The Season 2016-17
The Society’s 2016/17 season began with Agatha Christie’s Go Back For Murder, a relatively recent adaption based on the best-selling UK author’s Five Little Pigs. It was directed by Mike Allen whose last production for the MHDS, The Housewarming, won the 2016 East Midlands Final in the All England Theatre Festival.
Whilst the reviewer felt that the show was slow, it won resounding positive feedback from all of it’s sell-out audiences throughout the week and a gala night, on the Monday, raised money for The Royal National Lifeboat Institute.
The society then took a challenge on a play, “Pink Mist” written by Owen Sheers. A remarkable new play that tells the story of three young men who are bored with their humdrum existence. They join the army and end up in Afghanistan. The play centres on the difficulties they have adapting to live back home after their military posting. The run was a World Premier amateur performance, we had to get special permission to perform it in advance of its general release. The theatre, and Director Christine Richardson, needn’t have worried as the play was a roaring success and was extremely well received by everyone who came along.
Comments on social media included “I was moved to tears by the performance, the direction, the use of lighting and sound … and the sheer energy and emotion of the thing”, “Very moving had me in tears. Brilliant acting and directing. One of the best”. Even our president, Viv Window, said the show had her “staggering to the bar for a brandy, totally speechless with emotion.”
You can read The Harborough Mail’s review here
2017 started with Alan Ayckbourn’s Season’s Greetings. Tickets sold out for this production almost two weeks before the run began and an additional performance added on the Monday night sold out within a couple of days. Every single audience left tittering at the antics that took place during the production, meaning a great start to 2017 for the society.
You can read what The Harborough Mail reviewer though of the show by clicking here
To celebrate Valentine’s Day, the first scheduled lounge studio production was performed. Directed by Sarah Clarke, “Abelard and Heloise” was put on to two audiences. Heloise and Abelard’ is one of history’s most passionate and romantic true love stories. The nine hundred year old love affair of the 12th century philosopher and theologian and his student Heloise continues to inspire and move. Their passionate relationship scandalized the community in which they lived. The details of their physical and spiritual intimacy is also a cautionary tale for our time. Our president, Viv Window, described it as “Surprisingly beautiful and moving. Perfect for Valentines Day.”.
Six audiences were given the opportunity to watch this year’s Market Harborough Drama Socitey’s entries into the One Act Play Festival “The Cagebirds” and “The Two Sisters”, both directed by John Foreman, performed to very responsive audiences throughout the week. Jen Shailes commented “great plays. So different and both brilliant”. Ken Lilley remarked “Both plays must be strong contenders (for the one act festival)”.
“Bouncers” by John Godber came to the Harborough Theatre stage, at the start of April, and was directed by Mark Bodicoat. The four actors were onstage throughout almost all the show and “welcomed” audience members into the building! Yet again, the show was a sellout at all six performances building on the success of the previous shows in the theatre’s season.
Audience member Dave Stevens said ” ‘Bouncers’ last night was amazing! A brilliantly paced production which would not have been out of place in a professional theatre. Thank you to all cast and crew for a great night’s entertainment. Looking forward to “Whose Life…..”
The season continued with the thought provoking play “Whose Life Is It Anyway?”, directed by Liz Clarke and with Mark Bodicoat in the lead role. The play was described as “not morbid or depressing, but very moving (and surprisingly funny in parts) and its theme is as valid today as it was when the play was written in the 1970s.” and all six audiences certainly agreed.
In the Studio production of”Ross and Rachel”, directed by Neil Kitson, Joy Brankin Frisby transformed herself by her fine acting into both people, in this mesmerising play.
The final play of the MHDS season was “The Importance of Being Earnest” 11th – 15th July. It was set in the 1920’s, 30 years or so later than when it was written. It worked, despite social changes, and the important period costumes were colourful and attractive. The play was well received by the audiences. There were three of the actors who trod the boards of our stage for the first time.
The first play of the 2017/18 Season starts with the comedy, Rumours.