Haxby Players - History
Reviews of 2001 Plays 'Alfie' & 'Funny Money'
Member's Information Page
A Concise List of Plays from 1947 - present date
Haxby Memorial Hall - Redevelopment Group
Review of Arsenic & Old Lace April 2002
Review of Comfort & Joy by Mike Harding - Autumn 2002
Review of Revengers Comedies by Alan Ayckbourn - Spring 2003
Review of Pack of Lies - Autumn 2003
Review of "And Then There Were None" April 2004
Contact Information for Haxby Players
Review of Happiest Days of Your Life -Oct 2004
Review of "Harvey" by Mary Chase - Spring 2005
Time of My Life by Alan Ayckbourn - Autumn 2005
Review of - Fatal Encounter by Francis Durbridge Spring 2006
Rewiew of "Ice Is Slowly Melting" Autumn 2006
Review - The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 Spring 2008
Autumn 2008 - The Memory of Water
'Alfie' by Bill Naughton, April 2001
|With Haxby Players’ very own lothario (Austin Barnett) in the title role the 2001 season romped into action.
Set in the swinging sixties, Alfie emerges from the steamed up windows of his car to greet the audience, fresh from his latest conquest, Siddie (Jill King) . With an almost refreshing dose of political incorrectness Alfie proceeds boldly through a series of affairs leaving behind a trail of devoted women, pausing only for an elongated attachment to Gilda (Lorraine Hodgeson) who he eventually abandons, along with child, to long suffering faithful lapdog Humphrey (a wonderfully doey-eyed David Hudson) .
Stopped in his tracks by a bout of TB, Alfie proceeds to try to inject his own philosophy into fellow sufferer Harry (a gormless Andy Love) and chews the fat with Joe (a suitably lugubrious Ron Jevons) . He steals his next conquest from the jaws of rival seducer Lofty (Les Hilton) until the sad, compliant nature of Annie (Jill Way) sends him to the arms of outrageous sexpot Ruby (a negligeed Pam Turpin) .
Switching smoothly from the carefree entertainment of the first half the audience’s emotions were seized by the dire lot of Lily, Harry’s wife (a powerful performance by Brenda Sanger) . Uncharacteristically seduced by Alfie she returns to his flat for an illegal abortion by the seedy Mr Smith (Robin Sanger) . The self assured façade crumbles in the face of real pain and anguish and Alfie flees, abandoning Lily to her fate. Is Alfie finally realising what he really is? The discovery of Ruby ensconced in the arms of adversary Lofty seems to be the last straw until Siddie reappears to bring the action full circle. “What’s it all about? That’s what I want to know.”
All credit to Austin Barnett in a role whose character barely leaves the stage and utters a mammoth volume of lines. He switched seamlessly from the action of the play to discourses with the audience, at the start we like this cocky Jack-the-lad, by the end we are not so sure.
Mention too of the numerous supporting roles, small but essential, that evoked the time and place. Costumes, hairstyles and props all gave their certificate of authenticity to the piece along with some carefully chosen music. The stage setting varied from brilliant (the revolving Café/Pub/kitchen) to unnecessary (some major furniture removals) resulting in some scene changes distracting from the flow of the performance, as did some overlong pauses before lights came up.
Minor gripes apart, the 18 strong cast and their director Geraldine Jevons , should be congratulated on a memorable and virtually sell-out string of performances.
Watch this space for details of the yet to be announced October production by this consistently entertaining group.
Reviewed by Jackie Love.
'Funny Money' by Ray Cooney, October 2001
| Funny Money by Ray Cooney was performed on the 24th to 28th October 2001. Approx 220 people laughed till their sides ached.
Funny Money is not Ray Cooney's best (or funniest) play. That said, there is more than enough here to satisfy any aficionado of farce. There are the usual mistaken identities, sexual misunderstandings, close shaves and the incessantly frantic hole digging of a hapless hero.
On his birthday, Henry (played absolutely straight by David Hudson) arrives home from work clutching his briefcase. Only it isn't his. It is someone else's and contains £735,000. Henry wants to keep it, and possibly disappear off to Spain where the (obviously criminal) owner of the money cannot find him. Persuading his wife Jean to come with him to Spain is one of the more pressing problems facing Henry. Jean's slow decline during the play from tee totaller to ever so slightly inebriated was wonderfully portrayed by Brenda Sanger.
The anticipated farcical elements are delivered by having friends arrive to celebrate Henry's birthday, and Betty and Vic were brought to life by Sheila Parnaby and Austin Barnet respectfully. The moment where Betty happily agrees to take Jean's place in the sun with Henry was a comic joy. Austin Barnet's Vic seemed to be suitably bemused by the mayhem surrounding him.
Davenport (Ron Jevons) and Slater (Brenda Riley) arrive to complicate matters. These two police officers have two quite disparate aims. Believing that the police are on to him, the lies that Henry tells to cover his tracks become more convoluted, dragging in his wife and friends. David Hudson constantly caught the right note in his portrayal of someone spinning increasingly complicated webs in which to trap himself. The seedy reactions of Ron Jevon's blackmailing Davenport and the highly professional approach taken by Brenda Riley's Slater proved that much can be achieved by the use of contrasts.
One problem encountered by many groups is having enough actors to fill the male roles in plays. Haxby Players found a solution by having the definitely female Geraldine Jevons play Bill, a taxi driver hired to take Henry to the airport. This worked a treat and Bill's interfering and various states of impatience made a lot more sense coming from a woman!
Finally, all ends happily with Henry getting to keep the money, and facilitating the arrest of the villain of the piece, played by Peter Bridgewood in a fine mumbling and stumbling cameo appearance towards the end of the play.
Robin Sanger's hand on the tiller as producer kept the play moving swiftly and he must be congratulated along with the technical team for engineering the gunshots and broken bottles at the end of the play to perfection. As usual the set that miraculously appears in the Memorial Hall just days before the first performance was solidly realistic.
Playing to virtually full houses for four nights, Haxby Players again proved what can be achieved with a little imagination and determination, a lot of hard work and a sprinkling of talent.
Reviewed by Andrew Love
Cast and crew of Funny Money
|Gentlemen: Geoff Taylor, Ron Jevons, Austin Barnett, Robin Sanger, David Hudson, Peter Bridgewood.
Ladies : Ewa Hall, Brenda Riley, Sheila Parnaby, Brenda Sanger, Geraldine Jevons, Sheila Lamb.
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