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By W.S Gilbert & A. Sullivan


NODA Review by Frank Wooles

Welcome GentryI caught up with our peripatetic players at the Paget Rooms, Penarth, the third and last of their venues in March, to find that Concept had emptied the toy box and in their own inimitable and innovative way created a nursery bedtime story to present a very acceptable, colourful and funny version of Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore. Dame Hannah/Grandma, played with warmth and beautifully sung by Janet Holloway, entertains her two grandchildren, Mary (Rachel Jones) and Alex (Luke Wadden); two confident and mature young performers. from the toy box comes a ballet dancing Rose Maybud, delightfully danced and sung by Ellie Hoare, and her shy suitor, well played by Paul Buckle, as a skateboarding yokel, Robin Oakapple. Tim Brown continually broke into a hornpipe as the clockwork hero sailor Richard Dauntless, and Ann Braley was quite unnerving as a demented rag-doll, Mad Margaret. A faithful hound dog performance by Steve Davies as family retainer Adam Goodheart, and Nigel Holloway doubling as Grandpa and a fangless vampire, Sir Despard, meeting up with Sean Gomez as the poor old family ghost, Sir Roderick. You will have got the idea by now but the purists had nothing to fear in this re-telling which remained faithful in line and note to Gilbert and Sullivan. Well performed and sung to a high standard by cast and company this was a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable evening. Oh, and I didn't mention the tap dancing paper-chain troupe of bridesmaids who almost stole the show. Unforgettable and hilarious. A fine production by Janet Holloway with secure musical support under the baton of Jo Herco. Simply and effectively staged and with a colourful and imaginative wardrobe from within the society.

What a lot Concept have achieved in ten years and with our congratulations go our good wishes for success and harmony in the years ahead. May you continue to surprise us.


Originally published October 2004


Penarth Times

Penarth Times Review on Thursday March 25th 2004:

The paper dolliesIf a concept is a new idea then the Concept Players are well named judging by their production of Ruddigore, staged last week in the Paget Rooms. This well loved G&S piece is performed often enough to need a fresh approach and director Janet Holloway is to be praised for the innovative twist she gave this production. Starting as a bedtime story to amuse her grandchildren, well played by Luke Wadden, Grandma, played by the director, recounted the ancient curse of Ruddigore. She used the children's toys as characters in the story, the cast then appear as replicas of the toys to tell the story to us and the children.

Stars of the production had to be Dancing Dollies (ladies chorus), who were costumed and made up to represent a row of cut out paper dolls. The heroine, Rose, was prettily played by lovely Ellie Hoare.

Each character in the story was introduced by Grandma who brought the toy equivalent from the toy box. It was cleverly done and fine performances were given by all the cast. Mention must be made of Anne Braley, the rag doll who became Mad Margaret, who crawled the stage, rode a scooter and a skateboard, singing beautifully all the whiles. Basingstoke it was Anne!

Jo Herco was the musical director. The Concept Players boast  some excellent singers and they were in fine form last week, well trained by Jo. Typically for a G&S Operetta, the score was complicated, fast and furious in places, wordy with a rich texture of harmonies. The cast coped extremely well with it all, keeping clarity and energy levels high from start to finish.

This is Concept Players' 10th year and they are proving to be a clever and versatile company, performing musicals, operettas and plays - especially farces, and tour their productions to several local theatres. Judging by the audience's obvious enjoyment, they were very well received at the Paget rooms.

I look forward to their next visit.



"This is Concept Players' 10th year and they are proving to be a clever and versatile company"


Penarth Times


Gilbert deliberatey set out to parody the comtemporary fashion for melodrama: there is a priggishly good-mannered virtuous heroine, a villain who carries off the maiden, a hero in disguise and his faithful old retainer who dreams of their former glory days, the snake-in-the-grass sailor who claims to be following his heart, the wild, mad girl, the swagger of fire-eating patriotism and, to top it all, ghosts coming to life to enforce a curse. But Gilbert's topsy-turvy view turns this upside down: the hero becomes evil, the villain becomes good, and the virtuous maiden changes fiancés at the drop of a hat. The ghosts come back to life, foiling the curse, and all ends happily.