Press reviews
Here you will find press reviews for the Lovelace performances, beginning with the most recent.  
Cinderella: January 2007  
Hucknall Dispatch - 25th Jan 2007  
Cinderella Shall Go To The Ball - And Also The Panto!

The 'Gruesome Twosome', in the shape of retired teacher Len Hill and IT project Manager Mark Swinson, provide most of the laughs in Hucknall Lovelace Theatre Group's annual pantomime, Cinderella..

The production, being staged at the John Godber Centre's Lovelace Theatre on Ogle Street, began a four-performance run last night.
As the Ugly Sisters, Ermintrude and Florrie. Len and Mark have warmed tho the task of playing demanding roles alongside Jess Wall, who is well cast as the down-trodden Cinders.
Written by teacher Peter Frost, the enduring rags to riches tales also features former Bulwell resident Viv Savage as the Fairy Godmother and talented teenager Kim Hutchinson as Prince Charming.
Linda Mayes, Jonathan Kenworthy (Buttons), Becks Mayes, Sam Burton and Jenna Roy take on supporting roles in 'Cinderella', which continues tonight and tomorrowat 7:30pm. There will also be a 2:30pm matinee performance tomorrow.
Two One Act Plays: October 2006  
Hucknall Dispatch - October 2006  
'Enjoyable Double Bill at Lovelace'

Dramatist Alan Ayckbourn's plays are well known to be supercharged with biting humour. So perhaps it comes as no surprise when an electric shock proves to be the highlight of his one-act comedy 'Gosforth's Fete' which was staged by the Lovelace Theatre Group last week.

The victim is the snooty Councillor Mrs pearce (Viv Savage), who is using a defective microphone to open a village gala - and farcical mayhem ensues from that point. The erratic public address system has already caused maximum embarrassment to fete organiser Goden Gosforth (Ian Eastoe) as it enabled the general public to hear that tea supervisor Milly Carter (Rachel Williams) is pregant by him.

The news causes MIlly's boyfriend, Cubmaster Stewart Stokes (Dan Sadler), to turn to dribk, while the vicar (Linda Mayes) aids and abets the chaotic proceedings, climaxed by the sudden arrival of a carnival band.

Earlier in the evening, group members performed Ayckbourn's somewhat more subtle single-act comedy, 'Between Mouthfuls'. This focuses on two couples - Donal and Emma (Sam Burton and Kim Hutchinson) and Martin and Polly (Cassie Bridge and Hannah Walsh) - who have something in common and sit at adjoining tables, served by an over attentive waiter (Ashton Mayes).

The junior theatre group filled out the programme with numbers from such shows as Calamity Jane and Grease, plus Bjork's hit 'Oh So Quiet' and Kim Wildes's 'Kids in America'. Kim Storer, Carl Wilkinson and Rebecca Mayes were the directors for the different offerings and an enthusiastic approach from everyone involved made for an enjoyable evening.

Denis Robinson
Billy Liar: May 2006  
Hucknall Dispatch - May 2006  

'Billy Liar' Stays True

The laid-back personality of Billy Fisher, the main character in this classic comedy, is amply depicted even before he appears on stage. After the scene is set with the nostagic 'Housewive's Choice' theme tune, Billy fails to 'surface' for breakfast until mid-morning, even though it is a day when he is supposed to go to work..

The whole play hinges on how well Billy is portrayed and 18 year old Michael Davies did not disappoint.

He made Billy's day-dreamingapproach ro life and his breathtaking irresponsibility totally believable. Symbolic of his cavalier attitude are 200-plus of his firm's calendars, stuffed into the living room cabinetwhen they should have been posted long before.

A crisis is just around the corner for this north of England Walter Mitty, who needs to recover an engagement ring from his current girlfriend, Barbara, because it belongs to an 'ex', Rita, who is demanding it back.

Mark Swinson impressed as Bily's no-nonsense, plain-speaking Dad Geaffrey, as did Linda Mayes in the role of the hero's mum, Alice, who is more prepared to make allowances for him.

Mel Harrison rose admirably to the challenge of playing an octagenarian, Billy's grumpy Grandma, Florence, and Viv Savage was also convincing as the strait-laced Barbara, who has a craving for tinned oranges.

Solid support came from Dan Sadler as Billy's pal Arthur, sporting a trilby at a jaunty angle, and Kim Storer in the role of Liz, a kindred spirit of Billy, who's suggestion that they move to London forces him to make a potentially life-changing decision.

Bit it was Rachael Williams who made the biggest impact with a knockabout performance as the sassy and feisty Rita , who's confrontation with Barbara brings act two to an uprorious end. Co-directors Jonathan Kenworthy and Jess Wall ensured that a cracking pace was maintained, with just a few hestitant moments.

Use of the auditrium as an extension of the stage helped towards a sense of audience participation.

Make Do and Mend: October 2005

Hucknall Dispatch - October 2005

'Wartime Memories Set To Music'

It is not often Hucknall Lovelace Theatre Group has the chance to stage a world premiere.

But members made the most of this golden opportunity with a high-octane production of 'Make Do And Mend', a musical set in Nottingham during World War Two The show had the stamp of authenticity as writer Steve Wallis had based it on wartime memories related to him by his grandmother, 90-year old Elizabeth Simpson.

The production was a personal triumph for Lydia Cockcroft, who showed star quality worthy of TV's 'X-Factor' in the central role of Flo, a studious girl whose life is transformed when she meets and falls in love with an Army sargeant, Billy (Jonathan Kenworthy). The same actor also played Billy's brother, Dunn, who enters Flo's life at a time when it has taken a tragic turn through the deaths of Billy and her sister, Freddie.

