Press Cuttings

We are grateful to the Bolton News who support us during our season. These are extracts of their reports of our plays:


And A Nightingale Sang


Directed by Margaret Speakes - 15th - 19th May 2018

To bring the season to a close, Tyldesley Little Theatre chose C.P. Taylor’s northern comedy - And A Nightingale Sang, and what a great choice it was! The action of the play spans the years of the Second World War in the Manchester area. As the curtain opens we see ourselves in the modest home of the Stott family, all getting on with life amidst the bombings and upheaval of wartime Britain. As the plot unfolds we have an insight into the ups and downs of family life and dealing with awkward situations, whilst ensuring that the family unit is always at the forefront.

The father of the family – George Stott is played by admirably by Adrian White. We are treated to Adrian’s vocal talents throughout the evening as this piano loving character sings his way through most situations. He delivered one liners with aplomb and reacted perfectly to his wife’s constant nagging. Joyce Elder was in the role of Peggy Stott, the staunch Christian who kept the house together. Joyce brought a natural ease to the role and portrayed the character perfectly with excellent comedic timing and a good singing voice to boot. The youngest daughter – Joyce was in the capable hand of Sally Mason, Sally brought a naivety to the role, which she played  perfectly as she struggled to decide whether she loved her boyfriend enough to marry him but we then saw the character mature as the years passed by.

In the role of resident Grandad, Andie, was Society stalwart Ian Hunter. Ian’s delivery and comic timing was spot on – a character well portrayed. Matt Walshaw as Joyce’s somewhat dim but forthright boyfriend then husband Eric was another excellent performance as was that of Alex Clarke as the boyfriend of elder sister, Helen. Cathryn Megan Hughes played the part of elder sister, Helen and she certainly did not disappoint. This was a dual role in theory as she also narrated throughout the piece. Cathryn’s performance was exceptional. She engaged with the audience straight away and told the story with conviction as well as portraying her character perfectly. A joy to watch. The split set of Lounge and kitchen was simple yet very effective.

Director, Margaret Speakes has done a sterling job and must be congratulated on an excellent production that brought the curtain down on another season at Tyldesey Little Theatre. This is an extremely funny play, whilst having it’s poignant moments and is certainly worth seeing.

Graham Cohen
Bolton News Review

Curtain Up!


Directed by Matt Walshaw - 20th - 24th March 2018

Fledgling director Matt Walshaw does well with his small cast in this lesser known comedy from the pen of Peter Quilter about a group of women who are left a derelict theatre in a will from a common acquaintance and must overcome difficulties (and their differences)  to make their inheritance work for them.

Cathryn Megan Hughes puts in an enthusiastic performance as eternal optimist Theresa, still compensating for the death of her father by hoping to make his theatre a success, whilst Joan Rogers as Pam conveys the bitterness of a woman scorned with some acerbic lines.

Andrea Peters is a joy as chirpy dieter Sharon, filling the stage with liveliness and vivacity, but Margaret Speakes as Betty has all the best pithy one-liners. The cast is completed by newcomer Gemma Manfredi as glamorous Jackie who provides a suitable foil for Pam’s envy.

A keep fit routine in act one is particularly amusing, but the comedy really flows when the fundraising concert is due and a replacement for Lisa Minnelli has to be found......    

The hard working stage crew are slick and professional, and the transformation from foyer to stage during the interval is very well thought out and executed.

Peter Haslam
Bolton News Review

Dial M For Murder

'DIAL M For Murder'

Directed by Jenny Whur - 23rd - 27th January 2018

As ex tennis player Tony Wendice realises his wife is having an affair he sets about planning her murder. He sets out his elaborate plan, involving an old school pal and has it planned like a military operation so nothing can go wrong – or can it?
Alex Clarke excels as Tony Wendice. A strong consistent performance that never once dropped character as he convincingly entices his wife to her destiny. As the plot develops you see the sinister side of the character come out as he gets closer to completing his plan. A well-rounded performance that was well received.

Ingrid Folkard-Evans is on top form as alleged adulteress Sheila Wendice. Ingrid has great stage presence and has a natural acting ability that makes the character she is playing believable.  This performance was no exception as she effortlessly breezed her way through the plot displaying the ability to portray a devoted wife whilst harbouring the secret of many assignations with her lover, Max Halliday.

The character of Max is safe in the hands of Cameron Rowe who transitioned from relaxed, almost arrogant “friend of the family” to frantic, frenzied with ease as he realises the game is up and the secret of was his affair is out. This steady performance complimented the other cast members and a contrast was clear when he interacted with the other characters, especially Tony and Sheila.

Newcomer Adrian White certainly succeeded as he made his amateur stage debut. The programme indicated that this was Adrian’s first ever role, but the audience wouldn’t have known this from what came across the footlights. This was a relaxed performance and he looked just right as he agreed to become embroiled in the planning, plotting and execution of his old classmates’ crazed idea.

