The Progress Theatre web site is at www.progresstheatre.co.uk. You can find details of the Youth and Student Groups there.
Colder Than Here, 20th to 25th May, 19:45
By Laura Wade. Colder Than Here is a drama about a family, and their different reactions to the news that Mum is dying. Not only that, but she’s determined to plan the perfect funeral. The characters are skilfully drawn and the play manages to be sad without being sentimental; moving and emotional but with a light touch. The action takes place in their living room and in various natural burial grounds from winter to spring.
Blithe Spirit, 17th to 22nd June, 19:45
By Noël Coward. When novelist Charles Condomime invites eccentric Madame Arcati to his house to conduct a séance as inspiration for his exposé of a criminal psychic, the scheme backfires and an unwelcome guest arrives to disrupt his marriage – Elvira, his first wife comes back to haunt him. And that’s just the start of his troubles. Can Madame Arcati’s plan to lay ghosts to rest succeed? Noël Coward’s classic comedy written in 1941 is a witty look at relationships on both sides of the grave.
Macbeth, 18th to 27th July, 19:45 except on
Out of the Dark Ages comes Macbeth, a warrior and champion to King Duncan of Scotland rallying against the armies of Norway and bringing victory home. His successes are followed quickly by a prophesised destiny brought to him by three weird sisters; Macbeth will one day be king. Driven by ambition, Macbeth, Thane of Cawdor, and the Lady Macbeth plot to remove all obstacles to the throne and so begins a bloody spiral into betrayal, paranoia and murder. The blood of kings, friends, women and children soaks the red path to Macbeth’s ascendance, coronation and downfall. Performances at Caversham Court, Reading.
The Mount, Christchurch Road, Reading RG1 5HL
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Reviews of The 39 Steps
17th to 26th November 2011.
Review from RemoteGoat.
An entire movie on stage?
John Buchan and Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps
is a hilarious adaptation by Patrick Barlow of Buchan's
intriguing mystery and Hitchcock's classic 1935 film. It
shares the same characters but as befits Barlow's methods
the drama employs only four actors. It's all very comic and
at times leans towards Monty Python but
still manages to show a saintly reverence towards both
filmmaker and author.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
Step this way
The Thirty-Nine Steps, at Progress Theatre, Reading, from Thursday, November 17 to Saturday, November 26
Esteemed gentlefolk of Newbury and beyond, I would encourage, nay urge you, to avail yourselves of the opportunity to witness a most exhilarating, rip-roaring piece of dramatic entertainment at the Progress Theatre in Reading.
I write of the current production of The Thirty-Nine Steps, adapted by Mr Patrick Barlow, from the film directed by Mr Alfred Hitchcock, based upon the novel by Mr John Buchan and starring Mr Owen Goode as the suave if reluctant hero Richard Hannay. Miss Laura Sherman as Annabella, Pamela and Margaret, and Messrs Christopher Hoult and Craig Daniels as everyone else.
The action is fast and furious, costume changes slick and effective and the comic touches will leave you breathless with laughter. (Ladies are advised to come prepared with a handkerchief for discrete wiping away of tears of mirth.) Witness the thrill of the chase as Hannay seeks to prove his innocence while uncovering a devious foreign spy, gasp as our hero falls from the bridge and cheer at his ultimate exoneration.
Enough of that. Suffice it to say that the directors Dan Clarke and Steph Weller have achieved a well-nigh perfect production. The stage is transformed with a proscenium arch from whose columns doors open, to reveal among other things seats at the performances of Mr Memory and pilots flying bi-planes North by North-West to shoot down our hero, recently escaped through a Rear Window.
And there are wonderful performances from all the cast. Mr Goode tempers his stiff upper lip with hints of bewilderment, resignation, determination and patriotism, while Miss Sherman moves effortlessly and convincingly from one character to another, portraying a German spy, a down-trodden Scottish crofter's wife and a jolly society gel.
Messrs Hoult and Daniels display sensational physicality as they switch hats, coats and accents with each characterisation. Hoult's extraordinary portrayal of various head-scarved women ranges from Monty Python to League of Gentlemen, all with the absurd touch of sock suspenders. Their comic timing is masterful and breathtaking. It is brilliant. Just watch out for the Birds in the foyer.
