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Memories are made of this 17th December  
It just so happens that December 16 2014 is the centenary of the bombing of Scarborough by the German Navy in World War One. So watching ‘Wartime Upstairs Downstairs’on the exact day this happened just a few miles down the coast a 100 years ago to the day gave added poignancy to this hugely entertaining show.
The boys and girls of the Bridlington Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society were in fine fettle as they sang, danced and clowned their way through an entire music box of songs from the days when twitter was something only birds did.
Kicking off the first act in the guise of the folks below stairs, they opened with a rousing version of Food Glorious Food as they gathered around the Big House’s kitchen table. After the interval, evening dress was de rigueur as the cast went Upstairs and up-market and welcomed back the audience with ‘A Grand Night for Singing’ set in the ballroom of an Edwardian mansion.
 
From melodic tunes to comedy skits, marching songs to patriotic anthems, there was something for everyone – including a Christmas Carol sing-a-long.
 
It was fun, it was festive and frankly, as jolly as a snowman with a shiny new top hat. You can’t ask more than that from a Christmas show.
 
Photos from top and L to R:
Bob Downing and Mike Sheldon in the Flanagan and Allen medley
‘I Need a Man’ was the plea of Pauline Woodcock, Marina Spark, Janet Atkinson, and Ann Clough.
The Company trip the light fantastic
 
 
Northern Lights Youth Theatre Group 15th December
 
Spotlight theatre is pleased to announce that, following the successful formation of the children's theatre group SPOTS ( showing potential on the stage), the next stage of encouraging young people into theatre is the creation of a new youth theatre group, based at Spotlight,for young adults between the age of 14 and 25.
 
The group will be managed by Rachael Drew, professional theatre director, with credits from the Edinburgh Fringe and Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, plus Emily Whittington, drama teacher and Todd Johnson as musical director, both members of Bridlington School staff. As all three tutors have degrees in music, musical theatre and drama a high standard of performance from the group will be their aim.
 
Any young person who is interested in joining this exciting group to receive professional tuition is invited to come along to Spotlight Theatre, West Street, Bridlington, on Wednesday, January 7th at 7.00 pm to meet the team, and learn more about what is proposed.
 
 
Solving the Pinter puzzle. 31st October
Monday evening after the first day of a busy week ahead is usually spent relaxing in front of the telly. Swapping the soaps for a double bill of Pinter was a shock to the system. Notoriously tricky to interpret, Mr Pinter, in modern parlance can do your head in.
 
So it was a brave move on the part of the Spotlight team to serve up a fiendishly tricky double bill from the Nobel prize-winning author. And it really paid off.
 
First up was The Dumb Waiter. Set in the basement of an anonymous building, two hit men wait for their orders to carry out a job. They read a newspaper. They fail to make a cuppa. They wait for direction. And when they come, we’re left wondering if they’ll be carried out. Was this a metaphor or was it real-life? What was the significance of the dumb waiter, and why did it deliver an apparently random series of food orders?
There was sterling work from two-man cast, managing to be both at times both menacing and pathetic. And the physical threat was ever present with an underlying sense of violence just under the surface.
 
After a much needed cuppa, the second half focussed on a three person relationship in the form of A Slight Ache. A middle-age couple invite a match-selling tramp into their affluent home and pour out their fears and desires to him – although he never replies to anything they say.
 
Again the cast were excellent bringing a palpable sense of the concerns that ageing brings with it. The dying of passions. The waning of hope. And perhaps even an anger about the loss of physical faculties.
 
But there were definitely more questions than answers. Or rather there were a lot of possible answers. But the effect of all this was intriguing rather than confusing.
 
And the questions kept coming long after we’d left the theatre. So who was the matchseller? And what is the significance of matches anyway? Were the hitmen just symbols of a power-crazy system? Did the hitmen actually carry out their ‘hit’? I’m still working on the answers.
 
 
Not so wedded bliss.
3rd August
I really had high hopes for this show. The set looked authentic and with a couple of singers belting out Andrews Sisters songs and other 40s classics as the audience took its seats, it boded well.
 
Sadly, five minutes in, it felt as flat as the vinegar cake baked without eggs mentioned in the first scene.
 
Having said that, l must add right now that I was probably in a minority of one in not really enjoying this show. In fact, the enthusiastic applause from the sell-out audience makes me wonder if I actually saw a different performance in a parallel universe.
 
But, in my humble opinion, this was little more than a play for school children studying the War Years and designed to ‘tick all the boxes’ in order to receive arts funding.
 
There was no real plot other than somebody got married, the characters were mere shadows and the songs were…OK.
 
 The script felt little more than a list of facts useful for a Year 6 project on ‘Life in War Time Britain’ -like the use of clothing coupons, growing your own veg, single ATS girls being posted abroad and cardboard wedding cake covers.
 