Completing this cast, TLT stalwart Ian Hunter plays a convincing Inspector Hubbard as he deduces the movements and whereabouts of each character before and after the deed to place.

From the opening curtain to the final bows this production had pace and was obviously well rehearsed and directed. Congratulations to Director Jenny Whur who has presented a cracking thriller which, if the comments of the audience are anything to go by has certainly hit the right spot.

Paul Cohen
Bolton News Review

Beauty & the Beast


Directed by Carly Lomax - 25th November - 2nd December 2018

The curtain opened on this year’s pantomime season as Tyldesley Little Theatre presented their festive offering ‘Beauty And The Beast’. This traditional Tale was in safe hands as the cast portrayed the story with ease.

Chloe Thomas in then role of Belle gave a warm, assured performance with an excellent singing voice to boot. Andrea Peters and Hannah Boardman were excellent as Belles sisters – Ermengarde and Esmerelda. They worked very well together.

Bill Rodgers in the role of The Beast gave a well studied performance and his version of ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ was superb.

There were some excellent supporting roles which added humour and pathos to the production as well as the traditional good verses bad. We were treated to some great dancing as well as acrobatic talents from the children of the chorus who added greatly to this production.

The audience made the most of their opportunities to shout out to the cast and join in with the fun which is what panto is all about. Carly Lomax makes her debut as Pantomime director and she has done an excellent job.



Graham Cohen
Bolton News Review

Beyond A Joke


Directed by Connor Parkinson - 26th to 30th September 2017

'Criminal Capers'

Tyldesley Little Theatre opens its 97th season with this comedy from the pen of Derek Benfield. Debut director Connor Parkinson does well in leading his cast, obviously understanding the play and bringing out good moments of comedy from the script.
The story concerns the unlucky home of Andrew, Jane, and daughter Sally, where fatal accidents to visitors occur on an alarmingly regular basis. To elaborate more would diffuse the comical lines in the plot, but suffice to say that when Sally’s boyfriend Geoff overhears a conversation it is the catalyst for an evening of misunderstandings.

Alex Clarke and Joyce Elder (as Andrew and Jane) carry the plot confidently, with able assistance from Rhiannon Burke as Sally and Hannah Boardman as Sarah. Newcomer Joe Wellman puts in a commendable performance as Geoff, leading the crusade to save any visitors from an untimely exit.

But the comic moments reach a new level when Cathryn Megan Hughes arrives as the new vicar in the village, a characterisation full of energy and experience. The ensemble is completed by Roma Etherington and Ian Hunter as Geoff’s bewildered grandparents entering the confusion later in the proceedings, and Sally Mason as the TV Repairer.
The set is excellent, conveying the split locations of inside the house and the garden.


Snow Queen

'The Snow Queen'

Directed by Ian Taylor, Garth Waddup & Andy Sutton - 29th, 30th November, 2nd, 3rd, 5th & 6th December 2014

Alan Frayn’s Snow Queen is a new edition to his long list of Pantos and Tyldesley Little Theatre do it justice by providing a family panto packed with fun and frolics.

In the title role of The Snow Queen, Karen Ward proves to be as icy as the title suggests as she weaves her evil spell and kidnaps Gerda’s friend Kai. Luke Hope-Nixon played the part of Kai very well. This young lad has promise with a great stage presence and clear delivery he is certainly one to watch for the future. Alana Howarth-Lees as Gerda was sweet and endearing as she journeyed through the snow and ice to find her friend and realise her true feelings for him. Connor Parkinson is developing well in the comedy role and is starting to make the part his own. As Helmut he displayed some admirable rapport with the audience and he sustained this throughout. Seasoned panto player Ian Taylor in the role of the dame, Nanny Annie gave his usual polished performance and had the audience eating out of his hand. As soon as you see the name Joyce Elder in the programme you know you in are in for a vocal treat and her rendition of Let it Go from Frozen was up to her usual high standard. The chorus provided some entertaining dancing and Musical Director Martin Taylor provided a variety of songs that fit the bill. It is always good to see younger people taking parts and Ellie Ward played the part of Frederika the robber with confidence. As with Kai, I can see these two youngsters treading the boards of TLT for many years to come. For me, panto needs a character that can keep the pace and provide some laugh out loud moments and we had this aplenty with Carly Lomax in the role of Blossom, the mad flower lady. Vocally strong as an added bonus, Carly is a great pantomime comedy actress and understands the needs to entertain the audience and not herself. Her characterisation of the part was just right. This was a well-balanced performance and went down a treat with the audience. This was a well presented production, and whilst I am not convinced that a pantomime needs three directors, the team of Ian Taylor, Garth Waddup and Andy Sutton provide a family pantomime that has all the ingredients to ensure a fun-packed evening is presented – and it worked!


Directed by Jenny Whur, 30th - 4th October 2014

A church hall where a series of over-bookings have occurred is a simple starting point for a comedy.

