Newbury Dramatic Society
Percy Shelley, 17th to 22nd April 2023
17th April: The Retreat at Elcot Park, Newbury RG20 8NJ.
19th April: Enborne Church, Newbury RG20 0HD
20th April: Kingsclere Library, 35 George Street Kingsclere Kingsclere RG20 5NH
22nd April: Speen (private venue)
A short play by Ann Davidson exploring the life of the great Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, whose mother, sisters and other relatives lived at Elcot Park during the 19th century. Newbury Dramatic Society has written this superb play especially for The Retreat, having previously staged impressive dramatic depictions of the lives of other famous writers such as Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling. Shelley's extraordinary and fascinating life is explored in detail in this one hour play.
See our web site for ticket details.
Review of Percy Shelley
17th to 22nd April 2023
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
Dramatisation of the life of Shelley, poet, atheist, vegetarian, serial seducer and revolutionary
Not so much a play, more a treatment or an extended sketch, this life of Shelley was reduced to bare essentials by Newbury Dramatic Society. Written and directed by Ann Davidson the visual tableaux presented at Enborne Church were often quite striking.
This was achieved by good costumes and the actors’ positioning and facial expressions, often saying more than words would have done. Members of the cast took turns to act as narrators to move the story forward and then played various parts in the short sketches.
We saw brief scenes of Shelley with his first wife Harriet who was to take her own life later, drowning in the Serpentine in Hyde Park in a state of despair. Mary Godwin, his second wife, was played by Ros Kitson, who also doubled as Harriet’s sister Eliza (which made it a little confusing). She conveyed Mary’s frustration and pain well though.
Gareth Croft looked and sounded right as Shelley, the atheist, revolutionary and, at the time, unsuccessful poet, with most of his work unpublished. Selections of his writings were well chosen.
A brief scene of Shelley, Mary, Steven Schollar as Lord Byron and Lucinda Lane as Claire staying at Lake Geneva was well acted, but would maybe have benefited from more dialogue. It was this event where the four told each other ghost and horror stories with Mary’s contribution being Frankenstein.
Given the loss of her baby and precarious existence with Shelley, it is no surprise that her imagination led her to the creation of such a creature. An expansion of this scene in this treatment might have been illuminating.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, poet, atheist, vegetarian, serial seducer and revolutionary attracted little except anger and frustration in his brief lifetime and produced nothing acceptable except fathering many children, many of which did not survive infancy.
However, following his drowning in Italy in 1822, at the age of 29, he gradually came to be recognised as one of the greatest English Romantic poets, influencing many including Robert Browning, WB Yeats, Thomas Hardy and Charles Swinburne.
This was a well acted, brief glance at his life.
NDS is the oldest established amateur theatre group in the Newbury area. Current membership is around 45, and we stage a variety of shows each year in local venues, and also enter regional drama festivals. Between rehearsals we have an active social calendar - events planned include bowling, a car treasure hunt and group outings to other theatres.
Sleeping Beauty, 25th to 26th June 2022 at Morpheus Theatre
Dick Whittington, 30th November to 1st December 2019
Arsenic and Old Lace, 10th to 13th July 2019. See the review in the archive.
A Christmas Carole, 1st December 2018 at Morpheus Theatre. See the review in the archive.
London Suite, 5th July 2018. See the review in the archive.
The Interview, 7th to 12th August 2017 at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Stanley, 5th to 9th July 2017, on tour
Maskerade, 17th to 20th May 2017. See the review in the archive.
Just So Kipling, 13th to 15th July 2016. See the review in the archive.
The Interview, 21st to 23rd April 2016 and 7th to 12th August. See the reviews in the archive.
A Tale of Two Cities, 27th to 30th May 2015
Revolution and Revelations, 20th to 22nd November 2014. See the review in the archive.
The Local Heroes of 1914-18, 13th July 2014. See the review in the archive.
Tess of The D’Urbervilles, 3rd to 6th April 2013
Entertaining Angels, 8th to 10th November 2012 at ACE Space
The Taming of the Shrew, 2011 at New Greenham Arts
The Dog It Was That Died, 2011 at the Watermill
Curtain Up, 2010 at New Greenham Arts
Confusions, 2010 at the Watermill
Outside Edge, 2009 at New Greenham Arts
Ladies' Day, 2009 at New Greenham Arts
The Recruiting Officer, 2008 at the Watermill
Ladies Who Lunch, 2008 at New Greenham Arts
Far From the Madding Crowd, 2007 at the Watermill
A Fishy Business, 2007, Festivals
Abigail's Party, 2006 at the Watermill
What's for Pudding, 2006, Festivals
Racing Demon, 2005 at the Watermill
Babysitting Calvin and A Radio Reminiscence, 2005 at Waterside, Newbury
Whose Life is it Anyway?, 2004 at the Watermill
2004 Review, 2004, on tour
An Ideal Husband, 2003 at the Watermill
Arms and the Man, 2003 at New Greenham Arts
Taking Steps, 2002 at the Watermill
Sganarelle and People ARE Odd! A joint revue and radio play with Kingsclere Players, 2002 at the Mencap Centre
Sganarelle, 2002, Festivals
The Crucible, 2001, Thatcham and The Watermill
World Première, 2001, Festivals
Love Begins At Fifty, 2000 at New Greenham Arts
Is It Something I Said?, 2000, Festivals
It Could be Any One of Us, 2000 at the Watermill
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1999 at Kintbury
Habeas Corpus, 1998, at the Watermill
Parentcraft, 1997, Wallingford Festival
Move Over Mrs Markham, 1997 at the Watermill
Caught On The Hop, (Festival Winner) 1996, Wallingford Festival
Flying Feathers, 1996 at the Watermill
If you are interested in joining us in any capacity - whether as an actor, director, stage manager, backstage helper or programme seller - get in touch for details! Contact Ann Davidson at .