John Wetherall

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It is with great sadness that we have to tell you that John Wetherall passed away last week.
He had been seriously ill for quite some time, and for him a release, but doesn’t make the loss any easier

John was a founder member of Water Lane and played the lead in many of the early productions

His stage presence was second to none, and he was equally happy in roles involving many different moods and characterisations
He moved to The Hadham Players but we still kept in close contact, and John was guest speaker at out 60th Anniversary Dinner at Great Hadham Golf Club
His last role was the photographer in When We Are Married for The Hertford Players, to which he brought comedy and pathos. Also in the cast was Andy Roberts as one of the hapless husbands and whom we welcomed for his enthusiasm and commitment.
John will long be remembered for his Dames. The Little Hadham Pantomimes were brought alive by his characterisation, timing and wit.
John also had a series of monologue cameos, the most famous one being his Uncle Charlie with a string of hilarious one liners and jokey tales. Forever in memory the picture of Uncle Charlie riding on his bicycle, down hill, with a grandfather clock strapped to his back taking it to be repaired. He fell off and a bystander was heard to remark (in Johns lovely “farmer Giles” accent) “why don’t ‘e wear a wrist watch like any other sensible bloke?” There is another one about a squirrel but maybe not for now!!

There is so much more to John’s life, but as Water Lane, we wanted to pay tribute to our common love, the theatre, the “smell of the grease paint, the roar of the crowd!!!
God bless John. Sock it to them on the great big stage in the sky

Funeral arrangements: Tuesday August 28th at 12 noon,
Haileybury College Chapel, Hertford Heath.
No black by request
No flowers but donations to Action For Pulmonary Fibrosis
Or Heart Foundation if you so wish.

Blog by Water Lane Theatre Company President  – Pat Bastin

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The thoughts of Chairman John

After 3 years in the Chair our illustrious Chairman John Johnston- Cook has made way – we gave him a warm hand on his exit at the AGM and asked him for his thoughts about being in charge for the last 3 years – here’s what he said

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When the chair of Water Lane Theatre Co became vacant I had an inexorable feeling that it was the right time to step up to the mark having managed to keep a low profile for the past 33 years! Having seen the group develop over that period I had come to realise what a special company of friends we are.

We are all members intent on enjoying the various rewards that being part of a dramatic production can offer whether it be onstage,backstage or offstage at social gatherings.

What is special about Water Lane is the support that each member gives to the others in helping to develop their skills and the chance to put those skills into practice in order to produce as professional performance as possible.

Continuing and encouraging this was my main aim as Chairman as well as promoting the standing of the company in the local community.

To this end I actively encouraged  members to take on new roles helped by others with more experience. We are very lucky in that we have some very talented actors and directors who can pass on their skills and as a consequence we have an increasing fund of accomplished members. We are equally able to put on large scale productions at Rhodes and small street productions at the behest of the Town Council. I feel these are just as important.  We have experienced directors of Shakespeare and also those willing to take us in new directions.

I have been incredibly impressed with the standard of our productions both large and small over the last three years.

I see the Chairman’s role as striving to expand our horizon’s and giving every member the chance to develop their skills at the same time having fun and enjoying each other’s company socially. I feel we need to encourage more people to take part in supporting roles such as costume, production management and set production as these often prove difficult to fill and are equally as important as treading the boards.

With the future of venues in the town now being uncertain one of my most important concerns has been to keep up to date with Council proposals and I feel that going forward we should use our contacts in the town to make sure that that our best interests are served.

I feel I should thank thewhole society for the support I have received during my Chairmanship. Also special thanks to my committee for the everyday running of the society without which we would not be able to function.

I am happy that we have a vibrant and forward thinking attitude and that the diversity of group will continue to enhance  both the social and the theatrical endeavours of Water Lane Theatre Company.

With many thanks

John

 

The Brent Pelham Dragon – all our own work !!!

Early this year the Town Council  asked Water Lane Theatre Company to participate in the Carnival which had the theme of community. After some research we found a story about a Knight called Piers Shonks who lived in Brent Pelham, originally called Burnt Pelham because of a marauding dragon. Piers eventually killed the dragon and saved his community. He upset the Devil because the dragon was a favourite pet . He cursed Piers and said that he would neither be buried inside or outside a church when he died. At the end of his life Piers fired an arrow and said he would be buried where it landed. It landed in the North wall of the Church and there he was buried neither inside or outside but in the wall itself and if you visit the church in Brent Pelham today you can see his tomb in the wall.