But that is no bad thing as it quickly becomes evident that Out of Focus, being staged by Tyldesley Little Theatre until Saturday, is packed full of laughs.  A mismatched bunch of cleverly-crafted characters are thrown together and soon find themselves signing up to appear in a pantomime. All the action in Peter Gordon’s comedy, first published in 1990 and updated in 2009, takes place in the annexe of a church hall. It is a delightful satire of village or small town life and had a touch of the Victoria Wood sitcom Dinnerladies about it, as the unlikely bunch try to make the best of the situations they find themselves in, with some great laugh out loud moments. Ian Taylor and Andrea Peters, as bickering couple Bob and Kath Enfield, give particularly natural performances and Ian delivers his lines with great comic timing and facial expressions. Ian Hunter puts in a very enjoyable performance as a tank top-clad Roy Cropper type character, Leonard Trotter, intent on delivering a talk on steam locomotives to anyone who will listen. The rest of the cast puts in strong performances - Roma Etherington as the nervous vicar’s wife who is prone to bursting into tears; Joan Rogers as the haughty Brownies leader Helen Beever; Ingrid Folkard-Evans as Sue Dixon, the voice of reason; Connor Parkinson as wannabe Romeo, Wayne Bryant, and Alex Clarke as badminton-playing policeman David Wright, while newcomer Rhiannon Williams makes a nice debut as flirty Linda Hammond. The first act and pantomime performance scenes were particularly enjoyable, as the characters donned a range of wacky outfits as they gathered in the hall and prepared to go on stage. I felt the end, with the slides scene, petered off slightly but perhaps that was more due to the fact that the preceding scenes had been so entertaining. Out of Focus, directed by Jenny Whur and on at the Lemon Street theatre until Saturday, is a very strong and enjoyable start to TLT’s season.

Then There Were None playbill


Directed by Ian Taylor, 13th - 17th October 2014

This was my first visit to Tyldesley Little Theatre (TLT) and I was certainly not disappointed. Set in a side Street, hidden away off a Main Street in Manchester, we are taken to an empty shop building that is being refurbished in to a cake/coffee shop by young baker Penelope Hart played by TLT debutee Jodie Brown and what a debut it was. Jodie brought the character of Penelope alive with her warm approach and confident delivery. In charge of the refurbishment is Joiner Peter Stanford, played by Paul Ward. Wards stage experience shines through and his interpretation was totally believable. It soon becomes apparent that there is a spark between the two characters. Penelope takes on the task of interviewing candidates for the position of shop assistant. This is when we are treated to the comedic talent of Alana Howarth Lees. Alana’s portrayal of dippy Lizzie Grieg was excellent. She had the character just right. Perfect comic timing and delivery without going over the top. A joy to watch. Connor Parkinson played David Fletcher, the estate agent that has let the property to Penelope and then as the story unfolds he becomes the love interest of shop assistant Lizzie. Alex Clarke as Penelope’s ex-boyfriend Michael Parkes, who comes and makes the struggling business a success but nearly at the cost of her blossoming relationship with Peter, completed the line-up of five main actors who complemented the rest of the cast with credible performances. The script called for support artistes to act as labourers and shop customers and these were made up of no less than 17 members of TLT members. One of these include director Ian Taylor’s one year old daughter Tilly. The set was a simplistic box set that started out as a rundown building then transformed before our eyes into a quaint little coffee/cake shop that was quite inviting. Taylor’s experienced direction and an easy to follow plot entertained a near capacity audience who like myself thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Congratulations on an excellent production that had the word teamwork written all over it.




Directed by Jenny Whur, 3rd - 10th December 20111

The standard of this year’s pantomimes has been set with Tyldesley Little Theatres offering of the old time classic – Cinderella, opening the season.

With bright costumes, colourful sets and many additional touches it was clear that a great deal of work had gone into presenting this year’s Panto. Jenny Whur, in her debut at directing Panto did a credible job and the laughter from the audience must have made her breath a huge sigh of relief – it was a success and a great nights entertainment – congratulations! Ian Taylor and Garth Waddup were excellent as the ugly sisters. They never outplayed one another and both soon created a rapport with the audience. Andrea Peters gave us a fine interpretation of Buttons and the audience warmed to her immediately. Shelley Tickle’s Cinderella was played just right and what a voice! The duet, “I Think I Wanna Marry You” with Prince Charming, played with style by Ingrid Folkard-Evans was a delight. I am not a great lover of pop songs in pantomimes, I find it untraditional, but I concede that this one did actually work! Whilst there is not space to mention every member of the cast, each person played their parts well and the sense of team spirit was rife throughout. Panto is all about having fun and enjoying yourself - it was clear that every member of the cast, from the principal roles to the competent chorus of dancers, did this as they all seemed to be having a fantastic time. The packed auditorium were well and truly entertained with this great start to the festive season.




