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Reviews & Awards

'Make believe is a wonderous thing, and the Company really took us down that route with this production.'
Noda review - Beauty and the Beast

'An excellent evening’s entertainment from this group, who continually strive to provide first class entertainment.'
NODA review - The Vicar of Dibley


NODA Reviews

 Show  Type  Year
 Alice... The Panto!  Pantomime  2018
 Third Week in August  Play  2017
 Mother Goose  Pantomime  2017
 RolePlay  Play   2016
 Beauty and the Beast
 Musical  2016
 The Vicar of Dibley
 Play  2015
 Dracula - a Panto With Teeth
 Pantomime  2015
 Hi De Hi
 Play  2014
 Snow White
 Pantomime  2014
 Timetwist  Variety  2013

NODA Awards and Nominations (Wales/Ireland Region, District 1)

Awards
2016
Best Drama - The Vicar of Dibley
Best Performance - Karen Dolan-Smith, the Vicar of Dibley
Outstanding Achievement Award - Kate Parry

2014
Technical and Stage Management - Timetwist

Nominations
2017
Best production: Disney's Beauty and the Beast Jr. (Jan 2016)
Best drama: RolePlay by Alan Ayckbourn (summer 2016)
2011
Allo Allo - Best Individual Performance

 

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Alice... The Panto! 


NODA WALES & IRELAND REGION
DISTRICT 1
CRICCIETH STARLIGHT PLAYERS
ALICE ….THE PANTO

Reviewed by Jackie Titley for Lyn Emmerson on 18 January 2018
Type of Production:  Pantomime.
Producer: Bryony Green.
Director: Ben Rosen.
Choreographer: Jenny Williams.
Musical Director: Dan Evans.

Review:

A show with lots and lots of energy. Alice in Wonderland, a well known story, adapted as a panto by the Starlight Players. As the producer Bryony says, lots of fun, laughter, singing and dancing. There were all of the elements of panto included, “he’s behind you”, “oh yes it is”, and lots of audience participation. There was even an Audience Participation Officer (Ben Rosen, the Director), who fell foul of the custard pies!

The action started from the audience which contained most of the cast. Like a flash mob, they arose from their seats to join in a lovely harmonised “In The Land Of Make Believe”.  Everyone had finger lights and the whole song was choreographed using the lights. All dressed in modern dress which was soon to be replaced by an absolutely wonderful array of costumes as the panto unfolded. Very well done Costume Team. I particularly liked the Queen of Hearts’ costume, so many details. The Queen (Kate Dunn) had a lovely singing voice and her portrayal of her character was 100% believeable. Many heads rolled and jelly baby gifts did not encourage young audience members to vote for her.

White Rabbit (Paul Stevenson) was extremely energetic throughout. He certainly ran young Alice (Eve Harris) around. She needed her energy to keep up with him. She had a lovely voice, quite mature for such a youngster.

Again, there was a clever use of lights in the fluorescent scene, even a teapot “tipping” the lights in the cup, very clever and appreciated by the audience. It was not long before Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Paul Dunn and Paula Carr) came to join the fun. More brightly coloured matching costumes and exhuberance. They worked well together.

The Fairy Godmother (Karen Tomkins) made an interesting entrance and set the theme of being a “foodie”, sticky buns, chocolate cake, ice cream accompanied her. Her spells inevitably went wrong and she never really knew who “Alice” was.

White Rabbit met his match when he asked “The Boss” (Julie Roberts) for payment for his hard work. With help from the audience and clever sums she convinced him that with weekends and holidays, etc. he actually didn’t work at all! We were also introduced to the caterpillar (Roy Stambrow and Bryony Green). This was another excellent costume and accompanied by their hookah they had to work together as they were connected at each end of the body.

We had to wait for the entrance of the Cheshire Cat (Ed Farrow) but it was worth the wait. Bright orange and stripes. He and Alice encouraged 2 children on to the stage and there was a rendition of Old MacDonald’s Farm.

The Duchess (Leisha Keane) and her baby took us up to the interval with her antics, losing and finding her baby in the audience. There were some, again, very colourful costumed chorus, animals, etc. who joined in a line dance which was well rehearsed. Young and adult members working alongside one another, all smiling and obviously enjoying themselves.

