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Hungerford And District Community Arts Festival (HADCAF) included a two-night festival of one-act plays on 8th and 9th July at John O' Gaunt School, Hungerford. Reviews, from the Newbury Weekly News, are below.

On 12th July, Hungerford Theatre Club presented The Canterbury Tales - Chaucer made modern by Phil Woods with Michael Bogdanov.

On 22nd July the Lisa Harrington School of Drama did three street theatre performances of Dags, Debra Oswald's comedy about teenagers growing up in today's society, in Hungerford.
For more information, contact Lisa Harrington on 01635 523159.

Also on 22nd July, there was a 'play with music': A Meeting of Minds, the story of Rachmaninov and Dr Dahl, written and performed by Michael Lunts. Fusing drama and music, actor and pianist Michael Lunts recreates the meetings that took place between the young Rachmaninov and the hypnotist Dr Dahl in Moscow in 1900, following the disastrous premiere of the composer's First Symphony.

On 28th and 29th July was the British Legion Variety Show at the Royal British Legion Hall.

A Festival of Theatre in the Round - reviews from the Newbury Weekly News.

A great start to festival of theatre

'HADCAF FESTIVAL THEATRE IN THE ROUND' PART ONE, at John O'Gaunt School, on Saturday July 8

Each year, HADCAF hosts productions from local amateur groups, which are performed in the round, and this year's Festival got off to a tremendous start on the first night. First, St Bart's Lower Sixth Theatre Arts Students presented a devised piece called Pink. This was a rather confusing mixture of playlet and sketches, but it provided a good showcase for these talented students. The playlet was a tongue-in-cheek American High School love story with two girls, played by Sophie Ainge and Rebecca Squire, vying for the affections of Theo (Jake Dypka) and hampered by the football team star Todd (Philippa Holland). They were helped or hindered by Tracey Smith, Laura Dillon and Carley Marsh. The production was full of life, and the team switched well between their parts' American accents and their 'out of character' British roles.
   The five sketches were performed by Nikki Clutton (a very vivacious personality), Sarah McMahon, Robin McGrorty, Helen Yates and Gavin Bush (great dancing!). The sketches were well written and funny, and involved good use of the stage and body movement. I particularly liked 'Aerobics' and 'How embarrassing'.
   The standard of the acting was universally high - congratulations to the whole team for a very lively and amusing production.
   In the second part of the evening, Box Theatre Company presented their recent production of John Godber's Bouncers. The four actresses, Sanna Nobbs, Lucy Marigliano, Tracey Donnelly and Beth Park, played three different sets of roles: the bouncers, four lads on the pull and four girls celebrating a birthday. The success of the production depends on the actors' ability to switch convincingly between the roles, and these four were brilliant. Although you wouldn't expect women to play these parts, Box's decision to go this way was an outstanding success. I felt that we got more insight into the characters of the eight men than we would have with male actors.
   The acting was exceptionally good by all four, but I particularly liked Sanna Nobbs' sensitive portrayal of Lucky Eric.
   This was a wonderful evening, and a great start to the Festival.


Fun continues with fine selection of one-act plays

'HADCAF FESTIVAL THEATRE IN THE ROUND' PART TWO, at John O'Gaunt School, on Sunday July 9

The second day of the Hungerford Festival of Theatre offered a finely balanced selection of one-act plays.
   'Dags' by Debra Oswald provided an excellent opportunity for the students of Lisa Harrington's School of Drama to display their strengths at characterisation and improvisation. Highlighting the social pressures facing teenagers, the story revolves around 16-year-old Gillian and her efforts to win the affections of heart-throb Adam despite her low self esteem. Zoe lles gave a very strong performance as the hapless Gillian, while Sam Hall played her sister Bronwyn with enthusiasm and sensitivity. Other members of the large cast deserving special mention are Suzie Prince, who gave a delightful performance as the gormless Monica; Paul German as the arrogant Adam; and Jason Lambs who carried the part of the geaky Derek with great style.
   Newbury Dramatic Society brought us, 'Is it Something I Said,' a black comedy by Richard Harris, about a desperate hotel guest who tries to commit suicide in his room, only to he foiled it at every turn. Alistair Parry gave a very fine performance as Arthur, the seedy proprietor, who talks his guest out of killing himself, only to succumb to equally morbid thoughts. Pauline Dewhurst, as Arthur's hectoring mother Stella, used her brief cameo to great effect, while Julian Wood was suitably hesitant as the suicidal Wallace, but seemed a bit uncomfortable with the difficult script. The director Daphne Outwin and her group deserve congratulation for creating a downbeat hotel atmosphere with remarkably few props.
   New Era Players' hearty melodrama, Georgina Reid's 'A Crying Shame', brought the evening to a hilarious conclusion, with a fine range of burlesque characters. The heartless Lady Beatrice (Rachel Lashford), who learns the error of her ways, her haunted old father Lord William (Tim Oldham), and her caddish brother Dick (Ed Hopgood) were all well cast, and managed to whip the audience into a frenzy of cheers and boos, playing effortlessly to three sides of the house. Georgina Gale, as the seduced servant Betsy, Thomas Winter as the honourable farmer Jake, and Dawn Selleck as the all-knowing Perkins, gave fine performances; while 'Dags' director Lisa Harrington made a perfectly mysterious Gypsy Ruby. Great fun and nicely staged by Kate Cleverley.