play as the story unfolded, performing with great confidence and ability.
There were many excellent and memorable moments, including chewing gum on the carrots, an exploding pressure cooker, and Erica’s amazing transformation from an eccentric, nosey cleaning lady to a funky hostess, wearing a colourful and garish outfit with a daring spikey pink hairstyle!
The Society has now been performing for 65 years, and this year’s spring production was a classic comedy reminding us how good live theatre is here in Garforth.
Well done to all the members of the society both on and off the stage and expecially to Anita who ably directed the play.
We look forward to the autumn production.
Mr and Mrs Taylor – Friends of Gads