by Heather Adams-Officer
Reviewer: Douglas Clark
Written and directed by club stalwart Heather Adams Officer this version of Robin Hood was full of fun, good music and excellent choreography from the opening chorus of “Men in Tights” through “You Can’t Stop The Beat” to what has become the traditional finale “Reach”. Katie Ironside was a traditional thigh-slapping principal boy and was well matched by Abbey Patterson as a spirited Maid Marion. Heather Adams Officer as the blue-suited Minstrel did well as narrator of the piece keeping the audience and the cast on track. Murray Lawson, in his first principal role, made a handsome – if dim-witted – Little John, a fact which did not go unnoticed by Garry Brindley’s dame Nursie. His lecherous looks and actions, along with his rendition of “Man! I Feel Like A Woman”, had the audience in stitches. Tim Roberts was striking as the man in red Will Scarlett and Lewis Maitland, again in his first principal role, was a genial Friar Tuck. Andrew Dart as the Sherriff of Nottingham, the villain of the piece, had the audience booing and hissing well at his dastardly attempts to capture Robin and then marry Marion. In these endeavours he was assisted - or should that be hindered – by Liz Forrest’s Quincey Quiver, whose facial expressions were a delight! Strong support was given by Heather Stewart (robbed Man), Joanna Murray (Peddler) and Peter Esson (King Richard). The highlight of the show for me, and for the rest of audience as attested by their reaction, was the superb rendition of “Jobs (If I Were Not In Pantomime)” by the Merry Men, Nursie and Quincey, a combination of witty lyrics and immaculate comic timing – how one of them didn’t end up knocked over or with a black eye is a miracle! Costuming was bright and appropriate filling the stage with colour. The set, built by company members, was relatively simple but very effective and the lighting added much to the atmosphere. Congratulations to all at the Ury Players for once again bringing colour and laughter to the local community at this cold and dark time of year!
by Willy Russell
22 June 2018
Reviewer: Gordon Smith
It was a refreshing change to be invited to review a play and a Willy Russell one made the anticipation even stronger. The action takes place at Christmas time where family members have gathered to celebrate the season. Phrases like “all for show” and “keeping up with the Joneses” sum up the hilarious mood but with Willy Russell’s astute character observations there is of course much more going on. Housewife Betty carries the play and Lynn Zaccarini painted her character beautifully right from the opening curtain with Garry Brindley’s effortless portrayal of her hen-pecked husband, Syd, a good foil. Heather Adams Officer played Sandra their daughter with the right amount of sullenness. Macho Jimmy, Betty’s brother performed with ease by Andrew Dart, takes no time in extracting Syd’s secret flirtation at work. His wife Vera however finds it hard to get a word in edgeways with Betty. But with Liz Forrest in the part she manages to convey her feelings in a wealth of expressions. Betty has her match in sister Reeny. Freda Adams tackled the part with a soft voice which barely conceals her steely determination to be one-up on everyone. With Douglas Clark as her car-obsessed husband, Ted, he is a very convincing support for his wife, while their seemingly perfect daughter Janet is performed with style by Heather Smith. It is only when Sandra’s secret boyfriend, Tim played very ably by Tim Roberts enters the fray that we discover Sandra is pregnant and has no intentions of marrying. Shocks follow when the audience learns the rather sinister reason for Janet’s meek demeanour. The characterisation, comedy timing and diction throughout was impressive. A truly entertaining evening.
Puss In Boots
by tlc Creative
9th December 2017
Reviewer: Brian McDonald
This was a colourful production with excellent costumes and lots of laughs. Dame Hettie Quette (Garry Brindley) growled his way cheekily through the panto. Douglas Clark’s diction was crystal clear and his portrayal of King Herbert was beautifully brow beaten until the end when he asserted himself right regally! The Narrator (Heather Stewart) oozed charm as she guided us through the story. Jack (Kirsty Lockhart) and Puss (Heather Smith) had me believing cats could talk, with Puss’s make-up and costume being especially superb. All the cast shone throughout but special mention goes to Andrew Dart as Lord Roger, whose confident stage presence and first class diction made him a baddie par excellence. The dancing was very good and the music, which was mostly pre-recorded, was well chosen. Directors Russell Adams and Gordon Smith did a slick job of getting a polished performance from the Ury Players. All in all a dazzling display. It certainly got the audience and me in Panto mood – oh yes it did!
The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society: Murder Mystery
by David McGillivray, Walter Zerlin Jr.
16th June 2017
Reviewer: Ron Stewart
I was delighted to be dragged out of “retirement” to cover this show for my successor Gordon, who was on holiday. It has always been a delight to attend the Ury Players’ plays in Stonehaven Town Hall and this trip was no exception. This comedy has probably the longest title in theatre but on this occasion the smallest cast playing numerous characters. How the members of Ury Players even remembered who they were at any time during the show beats me but remember they did and the collapsing set, falling pictures and confused props brought back many memories of on-stage disasters over the years. The murder mystery is set in the drawing room of Checkmate Manor where the family are gathering for the reading of Sir Reginald Bishop’s will. In total control at all times was Lynn Zaccarini as the club chairperson Mrs Reece. As director of the play she oversees everything as well as playing the parts of Clarissa Rook, Regine the French Maid, Patricia Bishop, Letitia Bishop and Mr Goodbody the Solicitor. Freda Adams as club member Thelma played the various roles of Daphne Bishop and Rose Bishop while Liz Forrest as Audrey, held the parts of Lady Doreen Bishop, Mrs King, Violet Bishop and Joan Bishop. (Are you still following all this???) Heather Stewart as Felicity, handled the roles of Pawn, the Butler and Colonel Bishop with aplomb while the final character in the piece was the only male in the cast, Tim Roberts as Gordon, playing the rather confused at times Inspector O’Reilly. Add to all the murders and mystery the addition of a hilarious song and dance number, a “fashion show” and audience quiz and you had the totally confusing, but superbly entertaining evening of dramatic farce at its best expertly produced and directed by Fiona Westland. Thank you Ury Players – once again!
9th December 2016
Reviewer: Gordon Smith
I was delighted to cover this performance for my first assignment outwith my own district. A bright lively start to this production was provided by Buttons enthusiastically played by Mary Robertson. She would certainly give the Duracell bunny a run for his money! The scene was further set for the classic Cinderella story by the appearance of the suitably evil stepmother performed by Liz Forrest. Then it was hold onto to your seats as the two Ugly Sisters, Salmonella and Listeria made their entrance, living up to their names and reputations. King Victor (Douglas Clark) was convincingly regal, while Prince Charming (Kirsty Lockhart) and Cinderella (Tamara Scherwitzel) were delightedly matched in their singing and acting performances. They were very ably supported by Katy Ironside as Dandini. When the Ugly Sisters weren’t keeping the audience entertained, more humour was at hand with comedy duo Rough & Ready (Tim Roberts and Freda Adams). Two mice in the shape of Ellen Hay and Heather Smith ably assisted the magic of the Fairy played nicely by Heather Adams Officer. The clever choice of music was provided by a combination of backing tracks and live playing by Morag Hill (piano) and Amy Makepeace (drums). Individual mics were not used in this production and the company did well to project and be heard over the hiss and boo of the lively audience who were engaged throughout. An entertaining and enjoyable production, enhanced by some lovely touches provided by the dancers and chorus members. The very cleverly staged arrival of Cinderella’s coach receiving well deserved applause. Well done to all.