The scenery in the first half was to be commended – one hired mushroom set and the others designed and painted by an obviously very talented Peter Weston. We were not to be disappointed in the 2nd half as the Mad Hatters House was a wow factor. Of course the sound and lights team were right on cue with door opening and closing with a bang whenever March Hare and Mad hatter went in and out. March Hare (Awen Williams) and Mad Hatter (Catrin Thomas) again worked well as a team. Mad Hatter especially with a very colourful costume and enthusiasm and personality to match.

Doormouse (Riley Jones) had a nice clear voice and could not resist tapping his feet in time to party music whilst “asleep”. Another excellent chorus number.

Of course, Alice – The Panto, was not complete without the Queen of Hearts , Knave of Hearts (Jenny Williams) and King of Hearts (Jason Smith). The King of Hearts inevitably turned from a brow-beaten character to masterful in the end. He had to share his jelly babies with everyone but when the Queen tried to bribe the audience to vote for her along with the youngsters as the pack of card, they were not to be persuaded

No, I have not forgotten the trees (Tess Whomsley-Walker, Evie Chappell and Ella Fisher). They had a big presence on stage throughout and little arms must have been tired by the end – well done. Alice returned to the trees and her sister (Ellie Whomsley-Walker) and all was well.

What a busy, energetic, fun, colourful show this was. Audience and players enjoying every minute. Congratulations and thank you for the welcome you gave us on our first visit to this company.

 

 

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Third Week In August 


Date: 5th September 2017

Venue: CRICCIETH MEMORIAL HALL

Director: Ed Farrow

Producer: Dan May

Reviewer: LYN EMMERSON

One could relate to this play as Criccieth is a fabulous tourist centre, and the Company must be congratulated in presenting this entertainment once a week throughout July and August. This is a huge commitment during the summer season. The set was well constructed as a caravan/camping site and much attention was paid to details regarding props.

The play opens with Sue, played by Kelly Stevens on the evening I was present, looking for peace and quiet, in order to write her latest book. Also present were the neighbours, husband and wife Neville and Mary. Neville played by Dave Hillman, is a person who lives by quoting rules and regulations and Dave gave us a believable portrayal of this boring character. The role of Mary was in the capable hands of Karen Dolen-Smith, who gave a domineering characterisation of his interfering, bossy wife, I can still hear her shouts of ‘NEVILLE’ from off stage, constantly gossiping about her sister in law who had just split from her husband, and how this situation had affected her. Having been to the same camp site on the same dates, hence Third Week in August, for the past twenty odd years, Mary and Neville decide to take their sister in law, Liz on holiday. Karen Tomkins was excellent in the role of Liz, her timing was spot on, venting her frustration at the situation in general, and especially at Mary, interfering and trying to direct her life. A commendable performance from Paul Stevenson as Tony, the laid back husband of Jenny played by Paula Carr. Paula rose up to the challenge with a self-assured portrayal of the spoilt, snobbish sun-worshipper with the sarcastic streak. I must also mention the three other members of the Cast who shared the performances and doubled the roles on occasions. Joanna Vincent as Sue, Dan May as Tony and Bryony Green as Jenny. Even though they were not on stage for the performance I witnessed, I am confident from what I have seen in the past, these roles were in safe hands, and they showed their support by working back stage or front of house on the evening I attended.

On the downside, I felt that as the venue has quite a large area, more voice projection from some of the characters would have been an advantage, as sadly some of the comedy was missed on occasions. There were also a few prompts but this did not detract from an enjoyable and creditable evening. Thank you for your continued support of Amateur Theatre in the area.

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Mother Goose 


''ANOTHER TRIUMPH FROM THIS ENTERPRISING COMPANY"

Lyn Emmerson, our National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) reviewer, has sent us her review and we are very happy with it. 

As with many pantomimes, this show opened with Fairy Goosedown, played by Joanna Vincent. Joanna’s contribution to the production was faultless and articulate, as she appeared beautifully dressed, intermittently throughout the production.

