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The December Club Night

Our junior members who beautifully sang to the members.

Richard White being presented “The Edith Mansell Memorial Trophy” by Su Mansell .

Emma Hardy and Ollie Blake with their prizes foe winning “Pointless” 



New Social Evenings

In a bid to provide members with more opportunities to meet up and have fun, we have started a Play Reading Group which will meet in the foyer of the PAC on evenings when a main production is rehearsing in the main theatre. These will be open to EVERYONE and will be a great chance to mix with the rehearsing cast during their refreshment break, thus promoting a sense of involvement in our Club. They are very informal and JUST FOR FUN. So whether you're a performer or not, do come along and join in. The more the merrier!


Below we have some Photos from the very successful Juniors production of "Hoodwinked" which they performed at Ballard School for the June Club Night to a large audience. The production was directed by Sarah Haberfield and Karen Whitty


Some of the cast members of June Club Night’s production of “Hoodwinked”!


Reviews of Previous Productions

"Dick Whittington"

The director, Ann Ramm, worked on fifteen am-dram performances between 1973 and 2005 before folding up her pantomimes director's chair, but ten years later, she's back in the driver's seat - and doing a great job ...

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When I saw that New Forest Players were performing one of my favourite films I though they were taking on a big challenge.  But once again this talented group of people under the directorship of Gillian Pitt took on the task and the result was a great success.

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"The Day After the Fair"

THIS production was truly a spectacle of performance elements and character portrayal. The play is set in Melchester (Hardy's name for Salisbury), with the main theme being of unsettled marriages in an ever thickening plot. The well-acclaimed writer Thomas Hardy uses the story (adapted here by Frank Harvey) to reflect upon his once trapped status within a loveless marriage.

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"It Runs in The Family"

When the New Forest Players chose to perform master farceur Ray Cooney’s “It Runs In The Family” they took on a challenge;  If farce isn’t well timed, it’s a disaster.  But this production was done so well, it was a masterpiece. 

Superbly directed by Ann Ramm and stage managed by Matt Allum it is set in the doctors’ Common Room at St Andrews Hospital just before Christmas,

Dr David Mortimore (brilliantly played by Chris March) is about to address an international conference, which could result in a knighthood.  But he’s shocked by the arrival of former nurse Jane Tate (Sweet performance by Tina Fagan) who announces that their liaison “18 years and 9 months” ago produced a son, who has now not only discovered that his father is very much alive (having believed he died heroically in the Himalayas), but was currently causing chaos in reception, having been arrested for drunk driving and insisting on meeting his father.

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I take great comfort in the fact that some things never change: many, many years ago – you really don’t want to know just how long, but I was only 11 or 12 at the time – a friend’s sister was in a pantomime at her school, and we went along to see it. I can’t remember which panto it was; in fact I can remember only one thing about it, which was that they sang ‘If I Were Not In Pantomime’. I loved it then and tonight, when Buttons, Prince Charming and Dandini gave us their own manic take on the song, I sat there with a silly grin on my face, loving it all over again.

To be fair, I sat there with a silly grin on my face throughout the whole evening, and I do apologise to the elderly couple in front of me who seemed rather stunned when I joined in the audience responses with such gusto. Well, you have to, don’t you? 

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"Stepping Out"

THIS is one of those plays that pops up with some regularity, so I am pretty familiar with it. However, listening to comments around me it was clear that quite a few of the audience had seen only the film, and that had drawn them to this production. I’m sure that they won’t have been disappointed, because although Liza Minnelli, Julie Walters, Shelley Winters et al were conspicuous by their absence, this really was a very good show indeed, thanks to the production team of Barbara Evans (director) and Rosie Thomas (choreographer).

Richard Harris’ Stepping Out is, of course, about a weekly tap class that takes place in a dingy London church hall. It always tickles me that at least some of the audience seems to think that the cast really do learn to tap dance as the play progresses, so there is always applause when they finally ‘get it right’. Since it is actually rather difficult to pretend to do something badly when you know the correct way all along, all credit must go to the performers for being so very convincing!

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"Jack & The Beanstalk"

QUITE a few years ago now I came across a confident and supremely talented young boy, about 12 years old, who was performing magic tricks as part of a variety show in Ferndown. He has been crossing my radar ever since in a variety of guises, but mainly as a musical director or pantomime dame, and I am never less than hugely impressed by what he does. This year he has surpassed himself – oh, the energy of youth! – and despite having only just finished a run of Cinderella down in Weymouth, playing an Ugly Sister, just days later he’s wearing frocks again as Dame Trott in this extremely enjoyable pantomime, for which he is also musical director and author. Lee Redwood, is there no end to your talents?