We thought this would make a good basis for a short play aimed at families and children.  Carys Sullivan kindly offered to help me with  the script for this and also borrowed our  dragon and some props from friends who had used them in mummers plays. Becky Deal found a song about Piers and Les Sullivan created a tune which we used in our introduction to the play.  We were very pleased to have a family involvement from our Water Lane members . Sally and her daughters Sophie and Evie, Jacqui and her daughter Sam and her daughter Izzy were all keen to take part along with Will and Becky, John and Pam and Amanda and David Middlemiss.  We started rehearsals for this at the end of May at the URC Church Hall and then moved outside to the Southern Country Park. Passers looked a bit stunned and a very excited beagle was keen to take part. On the day everything went smoothly . Four of us walked in the procession and our performance of “The Brent Pelham Dragon” at 3.45 pm in the Bandstand arena was very well received by a  vocal family audience . We also made contact with Hester and Lee from Furneaux Pelham who are putting on a Festival at the end of July called Theatre in the Fields. They would like us to do two performances at their Festival on July 28th. We now need a couple more volunteers from the members to replace those who are going to be away in July so please contact John ( Jandpjc@dsl.pipex.com)  if you are keen to take part. It is a compliment that the Town Council ask us to take part in these public events and I feel it is important to continue these performances. There will be another opportunity to perform at the Christmas Fayre in December so if you have any good ideas and would be prepared to direct please contact John.

 

Report from John Johnson-Cook, director

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Noda Review of Hi-de-Hi

WATER LANE THEATRE COMPANY

“Hi-De- Hi!”

Directed by Doug Sheppard

Reviewed at Rhodes Arts Complex, Bishops Stortford on Friday 20 th April 2018

I was really looking forward to seeing this production as I remember how I used to love watching Hi-De- Hi on TV back in the 80’s. Would the cast really be able to convincingly re-create these diverse characters to meet the audience’s expectations? Of course they would, and with the attention to detail that I had come to expect from this society.

The characters in this classic comedy are a mixed bunch, each with their own story to tell. Most would have you believe that being part of the entertainment team at Maplin’s Holiday Camp is a far cry from their real calling.

Lisa Turpcu was just perfect as head Yellowcoat Gladys Pugh, displaying all the mannerisms, including the sideward glances, we have come to expect of the character. Her Welsh accent was quite amazing. The object of Gladys’ desire, holiday camp director Jeffrey Fairbrother, was very well played by Kevin Stemp who really captured this dithering character, a man completely out of his comfort zone. I loved the scene where he has too much to drink but is determined not to let his guard down. This was a terrific piece of controlled acting.

A terrific performance also by Kerry Wheeler as Peggy Ollerenshaw, the chalet maid whose dream is to be a Yellowcoat. Always eager to please everyone, this character had the audience on side from the start as she brought out the comedy in every line. Very well done.

There were other good performances from Lynda Shelverton and Granville Rush as Yvonne and Barry Stuart-Hargreaves. I did feel though that Barry could have been more camp as befits the character and wouldn’t it have been nice to see these two give a demonstration of their ballroom skills? According to the programme though this would have been a step too far!

Andy Roberts as Ted Bovis, always on the lookout to make a fast buck and Adam Andrews as Spike made a good pairing. Richard Pink as Fred Quilly, Les Sullivan as Mr Partridge and Amanda Green as Hilary Bovis ably supported the main cast, as did Greg Hill as Mr Pritchard, the policeman on holiday whose crucial evidence saves Glady’s blushes. John Johnson-Cook as The Bailiff along with the other Yellowcoats played by Corrina Graham-Hodson (Sylvia), Sally Fenton (Tracy), Rachel Jackson (Betty) and Fleur Lousie Oliver (Dawn) completed the line-up.

The split stage with Mr Fairbrother’s office stage right, the Staff Room stage left, and the Radio Maplin desk on the apron worked well, and together with the use of the floor in front of the stage for the other scenes, minimised the need for long pauses during scene changes.

