The Corn Exchange, Newbury, and New Greenham Arts
The Corn Exchange, Newbury. Visitor information is here.
New Greenham Arts, 113 Lindenmuth Way, New Greenham Park, Newbury. A map is here.
Productions are at the Corn Exchange if no venue is shown.
The Best Thing, 26th May, 19:45 at the Corn Exchange
Step into the wordless world of Vamos Theatre for this bitter-sweet story of mistaken morals and broken hearts, 45s and beehives, where sexual revolution proves a hard and rocky path to tread. It’s 1966. The record player’s on, her hair’s bobbed and eye-lashes curled: for seventeen year old Susan, life is an adventure waiting to begin. But what happens next turns everything upside down, and its repercussions will last for decades to come.
Flyaway Katie, 31st May, 11:00 and 14:00 at The Corn Exchange
Flyaway Katie is an inspiring flight of fancy about the power of imagination based on the popular children's book by Polly Dunbar. Katie is all alone and feeling grey. The birds in the picture on her wall look so colourful-if only Katie could be as bright as them, who knows what might happen? The show is bursting with colour, movement and surprises, with puppets of varying scales acting the story. Age 2 to 7.
A Midsummer Nights Dream, 2nd June, 19:45 at the Corn Exchange
Hermia loves Lysander and Helena loves Demetrius – but Demetrius is supposed to be marrying Hermia… ...When the Establishment tries to intervene, the lovers take refuge in the woods and wander into the midst of a dispute between the king and queen of the fairies. Shakespeare put some of his most dazzling dramatic poetry at the service of this teasing, glittering, hilarious and amazingly inventive play, whose seriousness is only fleetingly glimpsed beneath its dreamlike surface. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is an ageless celebration of love consummated and fertile imaginings.
Austentatious, 3rd June, 19:45 at the Corn Exchange
Prepare to get your bonnet in a twist: this hilarious show is not to be missed! (Swooning guaranteed). In each show, the all-star cast will improvise a brand new Jane Austen work before your eyes, based only on audience suggestions. Previous ‘lost’ masterpieces have included 'Sixth Sense and Sensibility', 'Double 0 Darcy' and 'Mansfield Shark'.
Dinosaur Park, 8th June, 19:00 at New Greenham Arts
A theatrical celebration of cinematic nostalgia. The perfect parody for those waiting anxiously for the next film, and an enjoyable entertainment for everyone else! Welcome to the unlikely setting of Lyme Regis Community Centre, where the Park Family embark on a journey to a misty past. When things go wrong, family feuds are faced with the rapturous roar of DIY dinosaurs. Superbolt Theatre’s five-star production is an epic adventure of show-stopping, spine-tingling theatrics and megalithic mayhem. Direct from a sell-out London season, and an official sell-out status at Edinburgh Fringe 2015, the show tours the UK for the first time! Age guide 8+.
Hamlet, 9th June, 19:00 at The Corn Exchange
See Theatre at the Cinema.
Graeme Of Thrones, 10th June, 19:45 at the Corn Exchange
In this critically-acclaimed theatrical journey through the Seven Kingdoms, direct from sold out shows in London’s West End, avid ‘Thrones’ fan Graeme just wants to recreate his favourite fantasy saga on stage - aided and abetted by his best friend Paul and the girl he used to fancy at school - Bryony. He doesn’t quite have the same budget as the TV show, or as many cast members, or the performance skill required, but he’s sure George RR Martin would approve – and that’s what matters. But when news reaches them that an influential theatrical producer is in the building, Graeme decides that this could be his big break - as long as nothing goes wrong... Created by a team of some of the UK’s top comedy writers, Graeme Of Thrones is an original and un-authorised parody on the international phenomenon that is Game Of Thrones. A treat for fans and an introduction for the unenlightened. See it before the inevitable lawsuit.
The Audience, 11th June, 19:00 at the Corn Exchange
An NT Encore production. For sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace – a meeting like no other in British public life – it is private. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said. Not even to their spouses. The Audience breaks this contract of silence – and imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen. From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister has used these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional – sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive. From young mother to grandmother, these private audiences chart the arc of the second Elizabethan Age. Politicians come and go through the revolving door of electoral politics, while she remains constant, waiting to welcome her next Prime Minister.
High School Musical, 23rd to 25th June, 19:30 and 14:30 on Saturday at The Corn Exchange
Set in East High School, Troy Bolton, captain of the basketball team, and Gabriella Montez, a newly- arrived and very academic student, decide to audition for the school winter musical. Sharpay and twin brother Ryan see them as competition for roles they had assumed were their’s, and do everything they can to sabotage the auditions. This stage version includes all the hit songs from the films including Start of Something New, Stick to the Status Quo and We’re All in This Together. With lots of fast moving dance routines, this exciting musical will appeal to all young people.
Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales, 1st to 3rd July at The Corn Exchange
Under the sea, out on the farm and into the jungle, these terrific tales are woven together with live music, puppetry and a whole host of colourful characters from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s best-loved titles: Tiddler, Monkey Puzzle, The Smartest Giant in Town and A Squash and a Squeeze. Funky moves, toe tapping tunes and giggles are guaranteed! Age guide 3+.
Romeo and Juliet, 7th July, 19:00
See Theatre at the Cinema.
Fairies and Dragons of the Desolate Plain, 23rd July, 19:45 at The Corn Exchange
In 1917, against the bloody backdrop of the Great War, two girls proved that Fairies played at the bottom of their garden. Troops carried images of the Piper of Dreams and enduring tales of Angels and other magical folk feature in many letters and stories from the front. Newbury Youth Theatre’s latest devised production explores these themes through the eyes of young people and inspired by songs and stories from the worlds of fairyland and war.
Dinosaur Zoo, 28th to 29th July, daytimes at The Corn Exchange
Dinosaur Zoo brings these awesome prehistoric creatures to life as you’ve never seen them before. From cute baby dinos to teeth-gnashing giants, marvel and interact with extraordinary life-like dinosaurs in this imaginative and hilarious live show. But watch out. Not all of these ravenous reptiles are as tame as they seem… Direct from the West End, this international hit show offers guaranteed fun for all the family ages 3+.
Oddly, 4th August, 11:30 at The Corn Exchange
A fun tale based on the much-loved children’s book written by author Joyce Dunbar. This story is about a curious boy from the city who sets off in search of three unusual creatures. Deep in a strange and tranquil forest he discovers the Lostlet, the Strangelet and the Oddlet. Together the new friends find surprising ways to make their hopes, dreams and wishes come true. Norwich Puppet Theatre’s adaptation visually reimagines the story with a magical mix of puppetry, visual tricks, masks and original music. Age 3 to 8.
King Lear, 14th October, 16:00
See Theatre at the Cinema.
The Entertainer, 27th October, 19:15
See Theatre at the Cinema.
Reviews of Dick Whittington
27th November 2015 to 3rd January 2016.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News and the British Theatre Guide.
Another triumph from the pen of director Phil Willmott
Dick Whittington, at the Corn Exchange, until January 3
The weather outside may have been cold, wet, dark and windy but inside the Corn Exchange, with its welcoming refurbished foyer, there was an excited warm buzz of excitement as the enthusiastic audience waited for this year's pantomime, Dick Whittington, to begin.
Wittily written and splendidly directed by Phil Willmott, this fun family-friendly Christmas extravaganza has all the ingredients for a "purrrfect" seasonal entertainment and the Corn Exchange has "pulled the cat out of the bag" and has a huge hit on its hands.
This year's set and colourful sparkling costumes (James Maciver) are superb and the hard-working talented cast are terrific, including the young company of smiling, confident dancers.
Phil Sealey makes a welcome return as Sarah the Cook, the perfect dame, in every stage appearance wearing a more outlandish costume. He has impressive stage presence.
Making his seventh consecutive performance, the much-loved Mathew Grace is this year playing Billy the Cat and quickly established a joyous rapport with the audience who were more than happy to be in his gang.
Lizzy Dive is the bubbly Fairy Fuchsia, with a vivacious personality and a powerful singing voice who is determined to help Dick seek his fortune.
The action is set in Newbury Bottom, where there is going to be an election for a new mayor. King Atticus Ratticus, powerfully played by Oliver Broad, who is the consummate villain that the audience love to boo and is determined to become the "vermin in ermine" But will he succeed?
Christian James, making his second year's appearance as the romantic hero, is a convincing and loveable Dick Whittington who loses his heart to the delightful Alice (Phoebe Lewis). Both sing beautifully.
Playing the three brothers, Oliver Tattersfield is a dizzy policeman – "evening all" – a commanding roller-skating King Neptune and a striking Sultan who is betrothed to Alice. There is excellent support from Leah Carter and Joey Warne in the ensemble.
Holly Hughes' creative choreography is spot on, including a delightful energetic tap routine.
There is much to enjoy in this production, from flashy pyrotechnics, magical effects, masses of audience participation, dreadful, funny puns and a vibrant musical score, provided by Richard Baker.
My two young companions thought it was "awesome". Maisie, aged five, loved the happy ending when Dick and Alice married. She described the show as "sparkly and cheerful", while eight-year-old Henry enjoyed booing the rat king and joining in the singing competition. He said it was "imaginative and magical". You can't get better than that.
Make sure you add this show to your Christmas wishlist. Highly recommended.
For more details
see the Corn Exchange and New Greenham Arts web site at www.cornexchangenew.com.