New Era Players
Lloyd George Knew My Father, 19th to 21st March and 24th to 28th March, 20:00
Lord Boothroyd and his wife are the proud owners of Boothroyd Hall which has been in the family for three hundred years. When Lady Boothroyd learns that a planned bypass will cut through the Boothroyd land, she decides to take matters into her own hands and threatens to 'do herself in as soon as the first sod is turned'. She is not taken seriously by the family who endeavour to dissuade her, enlisting the help of the local vicar.
New Era Theatre, Wash Common, Newbury RG14 6NU.
07919 916009 or email .
Review of The Happiest Days of Your Life
27th to 30th November and 3rd to 7th December 2019
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
Old school comedy
New Era Players relish the chance to cavort about the stage
New Era Players: The Happiest Days of Your Life, at New Era Theatre, Wash Common, from Wednesday, November 27, to Saturday, November 30, and Tuesday, December 3, to Saturday, December 7
As the Lights went down, the opening bars of the theme tune to the old BBC quiz show Top of the Form – familiar to people over a certain age – set the tone for the evening.
The Happiest Days of Your Life by John Dighton is the kind of comedy that makes you go all warm around the edges and yearn for the nostalgic days of jolly hockey sticks bravado and the New Era production didn't disappoint.
The story set just after the Second World War, centres around Hilary Hall, a boys boarding school that receives a letter from 'the ministry' informing them that they will have to share their premises with another school – the only problem is, due to an administrative mishap, St Swithins is a girls school. Cue comedy.
The cast put on a spirited performance, relishing the chance to cavort about the stage playing exactly the stereotypical characters you would expect. The Hilary Hall crew included the put-upon caretaker Rainbow, a suitably grumpy Keith Philips, the inept headmaster Godfrey Pond (a bumbling Mike Huxtable), the world- weary, cynical Billings (Stephen Bennett chewing his pipe and rolling his eyes to perfection) and the 'looking for love' Dick Tassell (Chris Billingham with his puppy dog gait).
Leading the charge for St Swithins, Lisa Harrington played the classic no-nonsense headmistress Miss Evelyn Whitchurch with great gusto and was only 'out-gustoed' by the jolly Miss Gossage, Pippa Higgins throwing herself into the role with Amazonian glee. Georgina Gale had the comparatively thankless task of playing Dick Tassell's love interest, the kindly teacher Joyce Harper, but she held her own.
Perhaps because the play is somewhat dated, it takes a while for the story to get going, but this it did in spades in the second half, when a set of parents from each of the schools turn up unexpectedly and set in motion a slapstick sequence of desperate subterfuge.
The Rev and Mrs Peck (Richard Colley and Karen Ashby), with great comic timing, are completely bamboozled by being shut away in the head's study, then meeting the male sports teacher Mr Tassell, who mistakes them for Mr and Mrs Sowter, parents of one of the boys. As the Sowters, David Tute shouted and blustered his way around the school and Marian Hatfull revelled her chance to ham it up as his comparatively silent, but expressive wife in hilarious fashion – a star turn from both.
Praise must go, too, to the pupils who have a hand in events. Isabella Goldsmith gamely plays Barbara Cahoun. whose schoolgirl crush on Miss Harper rather interferes in the blooming romance with Mr Tassell, and Jacob Howard (alternating the part with Jack Harman) instils Hilary Hall pupil Hopcroft with a suitably 'Just William-style' cheekiness that ultimately saves the day.
Director Janet Bennett has put together a production that does exactly what it says on the tin – a good old-fashioned comedy that provides a welcome escape from the turmoils of the 21st century and judging by the audience reaction The Happiest Days of Your Life is exactly the fillip required.
About New Era
This small, friendly and very successful theatre group was established in Newbury in 1978, and we are lucky enough to have our own small theatre in Wash Common. (click here for a map). We produce several plays each year covering a wide variety of theatrical styles.
New Players Acting Membership
Share the experience of performing on stage; join the challenge of set-building or the creativity of costume design; enjoy the teamwork in whatever direction your talents take you. You could be an active participant in our future productions, or join us for play readings, workshops, theatre outings and a variety of social events. Whether you are experienced or just have bags of enthusiasm, you can be assured of a warm welcome.
If you are interested in becoming an acting member please email our membership coordinator at the address .
To book tickets for any of our productions, please contact our Box Office on 07919 916009 for more information.
The Happiest Days of Your Life, 27th to 30th November and 3rd to 7th December 2019
The Anniversary, 4th to 7th September and 11th to 14th September 2019. See the review in the archive.
All My Sons, 6th to 8th June and 11th to 15th June 2019. See the review in the archive.
The Tempest, 14th to 16th March and 19th to 23rd March 2019. See the review in the archive.
The Heiress, 28th to 30th November and 4th to 8th December 2018. See the review in the archive.