The costumes were excellent. Sound was good and for the most part so was the lighting. There were just one or two instances on the evening I attended when the lights did not appear on cue. That said, this was an excellent production. It moved at a good pace, was true to the series and above all, Peggy gets her very own yellow blazer.

Congratulations to director Doug Sheppard, with whom I managed to have a brief word after the performance, and to the cast and everyone else involved. Another very enjoyable evening’s entertainment from this talented company.

Decia Ranger

NODA East

District 7

Oh I say – Its Barry !!! Hi De Hi

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It’s less that a week until Hi De Hi at the Rhodes Arts Complex and we caught up with our very own Granville Rush who is taking on the onerous task of being Barry Stuart- Hargreaves ( aka Bert Pratt) in our production

We asked him why he wanted the part so much –

‘ Well Barry appeals to me – he’s incredibly camp, stubborn, acerbic and determined to cause trouble – its refreshing to have a role that requires me to do no acting at all…’

And then he pushed us aside and said he had better things to do – charming !

If you can bear to come and see the lovely Barry and everyone else get your tickets here

Hi de Hi – its only Uncle Willie and Fred the Jockey

IMG_0115We caught up with Fred & Mr Partridge ( known to the kids as Uncle Willie) and discovered that respectively Richard Pink isn’t as short as he should be and Les Sullivan isn’t anywhere near as miserable !

They told is why they are looking forward to Water Lane’s production of Hi de Hi

Les ( Uncle Willie) – ‘The role attracted me because it is a tricky one to pull off convincingly. Being on stage with few lines to say is never easy as you have to keep in character all the time. Keeping a straight face whilst being totally unaware of a very funny scene taking place in the next room will be a challenge. I then have to convince the audience that I am being sacked and bring the whole mood down whilst having funny lines to say at the same time. It will be a real test  for me.’

We know he’s going to be hilarious !

Richard ( Fred) – ‘I never ridden a horse in my life, well maybe a donkey by the seaside occasionally. I have lost a few quid backing some very dodgy nags however. However, despite being about a foot too tall to have ever been a jockey I do like the outfit, and I’ve become very attached to my imaginary  horses who don’t get much out of life but are always happy when they get their oats – well aren’t we all….’

Errrr thanks Richard

You can come and see these two likely lads and everyone else in Hi De Hi at the Rhodes Arts Complex 19-21 April

Tickets Here !

 

 

Hi de hi – its Fleur’s first time out!

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Our intrepid reporter caught up with one of our newest members this week – the lovely Fleur Louise Oliver who is not only donning the Yellow Coat for the first time – but is also it’s her first time on stage too – we think she’s a natural ….

We asked her some searching questions  ….

So Fleur, Why did you decide to take to the stage ?

‘Well, it was always an ambition of mine, after experiencing some tough times I’ve realised how precious life is and how important it is to follow our dreams and do what makes us happy 😄

Wise words – And what was the trigger than prompted you ?

‘The trigger that pushed me was my desire to be on stage, gain experience and meet new like minded folk’

Why did you pick WLTC?

‘I googled local theatre groups .. a few came up .. also a friend had heard good things about water lane and its brilliant production’

Well you wont find us disagreeing with your well informed friend…What was your first impression ?

‘Everyone was so friendly and welcoming 😄 Everyone could probably tell how nervous I was but each and every member of the water lane theatre company went out of there way to make me feel comfortable and put me at ease.. ❤️

Fab – we love new members! What are you enjoying most ?

‘The best thing about joining water lane has been meeting such an awesome bunch of talented actors who teach me something new at every rehearsal, hi de hi is a hilarious brilliantly written play that never ceases to make me laugh’

Gosh – you’re going to get on fine! Are there any challenges ?

‘Only stage confidence which is growing with each rehearsal’

You’ll be great – Does it make you want to do more ?

‘Most definitely want to do more and follow my dream to work in the entertainment industry!! 😄

Well that’s excellent – and when you’re famous we can say we helped out !!

You can see Fleur in Hi De Hi at the Rhodes Arts Complex 19-21 April

Tickets here !! Hi De Hi tickets !