One act one night- the big review by Lynda

We asked our very own Lynda Shelverton to give us an unbiased view of the goings on on last Friday night – this is what she said !!

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‘On Friday I went along to Water Lane Theatre Company’s  in house event of One Act One Night. The programme started with a very funny 5 handed sketch called Nickers. The old adage of,  if you fail to plan then you will plan to fail, proved to be very true when one hapless burglar finds that she is not the only one to have the idea of targeting this particular  household to rob. The sketch was very funny and very imaginatively directed with action tacking place  from the start set amongst the audience. 
The next act was  a short piece from the stage play of Dangerous Liaisons. The actors had learnt their lines independently and were only going to be performing together for the first time that evening. The characters of the sketch the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Vamont who are two rivals (and ex lovers) are meeting  up to vie with each other in their plans to exploit others with each trying get the upper hand with each other, was very expertly performed by the two actors. They really brought across the story of the use of seduction as a weapon to socially control others , would ultimately bring them to a state of war with each other.
The evening continued  with a musical interlude, a  couple of  Shakespeare’s sonnets were beautifully sung by Sean Burke accompanying himself on the Guitar.
Then came the final offering of the evening. The  greatly missed Victoria Wood’s wonderful set of sketches that she wrote for her show “As seen on TV   (1985) . Acorn Antiques, the well known story set in a shop in the made up town of Manchesterford. The cast brilliantly brought to the stage these wonderful sketches both in characterisation , bad acting , set malfunctions, poor entrance timings  and all the other wonderfully devised mistakes that Ms Wood had brilliantly written.
Well done to all. At the evenings end I went away feeling very happy and very thankful that as a member of this wonderful company I was able to, for one night only, be thoroughly entertained.’



There is a new shop opening this Friday in the heart of Bishops Stortford and its called ……. Acorn Antiques!


Still glowing from the success of their original antiques shop, on the outskirts of Manchesterford, the owners of Acorn Antiques are excited to announce that they, along with their trusty staff and customers will be opening a very special new ‘pop up shop’ in Bishops Stortford, ’if you please’ this Friday evening – to a glittering fanfare for local residents!

Miss Babs, Miss Berta, their loyal daily Mrs Overall, Derek the handyman, Trixie from packing, and not forgetting the debonair Clifford and smooth talking cousin Jerez, will be there to meet and greet you, along with a lovely presenter, covering the nights events for the regional BBC news desk, a couple of their most loyal customers and……. well a rather harassed stage manager too?!

So settle in with a mug of their finest homemade sherry and a couple of Mrs O’s ginger bourbons and enjoy hearing all of their exciting news and views, not to mention what’s in the latest deliverers and who’s finally made it to the ‘ends of line’ display!

Searching out that ‘must have’ treasure will never be the same again once you have popped in to Acorn Antiques.

In case you hadn’t guessed  – Acorn Antiques is going to be perform as part of our Our One Act One Night evening on this Friday 28th September at St Michael’s Primary School Apton Road – you can come along and pay £5 on the door – curtain up 7.30 – bring your own refreshments.


Dangerous Liaisons – more dangerous than normal

Our One Act One Night evening is coming on the Friday 28th September at St Michael’s Primary School – you can come along and pay on the door.

Our second offering of the night is going to be two scenes from Dangerous Liaisons written by Christopher Hampton.

The reason for the added danger is that, unusually, Richard Pink and Rebecca Faulkner (who normally perform as singing duo ‘Cider At Yours’) have elected to perform the piece without rehearsing it at all!2FF1E819-E48C-4B9A-8DF0-F3FF873AC97D

Sounds like madness, so we asked Richard why …

‘Its a really edgy piece about a power struggle between two very Machiavellian and ruthless people – former lovers – who use every means necessary prove their authority – it’s intense and we thought it would add another layer of intensity if we didn’t know what each other were going to do on the night. We’ve met once to run the lines to get used to hearing each other speak the cues but none of the moves are planned and anything could happen’

Rebecca added ‘ I’ve got one or two interesting moved up my sleeve that Richard will have to contend with – it’s going to be really interesting and if it goes wrong we’ll just have dig ourselves out of it’

Well, its different thats for sure – we can’t wait to see what they do !!!