Then There Were None playbill

'And Then There Were none'

Directed by Ian Taylor, 4th-8th October 2011


When you think of nursery rhymes, many things come to mind, but is murder one of them? In TLT’s latest production, murder is definitely in mind as we work our way through a 10-verse nursery rhyme, each verse leading to the death of a guest. The 10 guests are invited to a mansion on the remote Soldier Island, but suspicion arises when the hosts are not there to greet them, leading to the assumption that one of the guests is pretending to be someone else – who could it be? Ian Hunter’s interpretation and depth of character was believable as General Mackenzie in a well-rounded performance. The scenes between Emily Brent, played superbly by Carly Lomax, and Vera Claythorne, played by the excellent Karen Ward, were exceptionally good. They gave the right mix of pathos, suspicion and cynicism and played their parts to perfection. Mike Jeffries’ interpretation of being above suspicion was expertly displayed in his role as Sir Lawrence Wargrave and his unsuspecting twist seemed to pay off until another guest got the better of him, much to his convincing shock. The simple but effective set was used well with particular attention to detail by use of an outer balcony area through patio windows. Ian Taylor’s well considered direction ensured we were taken along with the plausibility of each character and we were kept on the edge of our seats wondering who would be next. His idea to have music playing quietly in the background as each scene came to an end was genius. It gave the audience the signal that the demise of a guest was upon us – the anticipation throughout the audience was more than apparent. All in all, this was an excellent evening’s entertainment and lived up to the standard we have come to expect from this dedicated theatre group.



Come Blow your horn playbill

'Come Blow your Horn'

Directed by Ian Taylor, 16th & 18th – 21st May 2011

This classic sixties play — later turned into a film with Frank Sinatra — tells the story of an “inexperienced” man, who idolises his playboy older brother

. Buddy (played by the excellent Paul Ward) is the hapless lad who decides to leave his parents’ home to live with older sibling, ladies’ man Alan. Sinatra must have had little trouble playing the man about town — and while Alex Clarke is no Ol’ Blue Eyes, he handled the role nicely. Buddy longs to be like his brother — who has a seemingly endless stream of women visiting his New York apartment — but Alan’s life is no bed of roses. A constant disappointment to his father (the superb Bill Rogers) Alan starts to rethink his outlook when the one gal he really does love — Connie, played by the feisty Ingrid Folkard-Evans – leaves him. This is a smart comedy, if perhaps a tad on the long side — am dram groups in general need to be a lot more brutal when cutting down their scripts. Come Blow Your Horn, with a booze-free interval, is a good two-and-a-half hours long. This minor gripe aside, there are nice turns too from the hilarious Joan Rogers as the boys’ mother and the stunning Gill Lingings as “the other woman”, Peggy. Ably directed by Ian Taylor, Come Blow Your Horn is a solid show, still fresh 50 years on from its first performance.




Dead Guilty playbill

'Dead Guilty'

Directed by Paul Ward, 22nd - 26th March 2011

This gripping psychological whodunnit Midsomer Murders-style thriller kept the audience on the edge of their seats until the final scene.

Written by Richard Harris and brilliantly directed by Paul Ward in a style that allowed the tension to build slowly through the first half and suddenly ramp up in the final half hour, everyone was left guessing exactly who the culprit was until one character — I won’t spoil it for you — revealed their true colours.

Karen Ward, as Julia Darrow, has a relentless part to play and does it with no small degree of energy, her character’s physical and mental problems increasing as the production moves on. Joyce Elder is excellent as the grieving Margaret Haddrell, gradually taking over Julia’s life, and planting the question in the latter’s mind: “Does she know I was having an affair with her husband?”

Things start to go missing in the house and odd-job man Gary, well played by Alex Clarke, gets the blame, while counsellor Kaye Taylor (Anne Bennett) makes little progress despite no small degree of persistence.

I’m not going to reveal who did it, but the end will have you spellbound.




Summer End playbill

'Summer End'

Directed by Jenny Whur, 1st - 5th February 2011

A retirement home is not an obvious choice for the setting of a murder mystery, and a comical one at that, but it works! Eric Chappell, probably best known for the TV sitcom Rising Damp, is behind Summer End and it is Tyldesley Little Theatre’s latest offering. It tells the story of cantankerous Emily who believes the death of her former roommate was far from innocent. She points the finger at a host of different suspects, arousing suspicion herself. Will the truth come out? Well one night everything comes to ahead but I won’t spoil what happens. There are plenty of laughs along the way, the audience chuckled along, utterly drawn into the comical tale.

Winnie Beatty was fantastic as Emily, perfectly teamed up with Margaret Speakes, who plays May Brewer, her new roommate. The cast of just five did a superb job, just a couple of first night jitters.

Congratulations to all the behind the scenes team too. Another good show from Tyldesley, touching and funny. Lots of chuckles, you’re guaranteed to go home smiling.





