Past productions -

recent reviews below


       
       
       
2017 Pieces of After Eight 2017 Entertaining Angels
2016 Singin' in the Rain  2016 Tons of Money
2015* Oliver! 2015 Steel Magnolias 
2014 100 Years of Great British Entertainment 2014 Stepping Out
2013 Return to the Forbidden Planet 2013 Blithe Spirit
2012 Viva Mexico 2012 California Suite
2011* Chess  2011  The Hollow
2010 Musical World 2010 The Happiest Days of Your Life
2009 Carousel 2009 When we are Married
2008 Kiss Me Kate 2008 Hay Fever
2007 Sweet Charity 2007 Beside the Seaside
2006* Fiddler OnThe Roof 2005 Guys and Dolls
2004* Music Man 2003 Funny Girl
2002 Showtime 2001 My Fair Lady
2000 Anything Goes 1999 Me and My Girl
1998 Call Me Madam 1997* Fiddler on the roof
1996 Hello Dolly 1995 Brigadoon
1994 Annie Get Your Gun 1994 Bugsy Malone
1993* The Pyjama Game 1992 Gigi
1991 The Music Man 1990 Sound of Music
1989 Calamity Jane 1987 Trial By Jury
1986 Guys and Dolls 1985 Fiddler on the roof
1984 Carousel    
1983 Let the People Sing 1983 1939/43 KATS abroad
1982 All our Yesterdays 1982 Old Tyme Music Hall
1981 South Pacific 1980 Dick Turpin
1979 No No Nanette 1978 Oklahoma
1977 Sweet Charity 1976 Showboat
1975 Viva Mexico 1974 Orpheus in the u’world
1973 The Gypsy Baron 1972 Me and My Girl
1971 The Quaker Girl 1970 The Gondoliers
1969 Pink Champagne 1968 Free as Air
1967 The Merry Widow 1966 Oklahoma
1965 The Mikado 1964 The Lilac Domino
1963 Pirates of Penzance 1962 The Quaker Girl
1961 The Desert Song 1960 Iolanthe
1959 The Gondliers 1958 Rebel Maid
1957 Yeoman of the Guard 1956 The Mikado
  (Society disbanded) 1932 Ruddigore
1931 Nell Gwynn 1930 Yeoman of the Guard
1929 The Mikado 1928 The Gondoliers
1927 H.M.S Pinafore 1926 Merrie England
1924 Les Cloches de Cornville 1923 The Rebel Maid
1922 The Mountbanks 1920 La Mascotte
1913 Ermine 1912 Pirates of Penzance
1911 Dorothy 1910 Yeoman of the Guard
1909 Patience 1908 Rip Van Winkle
1907 Les Cloches de Cornville 1902 H.M.S Pinafore
1901 Trial by Jury

 

Recent reviews:

 

Oliver! - March 2015

 

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NODA review - OLIVER – KINGSBRIDGE AMATUER THEATRICAL SOCIETY

MALBOROUGH VILLAGE HALL – MARCH 2015

Director : Lynne Deller

MD : John Amery

Choreographer : Suzie Boyle

Asst Choreographer : Beverley Adams

Designer : Jill Brock

 

I have seen this show so many times, both amateur and professional, and directed it myself, that I almost know it backwards. It is a good box office choice and therefore not surprising that KATS made this choice. Knowing this society of old, I knew I would see a good quality production. However , with a largely new production team, I wasn't quite expecting the superb production that I watched.

 

I can quite truthfully say that this was one of the best, if not THE best amateur production of this show I have seen, and that includes some quite impressive large scale enterprises.

 

I was bowled over by the standard of performance and the imagination of presentation, right from the opening through to the finale. A huge amount of preparation had gone into this production and this was very clearly evident. I could quite easily have sat through it all again immediately.

 

Jill Brock had designed a very atmospheric and good looking setting, that worked very well on this limited stage and utilised every bit of space. Not once did the staging look contrived. The show progressed from scene to scene without delay thus ensuring a very impressive pace. Costumes too were first rate and this , along with the lighting, ensured that visually, the production had impact.

 

Musically, John Amery had assembled an excellent band from his tried and trusted musicians, and situated slightly to stage left, they supported the players without ever drowning the vocals and also maintained a brisk pace, so essential to avoid stagnation of scenes.

 

The dramatic and musical staging was always imaginative, kept the show moving , and there was always something to watch. No one was static for long. This really was an ensemble piece and a delight to watch. The youngsters had been well drilled and gave a very professional performance as did the adults. Given a company of essentially non dancers, the choreography was well suited . The entire company performed the routines with energy and real determination and the musical numbers had great impact. I loved the imagination of the choreography.

