TLT TRivia

There are so many 'TRIVIA' books, quizes, tv and radio programmes. Every society has a wealth of facts, figures, anecdotes etc. Some hugely interesting, some truly fascinating, too many..... dull and boring. Over the past few years we have collected various facts about the society and it's members and published these in our production programmes. We hope that you don't find them too boring!!!

The Odd Couple

- Odd Trivia

Tyldesley Little Theatre first presented the male version of ‘The Odd Couple’ in 1999 – coincidentally, it was the first thing that the director had directed for three theatre seasons, whilst this production sees Margaret Speakes direct a full length play for the first time in…three theatre seasons! The original cast list is shown below:
The Odd Couple by Neil Simon
 Directed by Ian Taylor 18th – 22nd May 1999

  Speed - Ken Berry
  Murray - David Hadcroft
  Roy - Tony Thompson
  Vinnie - Ian Taylor
  Oscar Madison - Denis Beardsworth
  Felix Ungar - Mike Rimmer
  Gwendolyn Pigeon - Julia Houghton
  Cecily Pigeon - Karen Seddon
The only cast member to appear in both versions, therefore, is Karen Ward (having got married somewhere in between, hence the name change!) who previously played the supporting role of Cecily Pigeon. In this production, Karen takes on the principal role of Olive Madison, the re-gendered role originally played by Denis Beardsworth.

- Trivial Trivia

In the original version of ‘The Odd Couple’, Neil Simon had his title characters and their buddies play poker on a regular basis. The female make-over has changed the game to Trivial Pursuit. Here are some facts about this particularly popular past-time:

Ladies' Day

Joan Rogers made her first reappearance at TLT in the one act play ‘The Dear Departed’ in June 2008. Her last role prior to that was as Griselda in Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder at the Vicarage’ in June 1977 - an amazing 31 years between appearances! However, the most impressively coincidental aspect of Joan’s involvement in this production is that it is the play immediately preceding a TLT production of the thriller ‘Trap for a Lonely Man’. Despite only making a handful of appearances over several decades, in October 1976, Joan appeared in ‘Cock-a-Doodle-Doo’ - which was the play immediately preceding a TLT production of the thriller ‘Trap for a Lonely Man’!

On the opening night of this production, ‘Ladies’ Day’, other intrepid theatre members were making TLT history by performing the hilarious one act comedy ‘Last Tango in Little Grimley’. This was the first time that two completely different TLT productions had been performed on the very same day (indeed, at the very same time!). The play, written by David Tristram, was for the Rotary Club of Tyldesley at the Jubilee Halls, Atherton, and featured the acting talents of TLT regulars Ian Hunter, Ken Berry, Roma Etherington and Kaye Taylor. The show made more history for other reasons. This was the first time that a TLT show had boasted the efforts of what was effectively a gathering of four separate directors, as the cast took care of this side of the production themselves. In addition, a second performance of the show occurred just over a week later, on Friday 5th February 2010 and was a charity fund-raiser for St. Phillip’s Church, Atherton.

Although other shows have been performed at venues other than TLT’s home, this was the first time that one show had effectively gone ‘on tour’, exactly the same show, cast and crew performing at more than one venue. On closer inspection, however, we shouldn’t be surpised. This play has ‘previous’ for breaking new ground! The same script was performed three times between June 2004 and February 2005. However, despite having the same cast throughout and the same director for most of the run, the show’s format changed slightly each time. Its first appearance was as part of the ‘2004 Mixed Grill’ variety show directed by Ian Taylor, but with Lisa Taylor taking on the directorial reins for the Tristram comedy. Roughly a month later, Lisa took the show to the ‘Partington Players One Act Play Festival’ in Glossop where it became the first TLT show to win an award in such an event – Winnie Evans picking up a Best Actress gong for her portrayal of Joyce. The third performance came in early 2005 as part of ‘An Evening with Tyldesley little Theatre’, a considerably streamlined version of the ‘2004 Mixed Grill’, performed as a charity fundraiser and overseen by Mike Jeffries.