Robinson Crusoe playbill

'Robinson Crusoe'

Directed by Ian Taylor, 4th, 5th, 7th-8th & 10th - 11th December 2010

Panto Fun For All

You know you are within striking distance of Christmas when the children start to get that little bit more unruly and excitable than before. So what better way to channel all that excess exuberance than with an afternoon of pure unadulterated fun including lots of singing and shouting with no-one complaining about the noise?

That is the great thing about panto - you can be as noisy and silly as you want to be - and that includes the adults. This year's fun production from Tyldesley Little Theatre has all the right ingredients for a successful panto, from a hilarious dame in the form of Garth Waddup to the hero (Robinson Crusoe) played in fine style by Ingrid Folkard-Evans. Add to the mix Ian Taylor as the hapless Nutty Nick, Andrea Peters playing the evil pirate Cut-Throat and a very cheery competent chorus of super little dancers and you have got a recipe to be proud of.

Everyone had obviously worked incredibly hard on the production (the set design was great and the costumes first-class) and judging by the roar of approval from the capacity audience at all the right moments the cast would know they had produced something to be proud of. The corny, at times slightly risque, jokes, bright costumes and a great rapport among the cast made sure this was pantomime at its very best. The children thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the production - my nephew Liam was laughing from start to finish - and the adults were equally impressed.


The Odd Couple (female version) playbill

'The Odd Couple' (female version)

Directed by Margaret Speakes, 12th - 16th October 2010

SMASHED crockery is just one result when two opposites become roommates. The Odd Couple follows two friends who end up living together but couldn’t be more different, one is neat and is a worrier and the other is messy and relaxed. It is not a good combination and tensions start to show. Throw in a group of Trivial Pursuit players and two hilarious Spainards and it all comes to a head. My highlight was the flinging of crockery as a stressbuster! And in the end it was good to see both women had learnt something from their opposite number. Overall a great story, which got plenty of laughs from audience.

Tyldesley Little Theatre chose to put on the female version of the play and it worked a treat. The original featured two men becoming roommates, with Tyldesley Little Theatre putting on a male show in 1999. This time it was the women’s turn and Karen Ward, as Olive Madison, and Louise Robinson, playing Florence Unger, were superb. It was a faultless first night performance, you could tell they really knew their lines and characters, it was very impressive. The American accents weren’t bad either. And they were well supported by the other six cast members.

I really enjoyed The Odd Couple and could tell the rest of the audience did too.



Ghost Writer playbill

'Ghost Writer'

Directed by Jenny Whur, 18th - 22nd May 2010

I’m simply not a fan of Am Dram productions – or at least I wasn’t until tonight when six people changed my mind, perhaps forever. Picture the scene. I was slumped at the back of the auditorium, I knew football was on the tele, and I if truth be told, I would rather have been watching it. Then the curtain was raised – and they had me from the start. Tyldesley Little Theatre’s production of Ghost Writer was magnificent; a whodunit performed by a cast of six actors with consummate skill. The plot centres on a writer who is suffering from depression on the year anniversary of his wife’s death. His pal makes jovial attempts to perk him up, but it is the ghost of his former missus who eventually gets under his skin – and sets up what plays out to be a funny, and sometime touching affair. Director Jenny Whur has been devilish in her inclusion of more than a smattering of double entendre - and in some cases pure comedic filth. Many of the risqué elements are a bit too racy for a family publication; but if I were to say superglue, glitter and a man’s unmentionables, you might just get the drift.

This was a production that simply relied on the skills of the cast. There were no gimmicks, just the passion and ability of the six performers. Ian Taylor held things together well as the despairing playwright, Edwards. His leading lady, Ingrid Folkard-Evans was magnificent as the ghost of his dead wife, Ruby, with her well-timed catty putdowns a true highlight. Alex Clark delivered just the right amount of ‘comedy camp’ to play the role of Edward’s gay pal and landlord, Alex, while Rachel Hill, who was making her debut for the TLT as Edward’s new love interest, Glenda, impressed. Tribute must be paid to the ability of the impossibly pompous alcoholic jobbing actor, Hedley, who was played to perfection by Tony Thompson, while Joyce Elder did a solid job in the role of Frances, an apparent cosmetic surgery addict. There are enough twists and turns in this production to keep the audience on their toes. And while the sound of applause rang out at the end, it was the sound of laughter that ruled the evening. Am Dram…twee? Who said that? Certainly not me. This could well be the start of a long-lasting love affair.

