NODA Review – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

We are extremely pleased to share this glittering review from NODA: The National Operatic and Dramatic Association.

The New Wolsey Theatre
Friday 16th June 2017

Director: Sally Scurrell
Musical Director: Mike Wren
Choreographer: Kimberley Moses

There were plenty of Front of House representation at the Wolsey who were easily identified, gave us a warm welcome and were a credit to Front of House Manager Norman Rutterford. Everybody in the foyer and bar were buzzing with excitement, including my wife and myself, at the prospect of seeing this stage musical adaptation of the very successful film starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin. The open stage displayed a basic but well constructed set on two levels consisting of a working door, a spiral staircase leading to the second level balcony as well as two additional balconies front left and right, the right balcony was above a curtained exit and was representative of a hotel room terrace. This set was functional and extremely well designed by Sally Scurrel, Duncan Broatch and Richard Rumbellow. Duncan Broatch, Craig Evans and Richard Rumbellow did a great job of constructing and painting this solid and workable set that was managed efficiently by Duncan Broatch and his stage crew. The Properties were appropriate and well constructed. The Properties team are to be congratulated on the quality and usability of all of the property items. Dan Scarett’s beautiful lighting design was efficiently operated by Technician Jon Terry. Shaun Emmerson and James Cook’s Sound design was clear and well balanced and the operators never missed a cue, quite rare these days for some reason. Congratulations and appreciation goes to Wardrobe Manager Lesley Rawlinson and her team for the excellent costumes and attention to detail. The block colours used for the chorus were subtle but beautifully put together. Charlotte Sampson also did a very good job with hairdressing and complemented the wardrobe in great style.

Martin Leigh and Tom Mayhew taking on the mantle’s of Michael Caine and Steve Martin as Lawrence and Freddy were undaunted and delivered some hilariously superb performances. Both actors seemed made for the parts and made them their own. Laura Lucock was very convincing as the boys love interest who ultimately proves to be a greater confidence trickster than either of them. Stephanie Brown as Muriel and Paul Stone as Andre were terrific in their own characters but excelled as a pairing. Both actors have a lot of energy and when they were in a scene together the electricity was tangible. Ellie Downes as Jolene is a natural comedienne who can also sing, dance and is easy on the eye culminating in a proper all round full package performer whom the audience enjoyed immensely. The Chorus were enthusiastic, slick and full of energy. I don’t usually single out members of chorus but feel that I need to mention Owen Berry and Emily Gatt who were both totally in the moment and proved that there are no small parts just small actors, these two were a couple of the biggest on stage amongst a constellation of stars in the chorus.

Any great show can be made mediocre by it’s lack of imagination and artistry in the choreography, luckily in this production the very talented Kimberley Moses took the reigns and did a marvellous job. Mike Wren’s Musical Direction was so beautifully understated and perfect that even though the wonderful orchestra were right before our very eyes upstage of the action at all times, we forgot that they were there.

Sally Scurrell’s Direction was brilliant. She allowed the whole piece to flow at a good rhythm with no dead spots and avoided lengthy scene changes by utilising the cast and chorus as much as she could, thus making what is quite a long show not appear to be so. Sally appreciates that even in a musical the story needs to be told in the dialogue, and so her actors , I am sure, were encouraged to embrace the dialogue and not just use it as an intro to the next song.

This was a superb production worthy of any west end stage, my congratulations and appreciation go to all concerned.

Councillor Don McKay, NODA East

Memories of Wizard of Oz – The Search for Toto

Wow! what a day, Saturday 3rd  August at ‘Woofbridge 2016’.  We auditioned over 20 fantastic dogs to play Toto in the upcoming production of The Wizard Of Oz.

We were amazed by the amount of talent on view

On the judging panel we had Jessy Chaston a Dog Expert and owner of pet store Collar & Coat who organised ‘Woofbridge 2016’, James Hayward Co-Director of The Wizard of OZ and of course our beautiful Dorothy, Charlotte Sheehan.

The audition aimed to replicate the stage environment as closely as possible and included performing to an audience who cheered on all of our four-legged friends, working with various sounds including background noise and live music.

All potential Toto’s had the opportunity to show us their party tricks before working and interacting with Dorothy.  This included skipping down the Yellow Brick Road and building a rapport with our Dorothy.

With the amount of talent available to us, it was extremely difficult for us to choose a dog to play Toto.  However, our judges narrowed it down to 3 amazing dogs!

Our Toto’s are:

The handsome Jack!

1 2 3

First Cover was the gorgeous George.


Second Cover was the magical Merlin!



NODA Review of Alice The Musical

We are extremely pleased to share the review of First Stage’s production of Alice The Musical.

“ALICE THE MUSICAL” by Mark and Helen Johnson.
At Henley Community Centre. Ipswich. 3rd July 2016.

A new rendition of “Alice in Wonderland” was IODS youngsters latest production. The s tory is the same with all the characters we love. Henley Village Hall is very welcoming and makes a superb venue for this type of production.

The production had at least 30 juniors on stage, and at times the stage was pretty full, and perhaps it would have been better to have split the chorus so that mums and dads could easily spot their little ones! However, the children enjoyed themselves and some had great promise to one day be on the way to join the main Operatic Society when sixteen.
The costumes were good and imaginative and despite the limited space, the scenery flats were enough to change the various scenes. We were greatly impressed by some of the youngsters. Imogen Nunn who never flagged either with words or actions made a very pleasant Alice ably abetted by Noah Dinsdale as the nervy White Rabbit always hoping not to be late. The Mad Hatter was Tess Black who delivered her lines with gusto and caught the character well.

Something else again was Ryan Lenny as the Queen of Hearts this was played with a brilliant display of ‘camp’! I can see him finding a place with the main Society in the near future.
I have mentioned several parts, but I thought all the little characters did very well in their roles and it is so hard for me not to name them all in junior productions of this type, sufficient for me to say they “All did very well!”

“Alice” was well directed by the production team, led by IODS actor Darren Nunn, together with fellow members Sharna Simmons, Roxy Last, Kelly Fletcher, Clare Blakey and Julian Smith. All the chaperones were in place to see easy movement on to the stage and keep all calm in the dressing rooms!

A most enjoyable afternoon, well done to all involved.