I always think of the character Mother Goose as a cuddly, caring fluffy bird, doting on her goslings. In this piece, the character was portrayed with confidence by Jason Smith, who took command of the stage from his first entrance. Jason coped well with a range of colourful wardrobeaccoutrements, and had a good rapport with the audience. The roles of hero and heroine – Jill and Jack, were in the capable hands of Charlotte Williams and Catrin Mari Thomas respectively, who both came up trumps in all their tasks. Karen Tomkins and Bryony Green filled the roles of Nifty and Shifty, but I felt at times, they were a slight distraction from the other members of the cast. Paula Carr gave a notable portrayal as Silly Billy, Mother Goose’s son and Ed Farrow, whilst he could have been a tad more forceful, received the usual ‘baddie’ reaction from the audience in the role of Mephisto. He was attended by Ryan Price-Hughes as Mini Mephisto. Lovely performance from Emilie Spindley as Lucy Goose who was forced to lay the giant golden egg. It was great to see the minor roles well cast, including excellent cameo performances from Joshua Wilde – Keeper 1 and Ellie Whomsley-Walker - Keeper 2, in the Fountain of Youth Scene in Act 2. Minor roles are most important and even though they delivered their lines from up stage, one could hear every word – well done. 

In the performance I saw, young Krystal Rice filled the role of Charlie with self-assurance, and I am confident that Neah Muir-Williams, carried off the same role with aplomb in previous performances. 

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RolePlay by Alan Ayckbourn 


NODA WALES & IRELAND
DISTRICT 1
LYN EMMERSON
STARLIGHT PLAYERS
ROLEPLAY
CRICCIETH MEMORIAL HALL
9TH AUGUST 2016
Producer: Joanna Vincent: Director: Ed Farrow

The third of a trilogy of comedy plays called ‘Damsels in Distress’ this piece drew the crowds into the Memorial Hall every Tuesday during the summer tourist season. This is a true commitment and the whole company must be congratulated on their dedication.

Roleplay was set in an apartment in the Docklands and I was most impressed with the design and set construction. Justin Lazenby a software designer and fiancé Julie-Ann Jobson were due to celebrate their engagement with a super dinner for the in-laws. Justin played by Rhys Westlake brought out the nervousness of the occasion meeting his future in-laws for the first time whilst Julie-Ann, Hannah Westlake, strived tirelessly to make the evening just perfect with everything going like clockwork. This couple, husband and wife in real life, were onstage for long periods during the play and carried their roles off without hesitation, maintaining their characters throughout, well done.

Paige Petite, an ex-dancer, played by Bryony Green, is kept virtual ‘prisoner’ in the flat above by her viscous boyfriend. Trying to escape her ex-boxer minder, Micky Rale, portrayed convincingly by Dave Hillman, Paige lands on Justin’s balcony and won’t leave Justin’s apartment. It was evident that Bryony, thoroughly enjoyed this role taking every opportunity of displaying her talents as a dancer, whilst doing everything to escape from her Minder. Brilliant performances from Paul Dunn and Kate Parry as Julie-Ann’s ‘definitely not trendy’ parents, Derek and Dee Jobson respectively. Paul & Kate are very experienced in stage craft, and the broad Lancashire accents they produced suited perfectly their characters and situations. Another polished performance from Leisha Keane as Arabella Lazenby, Justin’s mother whose partner didn’t turn up from the last pub they visited enroute!  Leisha portrayed Arabella, Justin’s posh intoxicated with aplomb, yet another feather in her cap.  I must at this point mention Paula Carr who alternated the role of Paige with Bryony. I have no doubt that Paula’s interpretation of the role was also well received by the audience.  

On entering the hall, we received the usual very warm welcome from the Company. Credit must go to Director, Set Designer, Set Construction Team and Crew together with Lighting and Sound Technician. The Docklands apartment was perfect for the area available, with much attention paid to details. Lovely evening performed by my friends in Starlight and received by an enthusiastic audience. Congratulations, thanks and- Well Done all.
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 Disney's Beauty and the Beast Jr. 