Trap for a Lonely Man playbill

‘Trap for a Lonely Man’

Directed by Glenn Robinson, 15th – 17th & 19th – 20th March 2010
DANIEL (Glenn Robinson)
As you mentioned, it is never easy directing yourself in something, especially when the character is onstage the entire time. You did really well in these conditions with such a huge responsibility – as director and actor – and it is to your credit that everything moved well and you did wonder what was happening to Daniel, sharing his frustrations and genuine reason for suspicion, and thinking the odds were really stacked against him.
A solid and consistent performance throughout, nicely laid back and seemingly uninterested in the machinations of the plot when, of course, you were behind it all. You had a genuine Policeman quality about you, which ensured people thought you were the real thing, even if some suspicion might fall upon you… You delivered a good ‘straight’ man to the goings on around you.
THE PRIEST (Ian Taylor)
A nicely judged performance, which started with a totally convincing appearance of the warm, friendly priest, upping the ante when the suspicious behaviour began…a great, consistent and well pitched performance throughout.
THE WOMAN (Joyce Elder)
You made the most of your appearances, and were convincing as both the distressed wife, and the manipulator of the plot…a good performance…
THE TRAMP (Ken Berry)
…conveyed the tramp like qualities and made the most of your scene, bringing some humour to the situation.
THE NURSE (Kaye Taylor)
A strong cameo, and two really nice appearances made this role both memorable and believable. There was a nice shift in the second appearance, as a really convincing ‘money grabbing’ character was seen…. You have a good clear voice, and a confident stage presence, which really brought this character to life, and gave a new energy and impetus to these scenes. Well done.
A good effort by all concerned, not least the hard working director. This had many positive things about it – from well-stage scenes to nicely judged performances – and a real degree of commitment and conviction from the actors.

A missing wife, a suspicious imposter and a man pushed to the brink of insanity - the ingredients of Tyldesley Little Theatre’s latest production have all the hallmarks of the tensest of thrillers. When Daniel Corban’s new wife vanishes just days after the couple arrive at a chalet in the French Alps, the police fear the worst. When a woman claiming to be Mrs Corban appears it seems their fears are unfounded - but when Daniel claims he has never met the woman before the stage is set for a twisty plot that keeps the audience guessing until the very last moment. Some of the plot devices are a little contrived, requiring a bulldozer attitude to push through, and first night nerves stopped the cast carrying them off as confidently as they otherwise might. Nevertheless the six-strong cast certainly won the audience’s approval. Alex Clarke stood out as the police inspector whose apparent faith in Corban’s version of events keeps the poor man hoping until the very end, while Joyce Elder is suitably scheming as the so-called “Mrs Corban”. Ian Taylor is grave as the priest who seeks to reunite the couple, while Ken Berry adds a touch of comedy as the tramp and Kaye Taylor has a small but important role as the nurse who, having seen the real Mrs Corban when she was sick, could shed some light on the whole matter. Glenn Robinson, who directed the play, could benefit from toning his performance down a little – James Stewart in Vertigo should spring to mind, rather than his occasionally cartoonish Daniel Corban – but as a last-minute stand-in he manages admirably.

Ladies' Day playbill

‘Ladies' Day’

Directed by Ian Taylor, 26th - 30th January 2010
Before I comment on individual performances, I would like to say something about the 4 ladies themselves. I thought you worked brilliantly together. Your obvious trust and enjoyment in each other’s company came across superbly, and you had a natural rapport, which made it really feel as if you knew these characters, and cared for them as people. It was also good to hear such clear diction, and different tones and infections, so each character was unique, but blended into a believable and cohesive quartet. Well done.
PEARL (Joan Rogers)
An experienced and obviously gifted actor, you have a real warmth and naturally expressive tone, which really brought this character to life. I liked your reactions to people saying you were retiring in the first scene and your revelations to Jan in Act 1 Scene 5, which were sincere, real and heartfelt.
JAN (Louise Robinson)
The over-caring mum who has a secret crush on the supervisor, you played this really well in the opening scene, and the constant ‘what did you have for your tea?’ lines were a delight throughout. Your reactions to being at Ascot were real and genuine, and, even if your bag wasn’t as full as it might have been, you were a real ‘mum’ providing sustenance to the other ladies… this was another strong performance, and the final scene with Joe and the girls back at the factory was a delight.
LINDA (Andrea Peters)
This was a superbly judged, natural and well-timed performance, with a real emotional kick, and loads of great humour. Your Tony Christie obsession was lovely, and the (supposed) lack of intelligence in the character wasn’t overdone or unkind. This was a real person, struggling with a real problem (her mother), and being slightly out of her depth in a fast-paced world. I loved your reactions throughout, and your down-to-earth and honest reactions to what was happening around you. Your scene with Patrick and obvious thrill at being ‘chatted up’ by him, was another delight. The whole build up to finding out about your mum was thoughtfully paced and sensitively explored, and this was one character you really wanted to see in a better place, and always happy. Well done on a memorable, genuinely funny, and beautifully touching performance of a lovely character.
SHELLEY (Karen Ward)
Another fine actor, you totally made this part your own, and dominated (in the right way) your scenes with your energy, forthright language, and expressive views. As a catalyst for some of the conflict in the play (buying champagne, goading Linda, pretending to be someone she isn’t to Jim), you made the most of all these moments, without overdoing it. In other words, Shelley was a real believable character despite her sometimes exaggerated and overblown behaviour. From the opening scene, you made your mark, and, as the play progressed – from insisting on the champagne, to flirting with Jim, to your obviously genuine affection for the other ladies – gave a full-on and honest performance. Shelley is obviously someone who uses her body to get what she wants and, again, you had the confidence and attitude to show this. Great stuff.
A nice variety of roles to get your teeth (and accents) into, I thought you did really well to make each one different and memorable. Joe was solid and relaxed, seemingly a genuinely good and friendly guy; Patrick had the right attitude and accent, and you delivered the opening Act 2 speech, as well as your ‘triumphant win’ speech with good shifts in tone and pace… Kevin was a very nicely judged drunk, with a good appearance and great movement.
FRED/JIM/BARRY (Glenn Robinson)
Your appearance as the tout from the audience was unexpected, but memorable, and you made the most of this small role. Jim was a great role – a little bit smarmy and over-confident, but a smooth and assured tone of voice really captured the TV commentator, and you did wonders with the Tic-Tac scene.
The Director (Ian Taylor)
From the moment the strains of The Enemy’s ‘We’ll Live and Die In These Towns’ kicked in, I knew this was going to be a well thought out and carefully directed production, and I wasn’t wrong. The opening scene was a joy, as each character had their own set movement, and you really got the feeling of a monotonous and unrewarding factory line of fish filleting! Once the dialogue kicked in, it was obvious that a great deal of work had been done on characters, and each soon came into their own. It’s there in the writing, of course, each woman having her own voice, personality and quirks, but it was great to see the director and the actors had worked so hard – and to the good - in bringing individual tones, mannerisms, inflections, etc to the fore.