Playing Dame Trott’s son Simple Simon is another young man who I have been watching perform since he was tiny, and it has always been obvious that he has a very special talent. Jack Haberfield commands the stage as if born to it, and has a lovely way of interacting with the audience that belies the fact that he is still a teenager.

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"Cash on Delivery"

WRITTEN by Michael Cooney and directed by the very experienced Ann Ramm, NFP’s production of this farcical comedy is a storming success.

The theme is very topical as the hapless hero Eric Swann gets a little carried away fraudulently claiming benefits for old absent lodgers, their made-up extended families and their false ailments.

John Tickner's portrayal of the seemingly misguided Eric is absolutely stunning, allowing every joke, innuendo and double entendre to land with precision and timing into the play and the audience were laughing aloud from start to finish. I was in awe of his comic timing and calm delivery throughout. Ably supported by the hilarious character Norman Bassett (David Woods), and the government inspector Mr Jenkins (Martin Pitman), their on-stage chemistry worked seamlessly.

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"London Assurance"

QUINTESSENTIALLY English, it is no surprise that London Assurance was written by an Irishman.  Dion Boucicault (pronounced BOO-see-coe) wrote the play in 1841, almost as a midway point between fellow countrymen Oliver Goldsmith’s ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ and paving the way for the works of Wilde, Shaw and Yeats.  There is something about this ‘outsider looking in’ role that allows the objectifying of the comedy to work, sometimes.  Granted, the play, as it stood, did require the ‘Mr. Sheen’ effect.  As an example of Restoration theatre it was stacked well with stock characters and themes.  Boucicault admitted, “I can spin out these rough- and-tumble dramas as a hen lays eggs.  It’s a degrading occupation, but more money has been made out of guano than out of poetry.”



After a break from this genre for several years NFP are back in the land of boo and hiss and in their old home, the Memorial Hall, which felt considerably cosier than I remembered it. I’d remembered too that they used to do panto awfully well, so it was not really a surprise to find that they certainly haven’t lost their touch.

What do I want to see in a pantomime? Well, a chorus who look happy to be there, strong characterisations, bright costumes and sets, foot-tapping tunes (preferably sung by people who can actually sing), a few impressive special effects, not too much self-indulgence and, above all, the indefinable quality that marks the difference between okay and thoroughly enjoyable. If I was awarding marks I’d say that this production scored 99.9%, which is pretty good going by anyone’s standards.


"Rattle of a Simple Man"

On the surface, the plot of Charles Dyer’s play is itself simple: Percy, a 35-year old (or so he initially claims) football fan from Manchester, unmarried, resignedly chaste and lonely has been down in London, with his mates, for one of his team’s matches. Subsequently, one of them has bet him £50 that he will not spend a – consummated – night with a prostitute, Cyrenne.


"Dick Barton - Special Agent"

When Dick Barton Special Agent was a regular radio programme I wasn’t even born, so I had no preconceived ideas of what to expect from this musical comedy of the same name. I can only imagine that the original took itself pretty seriously, as many radio shows did in the late 1940s, but I had a suspicion that this version might be somewhat tongue-in-cheek. In the event it proved to be a complete and utter spoof, and I loved every moment.


"Plaza Suite"

It's not very often that my wife and I get the treat of an evening out together - just the two of us. So last night, with the babysitter booked and the kids tucked up in bed we headed out for what we hoped would be an enjoyable evening. And, as it turned out, we were not disappointed.

We arrived at the very beautiful Ballard school to see New Forest Players’ Plaza Suite, written by Neil Simon. I will openly admit I had never heard of the play before tonight and so, apart from a little bit of research I had done beforehand, I went with an open mind as to what I was to expect. From the research I had done, I knew that Plaza Suite was a play composed of three “acts”, each involving different characters and stories, but all set in Suite 719 of the Plaza Hotel, New York.


"When we are Married" 

This production is in safe hands – the hands of master-playwright JB Priestley and of veteran director Sonia Collyer. Sonia has been involved with the New Forest Players for more than half a century and directed the same play almost 25 years ago. Her sure touch is just one of the assets that contributes to this excellent production.   



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