NODA WALES & IRELAND
DISTRICT 1
LYN EMMERSON
STARLIGHT PLAYERS
Disney’s BEAUTY and the BEAST JR
CRICCIETH MEMORIAL HALL
23rd JANUARY 2016
Producer/Director: Melissa Minnice
Musical Director & Choreographer: Melissa Minnice

When I go to see a show, I like to be transported for a couple of hours from the problems of the day to another world, and that’s just what happened on this occasion. Make believe is a wonderous thing, and the Company really took us down that route with this production.

The role of the Narrator was in the capable hands of Julia Roberts who gave us a comfortable and articulate start to the proceedings, The
colourful opening scene saw the village come to life and introduce our heroine ‘Belle’ in grand fashion. One could see from very beginning the chorus were well rehearsed, disciplined, and the Director had her finger on the button from the start. Lovely performance from Hannah Westlake as ‘Belle’ who was faultless in all her tasks, singing was spot on and she showed empathy toward the Beast. Paul Dunn gave a sterling portrayal of The Beast, emphasising the change in character, and his transformation to the Prince at the end was convincing to say the least. Steve Clayton was perfectly cast as Gaston, hell bent on marrying Belle. The stage lit up on his entrances – great to see him back on stage after a break. Paula Carr brought all her stage experience to the role of Lefou, Gaston’s side kick. I really liked the contribution from the three ‘Silly Girls’ -, Jenny Williams, Kelly Stevens and Karen Tomkins respectively, all hoping to turn Gaston’s head with their antics, the three worked well together. Jason Smith gave a performance well beyond his years as Maurice, Belle’s father whilst Peter Weston fully justified his selection as Monsieur D’Arque.

The servants at the castle were all confidently played. Dan Evans as Lumiere, the Candlestick, Kate Parry’s portrayal as Cogsworth was second to none, her timing was perfect. Catrin Mari Thomas poured everything into her role as Mrs Potts - Teapot, her diction was impeccable and her song ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in the second Act was memorable. A positive performance from seven year old Neah Muir Williams as Chip, who just seemed so at home on stage. Experienced Leisha Keane gave us a commanding performance as Madame De La Grande Bouche, Wardrobe whilst Charlotte Williams enjoyed her role as Babette the French Maid.

The chorus numbers were well choreographed from start to finish, particularly ‘Be Our Guest’ at the opening of Act 2. The junior members, Spydrs revelled in the Wolf Attack and gave support to the Narrator. Costumes were stunning throughout the show and much thought had been given to hair and make-up and the teams must be congratulated. The production flowed from start to finish with no pauses due to the experienced Stage Crew, Lighting and Sound. All in all, a brilliant production which fully justified the accolade the Company received.     
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The Vicar of Dibley


NODA WALES & IRELAND
DISTRICT 1
LYN EMMERSON
STARLIGHT PLAYERS
THE VICAR OF DIBLEY
CRICCIETH MEMORIAL HALL
18TH AUGUST 2015
Producer: Dan May: Director: Peter Weston

This stage adaptation from the first two series of the ever popular Vicar of Dibley between 1994 and 1998 was a winner from the start. All the characterisations were spot on and the Group gave excellent performances, weekly throughout the summer, a great commitment for which they must be congratulated. The set was divided between The Parish Hall and The Vicarage. This worked well for the 23 scenes, and the cast and crew handled the transition from one scene to the next without hesitation. All the appropriate props were to hand, and lighting was right on cue.

The coveted role of The Vicar – Geraldine Granger, was in the capable hands of Karen Dolan- Smith who gave us a professional performance, very rarely off stage and holding the entire cast together. Karen brought out every aspect of the Vicar’s personality, an admirable portrayal of which she must be very proud – well done. Ed Farrow gave us a good performance as David Horton, the anti- female Vicar ‘Lord of the Manor’ who would stop at nothing to rid of this female Vicar, but finally comes to terms with the situation. Kevin Loney and Bryony Green were well cast as Hugo Horton and the innocent Alice Tinker. Eric Maggs was suitably cast as the stuttering Jim Trott with his No No No No No! - Yes! which the audience loved. Paul Dunn extracted the most out of his role as Frank Pickle, minute keeper of the Parish Meetings, cow towing to David Horton and asking ridiculous questions which brought many chuckles from the audience. Dan Evans as Owen Newitt gave us a most explicit ‘handling’ of his farm animals, one could almost smell it. At the performance I attended, the role of Letitia Cropley was ably performed by Julie Roberts, and I note from the programme this role was also performed on occasions by Olwen Jones
The children – Junior Spydrs, the cast. Lizzie, Katie and Archie, - Lia Williams, Krystal Rice and Ryan Price-Hughes respectively, together with Cameron and Luke played by Jake Rice and Joshua Wilde respectively. A small cameo role – ‘Woman’ expertly played by Kate Parry completed the cast.