Nickers !

Our One Act One Night evening is coming on the Friday 28th September at St Michael’s Primary Schools – you can come along and pay on the door.  We like people to try out new things and so Sally Fenton has decide to try her hand directing for the first time in a while – good for her we say – here are her thoughts on getting back in the Director’s chair!!

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Here’s our Sally in full flow in our production of Love’s Labours Lost last year – lets hope she looks less worried for this one !

When I agreed (i.e. had my arm twisted 😉) to direct something for One Act One Night, I did so with some trepidation because I didn’t have a play in mind and I haven’t directed anything since 1999!

Fortunately, the experienced directors at Water Lane pointed me to the Lazy Bee website which has hundreds of play scripts available for use by amateur groups. For my new foray into directing, I was keen to do a comedy and to have a relatively small cast and so, after reading through more than 20 scripts, I picked Nickers.

Nickers is about four, rather incompetent burglars (the eponymous ‘nickers’). It’s not Ayckbourn but the script is witty, with well written dialogue and the four main cast members can be male or female – useful when casting.

So, my first hurdle is solved – I have a play; now to direct it successfully! You’ll have to ask me in a few weeks about my directing style! But I know I’ll be helped in this new adventure by my excellent & supportive cast (Nicki, Rachel, Penny, Amanda & John). I hope we all enjoy the journey – and I hope our audience enjoys the outcome!


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Theatre in the Fields – or the Dragon Strikes Back!




Following our Carnival performance of the Brent Pelham Dragon. We were invited to perform at the Theatre in the Fields Festival in Furneux Pelham.

This was a brand new Theatre Festival based at Brook Cottage Farm in the fields of Furneux Pelham aiming to bring a full day of theatre in all shapes and sizes!​

The team behind it was The Big Room Theatre Company, comprising of Artistic Director Lee Dillon-Stuart (Actor|Director), Creative Director Hester Tingey (Writer|Actor), Creative Director Tabitha Tingey (Actor|Certified Yoga Instructor) and Chloe Tingey (Musician|Digital Marketing Consultant) who joined forces with Brook Cottage Farm’s Louise & Russell Seddon (Proprietors) and Caroline Noble (Events Organiser) .

It was designed to be a magical day out, chock-a-block full of amazing shows, food, yoga, creative activities, weird and wonderful performances and general festival cheer, deep in the Hertfordshire countryside.

Facilities included :-

BAE’s Barn Theatre: The Main Stage, a beautiful newly-built 80-seat venue. Produced theatre in its fullest form. Plus some Edinburgh Fringe previews and stand-up Comedy.

Black Box Barn: A 50-seat venue in the hay bale barn. A chance to see some new work, cabaret, spoken word, one woman/one man shows, children’s entertainment.

The Yoga Tent: Yoga and mindfulness to get you in your creative flow.

The Colts’ Paddock: Interactive kids’ theatre, acting workshops, storytelling, clowning workshops, improvisation

Some of the events in the programme were:-

Stageys in the Stixxm – A brand new cabaret created for Theatre in the Fields, starring Performers from Broadway and London’s West End!

Angela Barnes – BBC New Comedy Award winner, ANGELA BARNES performed  a work-in-progress of her brand-new hour of jokes!

BUMP! A fast-paced, highly physical new play.

How to Cope with Embarrassment ​Two Pale Ladies, and their new pale mate (Ben Hudson; Splutter Theatre) presented How to Cope with Embarrassment, an irreverent showcase of what makes us tick, blush, cringe and silently scream.

Did it Hurt?​  Two strangers share a room. Once inside, they cannot leave.