Little Shop of Horrors, 18th to 27th April 2013
WASP and The Long Road, 18th to 23rd March 2013
The School of Night, 18th to 19th March 2013 at Wycliffe Baptist Church
Rumours, 18th to 23rd February 2013
The Fifth Elephant, 17th to 26th January 2013
The Love of the Nightingale, 10th to 15th December 2012
The 7th WriteFest, 14th to 17th November 2012
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, 15th to 20th October 2012
Calendar Girls, 13th to 22nd September 2012
A Grave Reunion, 15th August 2012
Henry IV Part One, 12th to 21st July 2012
What's Wrong With Angry?, 2nd to 7th July 2012
Mine, 11th to 16th June 2012
Mindgame, 10th to 19th May 2012
A Kind of Alaska and Handbagged, 10th to 14th April 2012
Lord of the Flies, 19th to 24th March 2012
Art, 20th to 25th February 2012
6th Annual WriteFest, 8th to 10th December 2011
The 39 Steps, 17th to 26th November 2011
Blackbird, 17th to 22nd October 2011
Proof, 12th to 17th September 2011
The Tempest, 23rd to 30th July 2011 at Caversham Court
Under Milk Wood, 5th to 9th July 2011
Enjoy, 6th to 11th June 2011
All My Sons, 5th to 14th May 2011
Teechers, 14th to 19th March 2011
Of Mice and Men, 10th to 19th February 2011
The Ash Girl, 10th to 16th January 2011
Ajax, 25th November to 4th December 2010
Writefest, 4th to 6th November 2010
Metamorphosis, 11th to 16th October 2010
Breathing Corpses, 6th to 11th September 2010
Death and the Maiden, 5th to 10th July 2010
Beary Tales And Bored Office Drones, 18th to 19th June 2010
Is This It?, 14th to 15th June 2010
The Pillowman, 20th to 29th May 2010
Intimate Exchanges, 14th to 24th April 2010
Travesties, 23rd, 26th and 27th March 2010
The Importance Of Being Earnest, 22nd, 24th and 27th March 2010
A Couple of Poor, English-speaking Poles, 1st to 6th March 2010
Going Postal, 28th January to 6th February 2010
Don Juan Comes Back From The War, 15th to 17th December 2009
Much Ado About Nothing, 26th November to 5th December 2009
4th Write Fest, 22nd to 24th October 2009
Closer, 28th September to 3rd October 2009
Little Sweet Thing, 7th to 9th July 2009
Twelfth Night, 29th to 30th June 2009
PYT Week, 29th June to 4th July 2009
The Dianalogues, 8th to 13th June 2009
Popcorn, 7th to 16th May 2009
Entrapment, 16th to 18th April 2009
Macbeth, 30th March to 4th April 2009
I, Bertolt Brecht, 5th to 14th March 2009
3rd Write Fest, 29th to 31st January 2009
Five Children and It!, 29th December 2008 to 10th January 2009. See the review in the Archive.
The Tamer Tamed, 20th to 29th November 2008
Kindertransport, 27th October to 1st November 2008. See the review in the Archive.
Honour, 22nd to 27th September 2008
The Taming of the Shrew, 14th to 26th July 2008
A Right Mouthful, 5th July 2008
Last Resort, 26th to 28th June 2008
The Women of Lockerbie, 19th to 24th May 2008. See the review in the Archive.
Four Nights in Knaresborough, 10th to 19th April 2008. See the review in the Archive.
Return to the Forbidden Planet, 14th to 23rd February 2008. See the review in the Archive.
2nd Write Fest, 17th to 19th January 2008
The Jungle Book, 28th December 2007 to 5th January 2008
Blue/Orange, 19th to 24th November 2007. See the review in the Archive.
My Voice(s), 3rd November 2007
The Veil, 22nd to 27th October 2007
Woman in Mind, 20th to 29th September 2007
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 16th to 28th July 2007. See the review in the Archive.
The Husband Defeated, 10th to 19th May 2007
Decadence and People in Cages, 16th to 21st April 2007
The Insect Play, 26th to 31st March 2007
Far Side, 12th to 15th March 2007 at 21 South Street
Wait Until Dark, 22nd February to 3rd March 2007. See the review in the Archive.
Festival of New Writing, 22nd to 27th January 2007
Alice in Storyland, 28th December 2006 to 6th January 2007
The Good Woman of Setzuan, 16th to 25th November 2006
Hannah and Hanna, 9th to 14th October 2006. See the review in the Archive.
Entertaining Mr Sloane, 7th to 16th September 2006. See the review in the Archive.
2006 Reading Abbey Ruins Open Air Shakespeare: The Winter's Tale, 17th to 29th July 2006. See the review in the Archive.
Dracula, 11th to 15th July 2006. Progress Theatre Student Group.
Skylight, 1st to 10th June 2006
Hot Chit Chat .com and In The Village, They Are Saying, 24th to 29th April 2006
Blasted, 20th to 25th March 2006
Julius Caesar, 1st to 4th March 2006
Breaking the Code, 9th to 18th February 2006. See the review in the Archive.
James and the Giant Peach, 29th December 2005 to 7th January 2006. See the review in the Archive.
Godspell, 10th to 19th November 2005
The Woman who Cooked her Husband, 3rd to 8th October 2005. See the review in the Archive.
... A Many Splendoured Thing, 24th July 2005
2005 Abbey Ruins Open Air Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, 18th to 30th July 2005. See the review in the Archive.
The Government Inspector, 5th to 9th July 2005
Charley's Aunt, 12th to 21st and 28th May 2005
Two New Plays, 4th to 9th April 2005
The Caucasian Chalk Circle, 24th February to 5th March 2005
The Demon Headmaster, 29th December 2004 to 8th January 2005. See the review in the Archive.
The Crucible, 18th to 27th November 2004
Happy Days, 11th to 16th October 2004
The Comedy of Errors, 27th July to 1st August and 11th September 2004
Much Ado About Nothing, 6th to 10th July 2004
Stepping Out, 17th to 26th June 2004. See the review in the Archive.
Too Clever By Half, 26th February to 6th March 2004. See the review in the Archive.
Rama and Sita, 30th December 2003 to 10th January 2004
Two New Plays, 10th to 15th November 2003:
How to Become Famous by Arthur Burke
Generation Games by Kerry Murdock
Copenhagen, 13th to 18th October 2003
Reading Abbey Ruins Shakespeare 2003
The Merchant of Venice, 21st July to 2nd August. See the review in the Archive.