The performance culminated of on a very happy note with the wedding of Hugo and Alice. This indeed was an excellent evening’s entertainment from this group, who continually strive to provide first class entertainment for both tourists and locals alike. A great night out and the Group fully deserved the accolade it received.
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Dracula - A Panto With Teeth


NODA WALES & IRELAND
DISTRICT 1
LYN EMMERSON
STARLIGHT PLAYERS
DRACULA – A PANTO WITH TEETH
Criccieth Memorial Hall
24th January 2015
Director: Ben Rosen
Musical Directors: Kate Parry : Dan Evans
Choreographers: Kate Parry: Paula Carr: Hannah Dolen-Smith

This pantomime, written by a former member of the Company, was well directed, well rehearsed and discipline throughout the ranks was evident. A twist on the usual Dracula story, the company of 45 including 20 members of the Groups younger members, SPYDRs were confident in all the tasks the director had set, and the Company must be congratulated on their efforts.

The opening scene had that ‘feel good factor’ which made one sit up and take note, and this continued throughout the performance. Colourful costumes, indicative of the period and lovely sets from start to finish added to the success of the production. Members of the Gaynor Owen School of Dance joined the company in the opening number, and again in the beginning of Act 2 – great contribution. There were many excellent performances from the cast with Paul Dunn making the most of his role as Dame Betty Bumble. His rapport with the audience was spot on. Catrin Thomas was well cast as Tiffany Bumble with Paula Carr as Hans, their singing was excellent. Dan May revelled in the role of Baron von Frankenstein with Kevan Loney and Karen Dolen-Smith as his assistants Egor and Egress respectively - fabulous costumes and make up. Peter Weston did all that was required as Dracula, who later turned out to be the Sparkling Vampire! Julie Roberts gave us a regal Countess and I loved the contribution from Luke Williams and Felicity Hudgell as Champion the Pantomime Horse – well done! The minor roles were well executed and both senior and junior chorus pulled out all the stops to give us excellent choreographed musical numbers.

Another success for this enterprising Company and they thoroughly deserved the accolade they received.

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Hi De Hi 


NODA WALES & IRELAND
DISTRICT 1
LYN EMMERSON
STARLIGHT PLAYERS
HI DE HI
Criccieth Memorial Hall
12th August 2014
Producer: Kate Parry Director: Ben Rosen

A very special year for this Company, the ever popular ‘Hi De Hi’ was an excellent choice for celebrating 40 years of amateur theatre. Their summer run of one performance a week is always a highlight with both locals and tourists.

The café style setting with Yellow Coats greeting and mingling with the audience as one entered the hall, was a great way to start the evening. Kate Parry was perfectly cast as ‘Gladys Pugh’ whose South Walian accent never faultered throughout the play. Her feelings for Entertainments Manager Jeffrey Fairbrother, expertly played by Paul Dunn was evident from the start and she made it clear in every situation she was going to get her man. Paul Dunn proved to be very comfortable in the role of dithering ‘Jeffrey’ coping nervously with all staff problems – even ‘Gladys’ and giving other members of the cast confidence and the benefit of his theatrical experience. A polished performance. Karen Dolan-Smith received much sympathy from the audience with her convincing portrayal of chalet maid ‘Peggy Ollerenshaw’ whose one aim in life is to become a Yellow Coat. Liz Crooke and David Hillman were completely in step as ballroom dancers ‘Yvonne and Barry Stuart Hargreaves’ both trying to get the better of each other with sarcastic remarks whilst Peter Weston did all that was required as ‘Fred Quilly’. Julie Roberts enjoyed a crafty tot or two as ‘Mrs Partridge, Punch and Judy’. Minor roles included Yellow Coats and other staff members were well portrayed, but I must mention Paula Carr and Leisha Keane as they will take over half way through the eight week run as ‘Peggy Ollerenshaw’ and ‘Mrs Partridge’ respectively. They are both experienced players and I know they will carry their roles off with aplomb.