Nottingham Arts Theatre's actress of the year, Cassandra Stone, showed she also possesses outstanding off-stage talents by directing the show, while Josh Goodman brought off the remarkable feat of composing 14 original songs for the musical. As Flo's other sister, Beth, Kim Storer made the most of her big number, 'Where Are You', and Bianca Brewin contributed a spirited portrayal of Marge, the tart who proves to have a heart.

A noteworthy feature of the 'story of love lost and found' is the lack of false sentiment. Indeed the show's concluding message is 'Don't Get Attached'. While a tad more emotional depth would have been welcome in some scenes, the  youthful cast rose to the occasion in fine style to make the production a memorable offering.

A 4000 grant from Awards For All enabled the group to aquire the services of an 11-piece band, which did wonders for evoking the atmosphere of the Nottingham Palais in the 1940's, enhanced by the choreography of Becs Mayes.

The show more than made up for the society's huge disappointment earlier this year when it had to cancel a major production of 'Allo Allo' because of an electricity problem at the centre.

Hansel and Gretel: January 2005

Hucknall Dispatch - January 28th 2005

'Fun-packed Panto is a hit with familes'

Hucknall Lovelace Theatre Group's fun-packed family pantomime 'Hansel and Gretel' which started on Wednesday, is delighting audiences.

It's sweet success owes much to teamwork and the leadership of amateur veterens Keith Williams and Linda Mayes, who are co-ordinating the production. Newcomers Jonathan Kenworthy in the role of the Dame, and Mark Swinson as hapless fall-guy Tommy have made their marks already during the panto's two performances and will be eager to keep up the standards in the three remaining shows.

Catching the eye in the titles roles are 13 year old Sam Burton, a pupil at Hucknall's Holgate Comprehensive School, and Jessica Johnson (10), who attends Hucknall National Junior School. Richard Turner, of Hucknall, a retail manager for an IT company, teams up with schoolteacher Peter Frost to play witches, while Andrew Ridge and Karon Wallis vie in one-upmanship as the happy-go-lucky King of Pantoland and the high and mighty Lord Chamberlain.

Jessica Wall as the dashing Prince, Andy Godber as the bumbling mayor, Franchesca Machin, who plays Sarah, and Rachel Williams, the nymph-like Fairy, make appealing contributions to the fun.

Colourful costumes, tuneful singing and fine individual performances help to make the group's annual panto a winner.

Hucknall Dispatch - January 2005
Two One Act Plays

  Kindly Leave The Stage

    Jack and the Beanstalk: January 2004
    Hucknall Dispatch - January 2004

Far from wilting, this beanstalk definitely flourished..

ALWAYS a firm favourite with the kids, 'Jack and the Beanstalk' was an apt choice for the Hucknall Community Theatre Group's 2004 Panto. Because it was almost 10 years to the day since they last performed the popular story. And the production, by veteran Andrew Cameron, was a treat for adults and children alike. Brilliant fun and laced with fine comic acting. The rags to riches tale of Jack Trott's great adventure takes him from a sleepy village up the famous beanstalk to the Giant's Kingdom.

In the starring role of the thigh-slapping hero Jack, 23-year-old Lorraine Pearson gave a solid performance. She was joined by the hilarious knock-about duo. Billy (Mark Barrett) and Wally (Ryan Martinez), who could easily work in children's television, such was their boundless energy. Cameron himself was outrageously camp as Mrs Trott, courtesy of superb over the top acting, make-up and costumes.

The wicked Squire (Andy Godber) and his sidekick Grusum (Rob Price) showed just enough menance, receiving many boos from a near full house. And there were also strong performances from Fairy (Jo Harris) and the Imp (Layla Whitefoot), as well as Patty (Tom Burton), Hag (Maeve Price) and the Giant's Mummy (Linda Mayes).

Meanwhile Chelsea Harros would not be disappointed at her performance of the Harp being described as very static! Richard Turner performed well as the King, as did Amelia Bailey as the Princess. While Jessica Wall was well cast as trapped housekeeper Mrs Hipkins. Mention must also go to the dancers, villagers and pupils, plus of course, Daisy The Cow, played by Nick Green and Robyn Harwood.

The sets, costumes and music were all imaginative. And the problem of how to portray the Giant (Joe Castellani) was solved by using two huge legs.

The panto featured good use of music with best routine being a hilarious duet by Mrs Trott and the King singing 'Big Spender'. Far from wilting, this beanstalk definately flourished.

    Hucknall Dispatch - January 2004

Panto Star took 'break a leg' adage too literally!

'BREAK a leg' is a well-known expression in the world of theatre to wish a performer good luck. But Amanda Bailey came close to taking it too literally when she appeared in the Hucknall Community Theatre Group's 2004 pantomime 'Jack and the Beanstalk'.

For Amelia (17), who was playing the role of Princess, badly sprained her right ankle when her shoe caught in her dress as she walked off the Lovelace Theatre stage at Hucknall Community Centre on Wednesday last week - the first night of the show. She aggravated the injury at Friday evenings performance and had to go to King's Mill Hospital, Sutton-in-Ashfield where she was found to have torn ligaments. But the show must go on and Amelia gallantly limped her way through the rest of the performances.

Fortunately, she had not been written a very big part anyway because she has been pre-occupied with exams. But she will still be able to enjoy her big moment - singing a solo called 'Only Hope', having chosen this number herself.

Amelia was on crutches last weekend but doctors have told her to start exercising her injured foot again. She attends High Pavement Sixth-Form College in Nottingham and is planning to go to university in September to study drama.

The panto came at a heartrending time for producer Andrew Cameron, who also played the dame, Mrs Trott. His mother was seriously ill when the first performance took place and she underwent surgery last Saturday, "But she would have wanted me to continue with the panto, although it was hard to keep my head focused on the show," said Andrew.

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