|Mrs Jenkins||Jane Charman|
|Miss Watson||Yvonne Featherstone|
|The Company||Amy Richardson
|Cry me a river (Arthur Hamilton)||Amy|
|Talking Heads (Angela Richardson)||Yvonne|
|As You Like It (William Shakespeare)||Amy|
|Mad about the Boy (Noel Coward)||Joan|
|Bloody Men (Wendy Cope)||Doris|
|It had to be You (Peter Spence)||Amy|
|Big Bottom Blues (Peter Spence)||Amy|
|The Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller)||Joan|
|Mad about the Boy (Noel Coward)||Amy|
|Gonna Wash that Man (Rodgers and Hammerstein)||Company|
|The Taming of the Shrew (William Shakespeare)||Amy|
|Producer & Stage Manager||Natasha Figg|
|Box Office||Marilyn and David Runnalls|
|Publicity||Jane and Jim Charman, Eric Howker|
|Posters & programmes||Martin Pratt|
|Front of House||Eileen Saunders|
From the Dorking Advertiser, 7th August 2003:-
Ockley Dramatic Society’s MUCH ADO ABOUT WOMAN…or was it really about men?
This production had an all-female cast with a minimal set. If the problem was the absence of men, the ladies seized the opportunity to talk about them, mock them, criticize them, appreciate them and even sing their praises.
The first half consisted of a gentle comedy, set in a garden of rest. No "Carry On" belly laughs here but a really enjoyable sit-com.
Jane Charman portrayed a working-class widow who, between sessions of haranguing her late husband for the faults she is not missing, munches (bananas, crisps and sandwiches), sips (whisky-fortified) coffee and knits her way through the whole forty-five minutes ("Garden of rest? That’s what I’m doing, resting!"). Yvonne Featherstone’s sober spinster, who unwittingly partakes of the laced coffee, was delightfully handled, especially in the gradual transformation to merriment. The contrasting loudness (in every sense) of the Walkman-playing, broom-toting, boss-idolising, unstoppable Sonia ("They like to call everybody here a technician") was provided by Jo Atkins. If the action of the whole was ever so slightly slow, I was still left begging for more of these well-drawn characters.
The revue, "Much Ado About Woman", was the brainchild of Amy Richardson, who designed and directed the second half. She and Joan Haynes provided the solos ("Cry Me a River" and "Mad About the Boy") with the troupe "Wash[ing] That Man Right out of [their] Hair".
A specially written monologue for Yvonne Featherstone (Alan Bennett, eat your heart out!) described the course of her marriage as reviewed on her thirty-ninth wedding anniversary (four years after her husband’s death, a fact cleverly concealed until the end), Nikki Parker raised laughs with her series of Mae West one-liners between the acts ("Bigamy is having one husband too many. Monogamy is the same") and Soliloquies about men were provided from "Death of a Salesman" and Shakespeare’s "As You Like It" and "The Taming of the Shrew".
Black eveningwear for everyone, a bare set and intelligent lighting enhanced the sophistication.
The Society are struggling to find actors, especially males and youngsters, and those who can help with set construction. Their difficulties had necessitated moving this production from May to July and this was reflected in the low turnout. But those who sacrificed a warm summer evening were well rewarded.
I hope that those who saw and enjoyed will spread the word.