Abigail Carter-SimpsonStand up comedienne, bringing along her singing and mediocre ukulele playing for moral support!

Games and After Liverpool​  Two 30 minute absurd, comic plays, which run back to back.

The Art of Skipping ​ Brand new mysterious and mystical musical.

DICK!  ​Richard ‘Dick’ Head – world renowned comedian, bingo-caller extraordinaire and National Geographic’s Moustache of the Year!

The Turn of the Screw A night of spine-chilling horror in Henry James’ classic ghost story.

Burning Tails  Burning Tails is a one-man tragicomedy piece following a series of heart breaking events within a fox’s romantic life

Three Menopausal Maids – Three Menopausal Maids are hot and guaranteed to tickle your Tena Ladies and Starring our own Linda Shelverton.

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It was good to see some of Water Lane’s members involved as directors and actors.

Well done Cat Quigley, Becky Faulkner, Linda Shelverton, Amanda Green, Jacqui Kinnison, Sam Soames, Nicki Maguire, Ben Maclean, Sally Fenton, John and Pam Johnson-Cook, Les and Carys Sullivan and the children Imogen, Izzy and Mags.

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We performed the Brent Pelham Dragon twice at 1.00pm and 3.00pm in the outdoor Haybale arena in lovely sunshine but battling a very blustery wind which was playing havoc with the various tents and gazebos. We received some kind and enthusiastic comments afterwards and met up with a gentleman who was writing a book about Piers Shonks, our hero, and who was keen to stay in touch.

In all the day turned out to be  a great success and the varied and high quality programme was a tribute to the organisers and performers .Hopefully this stimulating Festival will become an annual event. Improvements in advertising and signage to the venue should increase visitor numbers and I hope that Water Lane will be able to perform at the Festival again.

John Johnson-Cook , Director: The Brent Pelham Dragon

The thoughts of our new Chairman – Mr Granville Rush

The thoughts of Chairman Moi

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I always thought of myself as someone who quietly gets things done in the background, which I started doing with Water Lane Theatre Company thirty-something years ago when a certain dental practitioner roped me in to helping out backstage with the set and promotional artwork. All of a sudden, I found myself centre stage under the spotlight as the Wizard of Oz. I’m still not quite sure how that happened, and I haven’t been able to get off the stage since! I find myself in a similar situation now. There I was, minding my own business, when the “un-namely” nominated me to become Chairman at the AGM. So here I am again, centre stage, and a bit bemused as to how it happened.

All joking aside, I’m honoured to be fulfilling this post, and to have been asked. Water Lane is so much more than a local am-dram group. Fast  approaching 70 years since the group was founded, Water Lane is a staple in the community. Third generation members are on the scene, and lifelong friendships have been made. There are no prima donnas here. Members get the opportunity to challenge and express themselves, try something new and have a lot of laughs along the way. We aren’t one trick ponies either; from punk Shakespeare and period dramas, to comedy nights, 70’s nostalgia and murder mysteries. There really is something for everyone.

The outgoing Chairman (the previously mentioned dentist, now x) achieved great things in the last three years, so I’ve got a big cavity to fill. However, In the same way when directing, the secret of a successful show is to have a strong cast. Where the chair is concerned it is a strong committee. Fortunately for “Moi” there could not be a better dedicated committee in place to help with an exciting line up of productions in the coming months. That’s what I’m looking forward to most, heading up the team and putting on high-quality, diverse productions. Summer picnic plays, studio productions and big show stoppers, not to mention street theatre, drama festivals and our regular ‘One Act, One Night’ performances. As always, we will have plenty of socials, playreadings and quizzes, and everyone will have a chance to muck in.

Of all the roles I’ve been roped into over the years, I’m really proud to be cast as the latest in a long line of distinguished Water Lane Chairmen, and I hope that I am worthy of the job. A daunting one, but as Dorothy said “All you have to do, Toto, is click your heels together and you are on your way.”

Granville Rush – Chairman – Water Lane Theatre Company