90th Year: Triple Bill

March 2018

2018 marks the 90th year of Boston Playgoers Society! And we are planning to celebrate in style, beginning with a special triple bill of short plays for our March production.

Swan Song by Vanessa Brooks
Donald, a sardonic and weary Chartered Surveryor, is retiring from the long-established, small town company he’s devoted himself to for the last 35 years. Margaret is his hardworking, unmarried secretary who has devoted herself to Donald. On his last day, Donald has planned to spend the day doing what he wants to do, but Mimi, his bored, lonely wife has other ideas.

Where The Mushrooms Grow - written & directed by Kei Bailey
Jeremy has lost his dog. It is the weekend and he is calling door to door locally in the hope of finding someone who has sighted the allusive canine. He decides to venture up the long, overgrown driveway of a property called Honeystone Nook, a pretty but rundown cottage on the edge of town. When he arrives, he is invited inside by a drab, awkward woman and soon finds he is a reluctant guest in the home of the eccentric Gribble family.

Last Tango in Little Grimley by David Tristram
Little Grimley Amateur Dramatic Society is in trouble. The membership has dwindled to four - the audiences aren't much bigger - and if they don't come up with some rent money soon, they're going to be thrown out. "There's only one thing that sells tickets these days" argues Gloria the Chairman. "Sex!" Thus begins the chaotic and hilarious build-up to an evening of extraordinary home-grown drama - an evening the locals would never forget!

From the programme:

This is Boston Playgoers 90th year. What an achievement! 90 years of entertainment brought to the local community by an array of wonderfully talented local people. I first became aware of Boston Playgoers when I met Paul Gibson whilst working at Blackfriars Arts Centre. He was directing a play called Murder Room which starred, amongst others, a certain Melissa Marlowe (now Melissa Poulson) who I have had the pleasure of directing and acting with in several of the society’s subsequent productions. That was back in 2004 . . .
I joined the society in 2007 when I directed The Farndale Avenue’s Production of Macbeth, a hilarious play which was brilliant fun to do and, in fact, featured Rachel Rowett and Abby Johnson who are still performing regularly with the group and appear in tonight’s short plays. Since then, I have been involved with a number of Playgoers’ productions, both on and off stage, so it was a great honour to be asked to write an original play for the society as part of their 90th year celebrations. Where the Mushrooms Grow is my first black comedy. It was a real challenge, particularly as it was written straight after I’d just finished a pantomime script, but it was a challenge
I thoroughly enjoyed. I have also been lucky enough to direct it, and to watch such an experienced and accomplished group of actors bring my characters to life has been an Incredibly fulfilling process. My play sits alongside two other very different comedies, Swan Song by Vanessa Brooks and Last Tango in Little Grimley by David Tristram, both of which are performed by a host of familiar faces who have been treading the boards with Boston Playgoers for a number of years. I hope you enjoy your evening and don’t forget to look out for news of our Autumn production in this, our very special celebratory, 90th year!
Kei Bailey, March 2018

Megan - Theatre Technician
Volunteers at Blackfriars Theatre & Art Centre
West End Furnishings
Boston Conservative Club

Cast - Swan Song
Jon Molson - Donald 
Sheila Millington - Margaret 
Carol Sinks - Mimi

Cast - Where The Mushrooms Grow
Rachel Rowett - Estella
Abby Johnson - Mother
Dan Poulson - Jeremy
Jo Warrick - Ernestine

Cast - Last Tango in Little Grimley
Jo Warrick - Gloria – Chairman of the Society
Sheila Millington - Joyce - Treasurer of the Society
Rachel Rowett - Margaret - Outspoken Committee Member
Dan Poulson - Bernard - Constructs Sets

* * * * * * * * *
Poster Design Melissa Poulson
Sound/Lighting Paul Gibson
Stage Manager Megan Rogers
Set Construction Paul Gibson & Members of Playgoers
Photography Neil Watson
Props/Costume Members of Playgoers

Images by Neil Watson Photography

Reviews by Peter Breach, NODA

Swan Song: This play was advertised as “An excellent choice for three mature actors”, and my goodness this is exactly what was presented to the audience; three very experienced, capable and competent thespians ideally cast in their respective roles. First there was Jon Molson (as Donald) whose 35 years working as a Chartered Surveyor in a long established small town company has given him a cynical attitude to life; he wishes he could be somewhere else, not spending his last day prior to his retirement at his work place. Working in the same office is Sheila Millington (as Margaret), Donald’s devoted unmarried secretary. As lunch time approaches these two embrace and declare their long concealed love for each other and decide to walk to the nearby lake and feed the swans. On their return to the office they find Donald’s wife ( played by Carol Spinks) in attendance but before Donald can explain the transfer of his affections to Margaret and that he will not be accompanying her to Spain he must say  farewell to the directors. After lying dormant for 35 years, will love blossom for Margaret? Sadly it seems not since she receives a phone call from her doctor’s surgery as she is about to go home. A poignant story beautifully played out!         

Where The Mushrooms Grow: Jeremy (played by Dan Poulson) has lost his dog and decides to make enquiries from residents to ascertain if there have been any sightings of the missing creature. During the course of his enquiries he ventures up a long driveway and arrives at a pretty but rundown cottage on the edge of town. He is invited in by a drab, awkward woman named Estella (played by Rachel Rowett) whose simple conversation is somewhat childlike. Jeremy is introduced to Estella’s mother (played by Abby Johnson) whose conversation consists solely of references to meat such as sausages, rissoles and chops. Estella wants Jeremy to be her friend and offers to make him a cup of tea. Since neither Estella nor her mother are able to provide information as to the whereabouts of his dog, Jeremy is anxious to leave and continue searching for the missing canine but he is persuaded to remain as Estella’s sister, Ernestine (played by Jo Warrick) is expected home shortly from her work in the pharmacy at the local hospital. Estella pleads with Jeremy to remain as Ernestine may well have seen this missing creature. On her arrival home Ernestine has an argument with Jeremy and her subsequent actions ends this intriguing tale.

Last Tango in Little Grimley: The local drama group is about to go under. Only four members are in attendance at the AGM, they are Gloria, the Chairman of the Society (played by Jo Warrick), Joyce, the Treasurer of the Society, (played by Sheila Millington), Margaret – an outspoken Committee Member (played by Rachel Rowett) and Bernard, who constructs the sets (played by Dan Poulson). The group’s recent productions have lost money and they owe rent to the owner of the hall. Their choice of future activities is somewhat restricted and although Joyce thinks the musical “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” would attract the public it has to be pointed out to her that with only one male, a set builder who doesn’t sing or act, this is not possible.

All is not lost! The Chairman states that she has written a play containing some sexual activity which is bound to attract large audiences since it is sex that sells anything. Joyce and Margaret are not at all keen on this idea; Bernard rubs his hands. In an attempt to placate the ladies Gloria explains that you just have to proclaim that the play has an adult theme and sexual content and this will be sufficient to attract people to buy tickets, no one will have the audacity to question what happened to the sexual content that was not delivered.

Rehearsals get under way. There are mixed-up scripts, problems with remembering lines and missed cues but the play gets staged and it attracts huge audiences. Substantial takings are generated - sufficient to pay off the debts of the Society and a bright future assured.

The small cast threw themselves into this highly comical production with great enthusiasm, their timing was superb and the sustained applause they received at the conclusion of it was richly deserved. Well done!