Posh frocks and fancy hats are the order of the day for Tyldesley Little Theatre’s latest production. The story centres around four friends who work in a fish plant in Hull, who find tickets to Royal Ascot at York. As the champagne flows and the horses keep winning, we start wondering how long their luck can hold out. Karen Ward is a hoot as the crass, fame-obsessed Shelley, whose heart of gold and misplaced pride almost lead to her ruin. In contrast, Andrea Peters plays quiet, downtrodden Tony Christie-loving Linda. Her performance was touching in its simplicity. Joan Rogers was marvellous as the older, wiser Pearl who is hiding a huge secret that inevitably spills out. And mothers everywhere could sympathise with Louise Robinson’s portrayal of Jan, the single mum who had dedicated her life to her daughter, and was at a loss now university meant she had her life back. Glenn Robinson sported an array of odd wigs and hats as Fred, the creepy racing commentator Jim and the mysterious Barry. As the villain of the piece, his portrayal of Jim turned the stomach a little bit - just as it should. Bill Rogers also took on three roles - his Irish jockey Patrick was probably the most likeable, but it was definitely the drunkard Kevin, who had lost his money, his wife and his sense of personal hygiene, that got the biggest cheer. Although parts of the plot might be somewhat predictable, you still can’t help being pulled along with the characters on their rollercoaster . . . and crossing your fingers for them on that last race.
Sleeping Beauty playbill

‘Sleeping Beauty’

Directed by Ian Taylor, 28th November – 5th December 2009
This was an entertaining evening, lots of comedy, silly business and some good performances. Congratulations to all the cast and I assure you that all your hard work was fully appreciated by your audiences.
King & Queen (Ian Hunter & Winnie Beatty)
These characters were very much a twosome…played very straight.
Princess Rose (Shelley Tickle)
Well done Shelley you grew from 12 years of age to 18 without any difficulties. Your line delivery was very clear and well paced…your costumes were excellent and you should be proud of your achievement.
Nurse Dottie Dettol (Ian Taylor)
Well done Ian this was how a Dame should be played. Only slightly camp but very believable. You sometimes reminded me of John Inman with your slightly falsetto voice and your asides.
Muddles (Alex Clarke)
For a first pantomime this was a very good performance… ten out of 10 for learning those songs for the song sheet.
Prince Alexander/Alexis (Michael Joseph)
Michael played two princes and quite rightly tried to give each one their own character…movement around the stage was generally good.
Fetch & Carrie (Denis Beardsworth & Hannah Speakes)
Another two that should be played as a team; the straight man and the comic…comfortable in the schoolroom scene.
Good Fairy Lilac (Joyce Elder)
An excellent performance from this lovely actress. Her two costumes were perfect with everything from tiara, glitter handbag and shoes. Joyce has a very melodic singing voice and her scenes with Witch Hazel were ‘spot on’…you were delightful.
Bad Witch Hazel (Ingrid Folkard-Evans)
Another sterling performance from this award winning actress. Ingrid really commands the stage, she has excellent stage presence and awareness. She slips into the role of the villain with ease, but I am sure that she is really a very nice person.
Pointy-Headed Knight (Lisa Taylor)
The ‘He’s behind you’ business was fine with ‘Who’s afraid of the pointy headed knight’ replacing bad wolf.
Rainbow Fairies (Roma Etherington, Jack Bigland, Lisa Taylor, Kaye Taylor)
Their costumes and illuminated wings were humorous…’Oh it’s Magic’ was well performed by Fairy Lilac and the 4 Fairies.