 

The cast , and there were a lot of them, were very well chosen. Although many roles are mere cameos in this show, everyone played their parts well and made their mark. There are some lovely characters in this piece and some really lovely performances came though. Everyone resisted the temptation to turn this into Victoria Melodrama, and a gritty realism shone through, which I liked. In fact , when I directed this piece myself, It made me realise just how dark a story this is. Given the content of the story I am amazed it ended up as a family musical !!!

 

I cannot mention everyone in the excellent cast but obviously must make mention of Oliver (Archie Feetenby) and Dodger ( Ella Crossland). In fact Ella portrayed a boy so realistically that I didn't realise , until the interval, that it was in fact a girl playing the role. Max Brandt was quite simply the best Fagin I have ever seen, amatuer or professional. This was a superb portrayal. Simone Sullivan Gilbury made a real feast of the ultimately tragic femme fatale Nancy. Dan Sinnot was a suitably menacing Bill Sykes. Christine Bonner was as always very entertaining to watch as Widow Corney ably supported by Les Crowther as Bumble. The entire company worked as one and there were no weak links.

 

Were there any criticisms ? Well, just a couple of really minor ones. Bullseye the dog clearly didn't want to be on stage and his efforts to try and get away were quite entertaining but at the expense of the drama of that scene. Also I did feel that some of the choreography was perhaps slightly too modern for the piece, but it was so well performed that it didn't really matter. These were really minor points though, as I can quite truthfully say that this was probably the best KATS show I ever seen (and I have seen some good ones here) and the best Oliver I have ever seen.

 

 

 

Stepping Out  - 17-20 September 2014


A sold-out spectacular success!!!!!


A huge well done to all involved!

 

 

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STEPPING OUT – KINGSBRIDGE AMATUER THEATRICAL SOCIETY

MALBOROUGH VILLAGE HALL – SEPTEMBER 2014

Director : Wendy Morrall

Choreographer : Beverley Adams

 

NODA review, Iain Douglas 

 

Richard Harris descried his play as “ a play with tap dancing” but in fact it is much more than that. Amateur tap dancers meet on a weekly basis to learn the basics of tap and also to prepare for a performance in a dance display. They are comprised of a motley collection of females (including a rather querulous pianist ) and one solitary male .

 

As the story progresses we get little insights into the lives of the various characters who are all flawed in various ways and have their own problems. Gossip and tensions come to the fore , friendships are forged, but ultimately, as with the cast in real life, the motley group band together as a team to produce their hard worked for tap routine.

 

Jules McColl was a suitable breezy and sometimes beset Mavis. She had just the right tone for the tap teacher. I noticed that she didn't actually do much tapping herself but this mattered not as she took control of the scenes naturally as her character would have had to in order to run the classes. Jill Clarke was very entertaining as Mrs Fraser, the rather obstreperous pianist, who offered advice when required and sometimes if it wasn't required.

 

In this play, the character that always entertains me the most is that of Vera, the social climber and snob. Ultimately I find this character the saddest of the lot as we discover, in passing, that her husband is likely having an affair with a family member. Christine appeared in some quite bizarre outfits that really entertained.

 

Gavin Alston made a welcome return to the Malborough stage as Geofrrey, a real socially withdrawn character, who forms a budding relationship with Andy (Apple Taylor) who I also withdrawn. Their awkwardness was well presented, especially by Apple as we learn that this character is on the verge of having an affair, but doesnt quite make it.

 

Gossip threatens to disrupt some of the friendships and tensions arising out of the efforts to learn the routine provide much of the business in this piece. Proving that its often the minutiae of life that is most entertaining, and dont we know it from our own rehearsals.

 

The entire company proved team players and I will refrain from mentioning everyone , but there were no weak links, and all performances were entertaining. There is often a trend with this play, to become too fake. Never forget these people are real characters and character trends (shyness, snobbishness etc) should not be over done so as to become caricatures. Thankfully this was largely avoided in this production.

 

The set was superb and very realistic and managed to make this limited stage look huge. The final routines were well staged and provided a very satisfying conclusion to another excellent play from this talented company.

 

 

 

 

Review, by James Stevenson


KATS did it again last week at Malborough Village Hall with their fun-filled summer play STEPPING OUT. Most of the dancing in this Richard Harris 1984 comedy was absolutely terrible but that's exactly what director Wendy Morrall and choreographer Beverley Adams intended. It’s the story of a motley group of would-be dancers under the instruction of ex-professional hoofer Mavis, played with skill and energy by Jules McColl, who teaches her students, keeps the peace and pacifies her umbrage-taking pianist Mrs Fraser (Jill Clark at her most formidable).

