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 (  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



Noda Review of Hi-de-Hi


“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


District 7

Oh I say – Its Barry !!! Hi De Hi



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!



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 !

Yvonne’s as snooty as ever !!

We caught up with the lovely Lynda Shelverton on her first outing with our group and her thoughts at playing the snooty Yvonne Stuart- Hargreaves in our production of Hi De Hi ( played by Diane Holland in the original series) – luckily she’s not as snooty as Yvonne

I have only recently becoming a member of Water Lane Theatre Group, so am thrilled and excited to have been cast to play the wonderful snooty character of Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves in the classic play Hi-De-Hi. What fun we shall have in bringing this light hearted and popular production to the audiences at the Rhodes Theatre Bishops Stortford.

Tickets here

Hi-de-Hi on TV

Our Jeffrey (Kevin) has just pointed out to the cast that starting today (Tuesday) on the Drama channel they will be showing the very first Pilot episode of Hi-de-Hi!

Also available on Freeview they will be showing one episode each day at 1:40 pm and check as it may be repeated at 6 pm.