Second Person Narrative, 6th to 8th September and 11th to 15th September 2018. See the review in the archive.
A View from the Bridge, 14th to 16th June and 19th to 23rd June 2018. See the review in the archive.
The Glass Menagerie, 14th to 24th March 2018. See the review in the archive.
A Christmas Carol, 29th November to 9th December 2017. See the review in the archive.
Dear Lupin, 7th to 9th September and 12th to 16th September 2017. See the review in the archive.
The Importance of Being Earnest, 6th to 8th July 2017 at Shaw House Outdoor Theatre, Newbury
Di and Viv and Rose, 15th to 17th June and 20th to 24th June 2017. See the review in the archive.
The Kitchen Sink, 15th to 18th March and 21st to 25th March 2017. See the review in the archive.
Sneaking into the Theatre, 9th to 11th February 2017. See the review in the archive.
Collaborators, 30th November to 3rd December and 6th to 10th December 2016. See the review in the archive.
October Double Bill 2016, 27th to 29th October 2016. See the review in the archive.
The Importance Of Being Earnest, 7th to 10th September and 13th to 17th September 2016. See the review in the archive.
Pride and Prejudice, 30th June to 2nd July 2016. See the review in the archive.
God of Carnage, 8th to 11th June and 14th to 18th June 2016. See the review in the archive.
Gaslight, 9th to 12th March and 14th to 19th March 2016. See the review in the archive.
Foxfinder, 2nd to 5th December and 8th to 12th December 2015. See the review in the archive.
Twists in the Tales, 29th to 31st October 2015. See the review in the archive.
Pride and Prejudice, 9th to 12th September and 15th to 19th September 2015
Be My Baby, 11th to 13th June and 16th to 20th June 2015. See the review in the archive.
Travels With My Aunt, 12th to 14th March and 17th to 21st March 2015. See the review in the archive.
Someone Somewhere Smiled, 12th to 14th February 2015. See the review in the archive.
The Memory of Water, 4th to 6th December and 9th to 13th December 2014. See the review in the archive.
An Evening with Valerie Maskell, 16th to 18th October 2014
Oh What a Lovely War, 11th to 20th September 2014. See the review in the archive.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 3rd to 5th July 2014
Heroes, 12th to 21st June 2014. See the review in the archive.
The Passion, 24th to 28th March 2014 at St John's Church, Newbury. See the review in the archive.
Calendar Girls, 29th November to 7th December 2013. See the review in the archive.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 12th to 21st September 2013. See the review in the archive.
Our Man In Havana, 13th to 15th June and 18th to 22nd June 2013
Happy Birthday Mr Shakespeare, 25th to 27th April 2013
Quartet, 14th to 16th March and 19th to 23rd March 2013. See the review in the archive.
Absent Friends, November 2012. See the review in the archive.
When We Are Married, September 2012
Sylvia, June 2012
The Actor and the Audience, April 2012
Talking Heads, March 2012
Bouncers, December 2011
People Snogging in Public Places, October 2011
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby: Part Two, September 2011
Disposing of the Body, March 2011
Twelfth Night, December 2010
Amy's View, September2010
Humble Boy, March 2010
The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery, December 2009
Nicholas Nickelby, September 2009
Present Laughter, March 2009
The Lion in Winter, November 2008
84 Charing Cross Road, September 2008
Hobson's Choice, June 2008
Duet For One, March 2008
Playhouse Creatures, November 2007
Make Way for Lucia, March 2007
The Trojan Women, March 2007
The Philadelphia Story, November 2006
Art, September 2006
A Murder Is Announced, June 2006
The Winslow Boy, March 2006
Arms and the Man, December 2005
Single Spies, September 2005
This Happy Breed, June 2005
The Playboy of the Western World, March 2005
The Miser, November 2004
Shadowlands, September 2004
Solitaire, a set of monologues, June 2004
The Beauty Queen of Leenane, March 2004
The Murder of Maria Martin, or The Red Barn, November 2003
Maskerade, September 2003
Pygmalion, June 2003
Shakers, March 2003
Daisy Pulls it Off, December 2002
Les Liaisons Dangereuses, September 2002
The Red Hot Donahue Sisters Discover Droitwich, June 2002
Next to a Stranger, March 2002
The Fire Raisers, December 2001
Rattle of a Simple Man, September 2001
Suddenly At Home, June 2001
Cider With Rosie, March 2001
A Woman in Mind, December 2000
Charley's Aunt, September 2000
Letter from a General
Night School; Landscape; Victoria Station
Dancing at Lughnasa
The Birthday Party
Arsenic and Old Lace
Under Milk Wood
The Plough & the Stars
Ring Round the Moon
Born in the Gardens
Shadow of a Gunman
The Prisoner of 2nd Avenue
The Real Thing
Le Malade Imaginaire
Juno & the Paycock