 

Chattering hopefuls turn up at a dreary village hall for dance classes and I felt like an eavesdropper listening in to their complicated lives. Adele and Lynne (Rebecca Tuck and Kirsty Bonner) showed well-honed dancing skills from the start but Dorothy (Teresa Chapman) had a surfeit of left feet and looked permanently bewildered. Maxine (Emma Peacock) was clearly distracted by thoughts of sex and a complicated home life so no wonder she was struggling. Andy (long for Ann) played by Apple Taylor didn’t seem like dancer material to me, lacking in self-esteem but feisty on occasion and keen to get her mousey claws into the only male dancer in the group. Geoffrey (Gavin Alston) was benignly tolerant, barred from the only dressing room and forced to swap trousers behind an inadequate screen.

 

Enter posh Vera played by KATS star Christine Bonner who flaunted herself in several eye-catching outfits including a red spray-on second skin. Gaby Clarke, another KATS favourite, was the long-legged scouser Rose who produced laughs every time she opened her mouth. Sylvia (Pam Reeves) was superb as the outspoken rebel who insisted on bringing her bicycle indoors but didn’t always manage to persuade her friend Diane (Jane Riley) to go “down the wine bar” after every session.

 

But what’s this? Just before the interval an unexpected invitation arrives. Can we really expect these people to perform at an important event run by flustered charity-show manager Will Reid? Not blooming likely was my first thought. But rise they did. What a transformation! Casting aside all those brilliantly acted hang-ups, lack of co-ordination and self-doubt, the Mavis Turner Tappers gave us a spectacular, heart-warming and truly memorable finale of high kicks, staccato heel-taps, slick rhythm and musical fun. The audience absolutely loved it.

 

Well done performers, director, choreographer, lighting, sound people, the imaginative wardrobe team and every unsung back-stager who helped make it happen. 


 

 

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Great British Entertainment

Reviews of the March 2014 show

 

100 YEARS OF GREAT BRITISH ENTERTAINMENT - Malcolm MacIntosh

 

Having had the privilege of directing KATS in two previous musicals, I, more than most, appreciate how talented they are. However, even I had not realised the depth of talent within their ranks.


Last night I attended their latest offering, 100 Years of British Entertainment and once more the group rose to the challenge of presenting a professional musical –celebrating the last century of the songs, dance and comedy that Britain has given the world.

 

Fittingly, the evening began with a portrait of what Britain was like as the First World War began, with Gilbert & Sullivan’s ‘For he is an English Gentleman’, quickly moving on to a medley of Music Hall songs including a saucy version of ‘When I take my Morning Promenade’ made famous by Marie Lloyd.

 

But we were reminded that this was 1914, as the stage became quite still for a recital of the poem ‘For the Fallen’, which of course includes the immortal lines “….At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.” It would have been easy for the producers to simply dwell on the great songs of the time, but it was to their credit that these moving moments were also included.

 

As we were brought into the 1940’s, so we heard songs from the period such as ‘White cliffs of Dover’ and ‘Sally’. This was nostalgia country, as the lady sitting in front of me will testify. She was nodding and humming along, and enjoying herself immensely. The humour was provided with an excerpt from Dad’s Army, a Noel Coward song and two very funny Joyce Grenfell monologues.

 

We then moved into the 50’s and 60’s with My Fair Lady, and the Beatles. We were reminded that this was the era of the swinging sixties with an original and very clever poem called ‘I was there’.

 

The adult performers then wisely left the stage (“never perform with children”), as KATS Young Performers took over with a Spike Milligan poem and Charlie Drake’s ‘Naughty’. The company need have no fears for the future when they have such talented youngsters coming through. Later in the evening we saw them perform ‘Truly Scrumptious’, two songs from Billy Elliot, and ‘When I grow up’ from Matilda. The hard work that these youngsters had put into their performances was clear to everyone. We will see a lot more from these very talented young people, and they have a great future ahead of them.

 

The first half ended with a bang with ‘Vitality’ by Ivor Novello and Alan Melville. However, if anything the second half had even more vitality, and as we heard the opening theme from James Bond, we knew we were still in the 1960’s. The company performed ‘Who will buy’ from Oliver, moving on to ‘Flash Bang Wallop’, complete with an actual flash on stage from the effects guys.

 

We were then in the Golden Age of comedy, with sketches from Fawlty Towers, Monty Python and the wonderful ‘The song that goes like this’, from Spamalot, which parodies every romantic musical that you can think of. It makes one realise what a debt of gratitude we owe to the Monty Python team.

 

We were now in the 70’s and 80’s, with a song from the haunting Blood Brothers musical. But the humour was never far away and we were treated to a further contribution from two members of Young KATS (you can’t keep them down) with a few very funny (and very silly) news items from the two Ronnies. The audience loved it.

 

You cannot present a musical through the ages without a tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber, and we were given no less than four songs from some of his most memorable hits. What a talent he is, and how beautifully his songs were sung. I thought they were one of the highlights of the evening.

 

But just when you thought it was all over…. we were brought up to date with French & Saunders, Alan Bennett, an hysterical British Airways sketch sung as the ‘Flower Duet’ and a re-enactment of the Battle of Trafalgar, complete with Health & Safety officer – where did they get that from? And for a finale, the complete cast sang Elton John’s marvellous ‘Circle of Life’ from the Lion King.

