Theatre Trip – ‘The Best Man’ at the Theatre Royal Windsor 21/09/2017
This year our annual theatre trip was to see Martin Shaw starring as William Russell, Presidential candidate in Gore Vidal’s play ‘The Best Man’ at the Theatre Royal, Windsor.
The play is about two competing candidates for presidential nomination in a 1960’s campaign. Martin Shaw plays William Russell, whose main opponent, Senator Cantwell (played by Jeff Fahey) is a ruthless political bruiser, using every dirty trick he can think of to gain nomination.
Jack Shepherd was very impressive as the ailing outgoing president, whose endorsement was needed by both candidates. The play started slowly but soon warmed up and got quite exciting with echoes of the antics played in a more recent real presidential election.
Many thanks to Kay for arranging the trip.
The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)
On Tuesday, 24th March, 20 members of the Chiltern District Welsh Society met at the Wycombe Swan for our annual cultural trip to the theatre.
We all met in the bar at 7pm to collect tickets and chat, before taking our seats at 7:30.
This year’s event was to see the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s latest work, The Complete History of Comedy (abridged).
The Complete Shakespeare Company is not quite as highbrow as our usual shows. Three American comics ran through the history of comedy from cavemen to the present day in a non-stop series of quick change sketches, gags and monologues which succeeded in breaking most taboos and taking as their subjects a mixture of scatological, sexual and xenophobic settings. They were very fair and tried to offend everyone equally, even the Welsh – very funny.
Ralph Broomby was press-ganged onto the stage (not very reluctantly) to take part in an improvised sketch and demonstrate his ability to provide sound effects to the action provided by the comics.
The show was very fast paced and finished at 9:30. At we made our way out, the cast were at the door to say farewell.
Report on visit to The Mill at Sonning: Thursday 3rd April 2014
This was to be an evening of drama; but perhaps the drama came earlier than planned.
We were to be at Sonning by around 6.30PM in time for a pre-booked meal at the theatre before the play started. A coach had been booked, to pick-up in Denham, Gerrards Cross and finally in Amersham.
Those of us waiting in the Amersham Community Centre car park became increasingly concerned as the 5PM collection time went past and no half-full coach had appeared on the road outside. An empty executive bus was parked down by the Drake Hall, but only Ann Evans had the eventual inspiration to seek out its driver and ask her about her why she was there. Ann is not our President for nothing!
This was indeed our bus, but somehow there had been a misunderstanding about the pick-up order and it was now clear that those due to board from the first two locations must already have been waiting for almost an hour: poor things.
Our lady driver made good time to Gerrards Cross but the traffic heading for Denham was almost at a standstill, and Margaret Payne deserves an award for patience after waiting near the Shell garage for an eternity – how glad she must have been to see Chairman Jonathan, who had rushed to find her and explain the mess-up.
Every good dramatist knows that one disaster must be heightened by several others and once we were on our way, up the M40, the next installment became clear. Due to a major accident further up the motorway, our coach was once more crawling and the prospects of our meal were vanishing into the distance. And there was the dilemna: if we could leave the motorway at all where should it be (there were jams all around).
The theatre had been alerted to our lack of progress and problems continued until beyond Bisham. Eventually we were able to speed up and our driver, calm throughout, got us very efficiently through the last part of the journey. The sprint into the theatre, at just before 7PM, didn’t create any time for drinks but at least it got us into buffet queue for our (late) first course. Phew!
The play that evening was Enchanted April, by Matthew Barber. Yes, we were going in April; but to call the evening so far “enchanted” was a bit of a stretch! Yet as the first actress started to set the scene it became clear that we were to be treated to a feast of good acting, and an intriguing plot. The story follows the adventures of four British women who rent a villa in Italy for the month of April. They arrive with their problems and their anxieties, but flourish in the sun and the beauty of their castle location. For those not knowing the story (like me) there were surprises to come and, although the audience numbers were disappointing, the production was certainly not. The applause at the end showed how well the cast had portrayed the characters and why it was worth the effort to get there to see it.
And the happy ending?….Our journey back was uneventful!
Many thanks to those Committee members who arranged this enjoyable evening for us.