WE'LL BE BACK!
Covid safety precautions mean it hasn't been possible to rehearse for and stage our annual February production in 2021 - but we plan to come roaring back as soon as it's safe to do so!
OUR 2020 PRODUCTION OF SOUTH PACIFIC
This was a terrific way to banish winter blues. A wonderful communal endeavour!
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s famous tale of wartime romance took us to the warm, balmy climate of French Polynesia. We witnessed comedy and love, tragedy and loss. When first produced in 1949, the musical courted controversy for its candid portrayal of racial prejudice.
Our chorus of American sailors was rightly admired, not to mention our star performer, Sarah Wiggins (2019's marvellous Maria in 'The Sound of Music'), who once again wowed our nightly audiences.
You’ll know the songs: ‘There is Nothin’ like a Dame’, 'Some Enchanted Evening', I'm Gonna Wash that Man Right Outa My Hair' and lots more...
Performances took place in the February 2020 half term week - and the audience reaction was amazing!
SOLD OUT! - our 2019 production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC
The four performance nights of the Olveston Parish Players' February 2019 production of The Sound of Music sold out within three weeks of going on sale, with half the tickets sold within one day of the tickets going on public sale. Make a note to buy tickets very fast next year!
THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Wed 20th February to Sat 23rd February 2019
THE WIZARD OF OZ
Wed 14th February to Sat 17th February 2018
We hope you enjoyed our recent production! Read the review below...
Review of 'The Wizard of Oz' - by Barbie Davies
The Parish Players' production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ certainly went with a whizz. A cracking pace was set by experienced director Linda Evans, musical director Chloe Allsopp-Jones and their well disciplined team of cast and crew!
This show was everything an audience might hope for in a performance of the much-loved classic. Nowadays, audiences constantly compare amateur shows to professional productions and, of course, the film itself. Has Judy Garland got a childhood double? Not only was Isobel Lambie outstandingly professional and totally charming, but she looked bewitchingly like the original Dorothy. Comparisons here did not disappoint.
Nor did they with David Proud's wonderfully athletic and winning Scarecrow, Paul Dimery's heartfelt happy rendering of Tin Man, and Ray Hale's cuddly, comic and convincing Lion. And what music they all made – as did the whole cast, of which the majority were very talented and committed children who delighted us, not only with their acting and dancing skills, but with their genuine enthusiasm and total immersion in the plot and characters. No wonder they held the audience's attention so very well.
The whole production oozed joie de vivre and colour, whether from the truly picture book set created by Andy Black and his team, the rainbow lighting from Richard Churchill, or the glorious array of costumes from vibrant stripy socks of the munchkins to skeletons or beautiful classical ballerinas – all carefully co-ordinated by Cath Chappel. In the very capable hands of the Jones family, the accompaniments to the well-loved songs bounced along and sensitively encouraged both chorus and soloists.
There were many moments on stage made memorable by a perfect blend of visual effects, emotional sincerity and acting or dancing skills. In particular, the snow scene was a real triumph with ample snow falling against a sky and ballet (including some lovely pointe work) choreographed by Jill Harris and danced most sensitively by the young ballerinas clad classically in white.
Comedy too was crisp, lively and inventive. The shrinking of Amy Sunderland, the wonderfully wicked witch, was a hoot. Half way through the process, one of the children became the escaped half-shrunk witch who had to be chased round the hall and back into the magnificent cauldron. The wizard himself, played by Richard Newley, made a very amusing eccentric.
Between them the kindly good witch and Linda Evans waved a magic wand across the whole production which was absolute magic; and not in the
* The reviewer saw Isobel Lambie play Dorothy on Saturday 17th February. On alternate nights, Dorothy was played by Aggie Barnes - to great acclaim!
PETER PAN - February 2017
The Parish Players' February 2017 production of Peter Pan was terrific fun - a great community endeavour!
Here's Barbie Davies' review of the production:
Peter Pan - What makes folks fly?
In this busy world, everyone likes a dose of Never Never Land. The Parish Players, in their musical version of ‘Peter Pan’ took us there by means of the set, stage and technical crews’ ingenious flying mechanism, dream-like sets, lighting and effects. They are indeed a dream team of imagination and efficiency. Whilst the melodies of this version of the original 1904 play by J.M. Barrie might not be the most interesting, Chloe Allsopp-Jones’ quartet brought the excellent arrangements to life with their expert verve and sensitivity. They gave wonderful support to everyone on stage which resulted in confident and heart-felt singing.
Linda Evans’ experienced hand gave all the performers a real sense of the pantomime flavour, much panache, and a discipline which translated into a slick and infectiously enthusiastic production. Sheer energy, attack and a sense of fun oozed from every performer. The hard-working chorus of Pirates/Red Indians really entered into the spirit of each caricature, providing some very amusing moments, especially in the hands of Ray Hale and Richard Newley. All the lost boys were an absolute delight with their total commitment to their parts, their fabulous facial expressions and wonderful singing. What talent there is for the future!
On the last night, after an arduous week, Niamh McBride still strong and crystal clear as Wendy, perfectly captured the ‘perfect little mother’ adopting just the right amount of tongue in cheek capabilities – and what a super singing voice! Hannah Clarke was a very convincing John – no mean feat for this generous young performer. Theo Woodward made a very winning Michael by his obvious love of the part, while Peter Pan himself was beautifully played by Jake Woodward, who captured the freedom and joie de vivre of the role. He too had a really strong and tuneful voice. Evie Snadden delivered the difficult role of nearly good fairy, Tinkerbell, with real grace, mischief and perfect timing.
Of course every pantomime has its baddies. Phil Savage’s Captain Hook had the perfect balance of silliness and glory in the gory. His arch-enemy (a most sleek crocodile) made many a swift slither across the stage causing many a giggle. Only Nana the nurse dog rivalled him, affectionately played by David Proud. No wonder Mrs Darling, warmly performed by Lesley Clarke, was grateful for Nana’s help at that amusing moment when she and her husband (Phil Savage, after a quick change) stand surrounded by the boys who no longer want to be lost, but adopted by the Darlings.
The Parish Hall may only have a small stage (plus, on this occasion, a useful fore stage) but the impact is always big: whether in dance work (choreographed by Jill Harris), the colourful costumes by Cath Chappel, Felicity Hemmett and Helen Leicester, or the sense of magic which is created when a community works together. That’s what makes folk really fly!
Director’s note: This review was from Saturday 18th February. On alternate evenings, the roles of Peter and Tinkerbell were played memorably by Timothy Mitchell and Isobel Lambie.
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.
Photos of Past Productions
- Some photographs of past productions can be seen on the Olveston Photo Gallery page on this website.
- Even more photos of all recent productions 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!