 

Did I say a finale? What British celebration would be complete without ‘Land of Hope and Glory’? And KATS gave it to us, complete with a union jack for everyone to wave. It was a great ending to a great celebration of British entertainment over the past 100 years.

 

You will notice that I have not made mention of any single performer in this review. With 37 performers and 3 band members, and every one of them giving their all, it does not seem appropriate to pick out anyone in particular. As young Mr Grace would have said, “You’ve all done very well”. However, I will congratulate the director, Christine Bonner for bringing everything together and her direction team of Grant Davis, Gaby Clarke, Jules McColl, choreographers Beverley Adams and Sue Sharp, production manager Wendy Morrall as well as band leader David Auty for having the vision to give us truly marvellous evening’s entertainment.

 

Throughout the evening, at the side of the stage there were two lecterns, manned by two distinguished commentators who guided us through the periods in our history and reminded us of just how special British Entertainment has always been. As one of them remarked, “…for a small nation, we really punch above our weight.”

 

Malcolm MacIntosh

 

 

100 YEARS OF BRITISH ENTERTAINMENT - NODA review

KATS – Kingsbridge Malborough Village Hall - March 2014

Directors : Christine Bonner / Gaby Clarke / Grant Davies / Jules McColl

Choreography : Beverley Adams / Sue Sharp

Musical Director : David Auty

 

Having suffered a large production loss last year on their wonderful production of “Return to the Forbidden Planet” funds were not available for a full scale musical this year and the emphasis had to be on fund raising. The compromise was to stage this entertaining production on a reduced budget, and what a great evening it turned out to be. All too often I have seen groups staging shows such as this, attempting to save funds, and ending up presenting a low standard show. Not so here, proving what a good array of ability and talent there exists within the ranks of KATS. The up side of these shows is that many people who would not normally get a chance to show their talents in a book musical, get a chance and when it works, it works well, and it worked well here.

 

This was a rapid run through the last 100 years from 1914 utilising musical items of each period, poems, comedy sketches and dances. This was done in chronological order therefore the first 20 minutes of the show felt quite dated. However this proved to be a good contrast to what was to come. With items from “The Arcadians” and a music Hall Medley among others, we were quickly jerked back into reality with Laurence Binyons “For the Fallen” . However from then on it was fun all the way. By the interval we were in the 1950's and 1960's. The second half brought us bang up to date.

 

The musical numbers were all well delivered with some simple choreography. Costumes were provided by the company and formed a basic red and black combination which worked well. The simple set comprised of designs to the rear which were changed in the interval and some seats and staircases. This worked very well and with some very good lighting (and good use of back lighting to show cast in relief) the visual side was reminiscent of a full scale musical with bigger production values.

 

However, for me, the evening really came to life with the comedy sketches. We had items from Spike Milligan, Frost Report, Fawlty Towers, Monty Python, The Two Ronnies, French and Saunders, and Talking Heads, which were all brilliantly presented. I also loved the hilarious alternative BA advertisement (Delibes/Keen) . The second half visited such shows as Oliver, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Billy Elliot, and a rousing finale from The Lion King before we could wave our flags to land of Hope and Glory. There was the inevitable Lloyd Webber medley – and why not – it was a celebration of British Entertainment after all.

 

Apart from the comedy sketches, the other stand out element of the evening was the use of younger society members who proved to have an abundance of talent. Luke Adams and Joe Tapper proved to have great comic timing in their Two Ronnies news sketch, Archie Feetenby gave a stunning rendition of “Who Will Buy”, Isla McColl impressed with 3 short Spike Milligan poems, and Talia Robens and Kirsty Bonner also impressed. The kids as a group performed When I Grow Up from Matilda.

 

The adults were not to be outdone, though, and Christine Bonner and Jules McColl in particular proved to have great comic presence.

 

These talents do not often get displayed in a book musical and ultimately this evening had such great variety, that despite my initial misgivings during the first 15 minutes, I was completely drawn in and left after 90 minutes, really happy and buzzing. I hasten to add that my misgivings were not based on ability (the initial numbers were great) it was just the content. However if the years had been jumbled up, the audience would have become confused and running the show in order led to a well planned evening that kept the audience well on track.

 

Musical accompaniment from a three piece band was more than adequate and the evenings comperes (Jill Clarke and Mike Davies) were suitably restrained and were not dominant (as comperes shouldn't take over !! - I once saw a show like this where the compere was like a very bad comedy act and just wouldn't shut up !!)

 

Bravo, KATS. After my disappointment that you weren't doing a full show, I am very pleased to say that it mattered not one jot. This was as good as most book musicals and probably better than a lot of them for entertainment value. Congratulations to the entire team.