These three presentations ensured a place in the TLT history books for being the quickest and most consistent revival of a play in the theatre’s history. It is certainly now our most performed production – and in the most venues, too! Five individual performance blocks at five different venues! Finally, this being a David Tristram script that will have been performed in the 2009/2010 season, alongside the May production of Tristram’s ‘Ghost Writer’ and the appearance of the same writer’s ‘What’s for Pudding’ in ‘Another Evening of One Act Plays’ in June, David Tristram becomes the playwright used most often in any one TLT season, beating even the John Godber frenzy of the early 1990s!

Pantomime Trivia

These shows arguably involve more hard work and involve more people than any other production. Here are a few TLT Panto statistics:

- Pantomime Revivals and Sleeping Beauty (2009)

Here at Lemon Street, it’s a reasonably well known source of amusement for Margaret Speakes to ask why we’re resurrecting a play from the theatre’s past only to be told, “Well, it was 23 years ago when we last did it!”. We then all solemnly consider how fast the years are going by! It’s actually quite nice to resurrect a production that we have done before, sometimes before any of the current existing membership were even part of the society. It is a lovely link to the rich heritage of our society, a tremendous feeling of walking in the footsteps of those that have gone before. It also enables us to bring grand old material to a new and unsuspecting public who will enjoy the show as if the ink was still fresh on the script. We have often proved that quality does not fade and, in recent years, we have won awards for our revivals. Such successes include the Lancashire farce ‘Sky’s the Limit’, originally premiered by our very own society in 1957, the very similar ‘The Love Match’, first played here in the 1960s and the more contemporary one act play ‘Last Tango in Little Grimley’ which won Winnie Evans an acting award the second time she starred in it.

Pantomimes have also been revived at TLT. However, in 22 productions, a surprisingly small number of titles have been revived. There are so many titles out there that we’re never short of a story and, let’s be honest, as long as we’ve got a villain, a fairy, a Dame and a few ‘Oh no your not’s..’ in there, nobody is too bothered about the deeper subtext! Before 'Sleeping Beauty', only one title has been used more than once and that is ‘Cinderella’. Pam Hadcroft directed both of these, one in 1989 and the second in 1995. There was a reason for this. The first version had been written by one of our members at that time, one Brian Lee. It is a tougher task than one might expect to successfully create your own panto and discussions between Brian and Pam were long and numerous. Many pages of the panto ended up going unused and, whilst what was left was a fast-moving and colourful show which proved reasonably successful, it is probably fair to say that it was not perfect in the eyes of either writer or director. Brian wrote other more political scripts and eventually left the society. Pam continued directing pantomimes and, once happy that she had honed her skills, returned to the much-loved tale in 1995. The second version was also fast-moving and colourful, but was a professionally written script that featured crucial supporting characters like Dandini, who had not been in our first version. Pam was happy and audiences were delighted. The 1995 version became known as the definitive version.

Ian Taylor, has directed 10 pantomimes for TLT and has always preferred to use a fresh title – often traditional names such as ‘Snow White’ or ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ which had been put aside previously because of technical challenges, sometimes more unusual titles such as ‘Sinbad’ or ‘Red Riding Hood’. So, why did Ian decide to resurrect ‘Sleeping Beauty’? Firstly, the original TLT version appeared in 1990 and was directed by Colin Grime at the end of a successful directorial career. However, it was probably Colin’s least successful production because of the physical demands of directing panto. Also, there were some casting issues, with the role of the Prince being finally filled by one Kieran Huscroft with little more than a week of rehearsals left! A decision had also been made to cast a lot of new and very young faces and relegate the most experienced society members to the ranks of the chorus. Although, again, the show was a success, it was not what might be considered a definitive version. From the present production's cast. only Ian Taylor and Ingrid Folkard-Evans remain, Ingrid swapping from good to evil – last time she played the Fairy, this time the Witch – and Ian rising from the ranks, having gone from playing a Chamberlain in 1990 to the Dame in 2009. Even as a member of the previous cast, Ian felt that the 1990 version could be improved and, when he was presented with a new version written by the talented Alan P Frayn (writer of the past two TLT pantos), Ian decided that now was the time to do it for real.

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