First Panto of the Season is a Cracker

It was our first panto of the season and you would struggle to find such an expertly put together amateur production as this. My nephew Liam, and I, declared this the best pantomime we had seen in ages and believe me 10-year-old Liam is an expert on matters of slapstick, jokes and sing-alongs. Lines were delivered without falter, songs sung with gusto and the audience responded with bags of enthusiasm.

This was Alan P Frayn’s adaptation of the famous fairy tale which tells of a beautiful princess who is cursed by an evil witch — played to perfection by Ingrid Folkard-Evans. Thankfully good Fairy Lilac (Joyce Elder) was on hand to ensure there could be a happy ending. Some of the most captivating moments came when Joyce and Ingrid faced each other and delivered — with beautiful singing voices — witty exchanges.

Ian Taylor was wonderful as the obligatory dame — this one was called Nurse Dottie Dettol — and when he picked a member of the audience to be the object of his affection it was pure comic genius.

The rainbow fairies were lovely and Shelley Tickle made a very pretty Princess Rose. Alex Clarke did his job perfectly and had the children cheering, shouting and singing in his role as Muddles, the palace handyman.

Sadly on the afternoon we went the theatre wasn’t full. Make sure you book your tickets and get down there. You won’t be disappointed.

Good Old Summertime playbill

‘Good Old Summertime’

Directed by Roma Etherington, 29th September – 3rd October 2009

Mrs Austin (Winnie Beatty)
Came into her own during the serving of high tea, solely for the benefit of Mr Dinwiddy, whom she brought to life, throughout, so vividly and believably and during her hypnotic trance, when the contrast between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ Mrs Austin was characterized with panache!
Florrie (Kaye Taylor)
Dialogue was faultlessly audible, accompanied by varied facial expressions, uninhibited mobility, and an adept handling of props, with the exception of the flit spray which, due to her indiscriminate use, showered the first two rows of the audience!
Professor Smith (Tony Thompson)
A well conceived and conveyed ‘con’, with an appropriate exaggerated articulation.
Mario (Alex Clarke)
An indisputable Spanish accent which was sustained throughout its faultless delivery, was accompanied by apparent well timed entrances and exits, uninhibited mobility, and an adept handling of props and the ladies!
Henry Pepper (Ian Taylor)
A well conceived and conveyed gauche, naïve, devoted husband and father reminiscent of the lovable character ‘Frank Spencer’ created by Michael Crawford, yet this actor had wisely avoided any such comparison by creating a character of his own, yet embracing all the previously alluded to attributes.
Daphne Pepper (Louise Robinson)
Compliments to this actress for not creating a prototype of ‘Betty’, but a believable characterisation of her own…especially during the romantic interlude with Mario whilst wearing a swimsuit, with an adept handling of props and her husband!
Wilf & Ethel Pearson (Ian Hunter & Jenny Whur)
An extremely well conceived and conveyed married couple, complementing each other perfectly…Particularly noticeable throughout was Ethel’s selfless feeding of the ‘straight’ lines to maximize audience response to Wilf’s one liners, which were timed to perfection.
Sally Pearson (Hannah Bloor)
Despite her three fleeting appearances, that fleetingly she never had time to sit before she was off again, she managed to convey her disappointment at (her fiancee’s) latest posting…loved her final appearance when she visibly changed mood to one of elation at the news of Ted acquiring married quarters, uninhibitedly reciprocating her father’s embrace, and a beautifully timed turn on her exit to smile her thanks.
Director (Roma Etherington)
What a challenging play for a first-time director, yet on the whole it had been well conceived with its believable characterizations, imaginative set and well rehearsed business.

‘Good Old Summertime’ is a comical tale of capers by the seaside which is well acted by the nine-strong cast. The action takes place over four days at the Bella Vista guest house. Battleaxe landlady Mrs Austin has recently taken over and is desperate to impress an inspector who is due to visit to get on the recommended accommodation list. Two couples, the Peppers and the Pearsons, who previously experienced her strict rules at her last guest house, arrive and are devastated to discover that she is in charge. But they decide to stay after she persuades them things will be different this time – with hilarious consequences.

Every member of the cast impressed but Winnie Beatty was particularly good as the domineering Mrs Austin. Kaye Taylor was hilarious as the maid, Florrie, and Alex Clarke, provided plenty of funny moments as Spanish waiter Mario. Ian Taylor played bumbling Henry Pepper to perfection, complimented by Louise Robinson who played his wife Daphne — a job well done. Ian Hunter delivered some brilliant lines as dry-humoured Wilf Pearson and Jenny Whur was good as Ethel Pearson. Rising star Hannah Bloor did well as Sally Pearson and Tony Thompson played a great Professor Smith. A lot of hard work and enthusiasm has clearly gone into the production.

The show runs until Saturday. I recommend you to go along and have a good laugh.

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