The set was cleverly designed, with excellent lighting, sound and costumes, all contributing to a resounding ‘Ho De Ho.’

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Snow White


DISTRICT 1
STARLIGHT PLAYERS
SNOW WHITE
Neuadd Goffa Criccieth Memorial Hall
25th January 2014
Director: Ben Rosen
Musical Director: Leisha Keane
Choreographers: Kate Parry Paula Carr

This was the 40th pantomime presented by Starlight and was written by Liz Crooke – The Wicked Queen. The piece all had the right
ingredients to justify the accolade they received from a large and appreciative audience. Teamwork was the emphasis here, with many of the cast including children taking more that one character – well done!

Catrin Thomas in the title role of Snow White was the perfect choice and with Charlotte Williams as Prince Pip, the fairy story really took off. They blended well together, both singing beautifully. Liz Crooke savoured every moment of the boos and hisses she received as Wicked Queen, whilst Paul Dunn portrayed the perfect dame role of Hattie Hapless –the audience loved him. Kate Parry and Paula Carr always triumph and this occasion was no exception with their interpretation of Horace and Henry Hapless – Hattie’s two sons, nice tap number! I particularly liked the way the magic mirror was portrayed, with Amy Charlesworth as Reflectarina rising to the challenge. The seven dwarves were played by Starlight Junior Section, SPYDRS, one could hear every word, each one conscious of the task set. Natalie Marshall as Fairy Cupcake, Ed Farrow as King Walter and Rebecca Crooke as Amelia – Snow White’s Friend, completed the major roles. There were many minor roles all well executed. Lovely ballet in second act with good contribution from Gaynor Owen Dancers choreographed by Tami Barma- Pritchard.

Costumes were well designed and backcloths really enhanced this production, particularly the forest scene and the dwarves house. Another feather in the cap for this astute Company.
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Time Twist


NODA WALES & IRELAND
DISTRICT 1
LYN EMMERSON
STARLIGHT PLAYERS
TIME TWIST
Criccieth Memorial Hall
27th August 2013
Producer: Kate Parry
Musical Directors: Melissa Minnice Kate Parry
Choreographers: Kate Parry Lynne Holt Lauren Rice

This Variety Show, written by Starlight Members, took us on a trip through time on the Starlight Enterprise visiting many eras. Starting in Greece we ventured into Midsummer Night’s Dream with Spydrs, the Junior Section performing as Fairies all beautifully dressed. There was a
wartime feel about the first half with a visit to Rorke’s Drift, a sketch set in an air raid shelter with Julie Roberts, and a series of war songs in which the audience participated. Great contribution from Leisha Keane leading the Company in ‘Show Me the Way to Go Home’ which featured excellent harmony. A thigh slapping tap routine from Paula Carr and Kate Parry based on The Andrews Sisters, was well performed and gave a nostalgic feel. Inspired contribution from vocalist Melissa Minnice who gave us a relaxed, faultless performance of songs from the period.

Act 2 took us from 1976 to the present day, with plenty of opportunity for members of the large cast to demonstrate their talents. Cast members performed a well-rehearsed sketch situated in a Doctor’s Waiting Room with Paul Dunn as the over-worked Doctor, and three budding swimmers performing a hilarious synchronised swimming routine which nearly brought the house down. Lovely spot from Melissa singing ‘Memories’, later in the piece joined by Demi Davies, harmonising beautifully. The appearance of a Dalek at the end was the centrepiece of the finale. Costumes chosen were pertinent to each era and Choreography was interesting and well performed.

‘Variety’ was the word here, there was something for all ages which culminated in a very successful show, which this committed Group performed each week throughout the summer.