 Being a glass-half-full person, there’s always something to like whatever you go see – and in this instance it was Rover, the stuffed dog on wheels who really had all the best laughs.
 
If this sounds harsh, you can make up your own mind by seeing the show when it returns to our neck of the woods next week. It’s at the Evron Centre Filey on August 7.
 
 
An enjoyable weekend 5th June
I always think the phrase, ‘I know what I like, and I like what I know’ was created for John Godber plays. So while last night’s performance of ‘Weekend Breaks’ didn’t hold any surprises, it did make for an entertaining 90 minutes.
 
There was the working class Mam and Dad and the educated son who was now moving in different circles - the crux of the play being the friction this has created between them. It seemed familiar fare but the banter between the family was sharp and funny.
 
The three actors were convincing characters and managed to conjour up the Lake District with no more than three chairs – no mean feat. And the deeper message of how little we really know our parents and how like them we can be despite our best intentions, made a poignant point despite the laughs.
 
 
 
Looking good 5th June
It’s not just the theatre that is looking particularly smart right now. The front of house team were sporting matching outfits last night as they sold programmes and served interval drinks.
 
Sheila and Pauline’s scarves mirrored the colour of the new upholstery to bring a real sense of style to the occasion.
 
The new décor, designed by Cynthia Brownsword and executed by Dale Ibbotson, along with the new seating was unveiled for the first time at a performance of ‘A Little In Tents’ in April. And the reaction from the public has been hugely positive – the seating is much more comfortable, the theatre itself more contemporary… and the ladies even more gorgeous. Come and see for yourself
 
 
 
Spotlight refurbishment 2nd May
The first phase of Spotlight's refurbishment was completed with the installation of new seating and redecoration of the interior.
  (Click on images for virtual tour)
         
 
 
 
     
     
     
 
 
" An Evening with The Real Calendar Girls" 17th March
The Spotlight Theatre audience was delighted with a truly wonderful and inspirational evening, when four of the original Calendar Girls talked about their experiences since 1999, when an Alternative WI Calendar was first discussed.
Since the making of the film, they have met Prince Charles, Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, John Alderton and many more famous people, they have been to Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, The Royal Albert Hall and have also visited many different countries including America and New Zealand.
They spoke with passion about what they believed in; raising money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, which today stands at over £4,000,000.
They are famous, but still have their feet on the ground, so much so that they came to Spotlight Theatre all the way from North Yorkshire free of charge. They recognised that Spotlight Theatre had donated £2000 to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, from their production of “Calendar Girls”, last October.
 
It was a wonderful, memorable night at Spotlight, with the “Girls” enjoying it too. They took a walk on the harbour in the afternoon, with fish and chips for tea. They said that it was bliss and they even took a dressed crab home!
Their parting words were , “Can we come back”.

The photo shows four of our Calendar Girls meeting four of the original Calendar Girls with Director Pauline Pope, presenting a cheque for £300.00
 
 
Bed time story 12th March
So do we ever get over our first love? Against the odds, can we ever find true love?
 
‘My Romantic History’ brought Spotlight favourites, Reform Theatre, back to West Street to try to shed some light on these universal questions.
 
This office-based rom-com had its moments – the awkwardness of the morning-after-the-night-before with a colleague; the embarrassing drunken encounter with someone from the past that you can’t forget.
 
But like the copies from the Xerox machine on the third floor, it all felt a bit samey.
The story told twice from two characters’ perspectives is familiar territory for Reform. Likewise, speeches delivered direct to the audience. We’d kind of seen it all before. The boy-meets, loses, wins back-girl story line didn’t really bring any new insights to the trials and tribulations of finding Ms or Mr Right either.
 
The performances though were solid and the dialogue at times razor sharp – although some of it seemed to lose the ring of truth in an attempt to get a laugh (how many women about to undergo an abortion would refer to the doctor as ‘The Terminator. or, perhaps more bizarrely, invite the baby’s father to her Mother’s wedding minutes before the operation.)
 
As a one-night stand, it was fine. But I’m not sure it would’ve got a second date.
 
 
A winning Winter’s Tale
22nd February
You don’t really expect to see a job interview in the middle of a Shakespearian classic. But it didn’t seem out of place in Common Ground’s quirky production of ‘A Winter’s Tale’. So when a servant of a mis-guided King is ordered to dispose of his boss’s daughter (whom the King wrongly believes someone else fathered), it seems entirely plausible that the scene should switch to a recruitment consultancy as the desperate bloke tries to find alternative employment.
 
This was typical of the approach the company took to interpreting one of the lesser-known works by Stratford’s finest.
 
Just four actors managed, more-or-less-successfully, to take on a multitude of roles – sometimes having to resort to labelling hi-visibility jackets with names of characters to avoid confusion. Props doubled-up too – a step ladder being used as a throne one minute and a statue’s plinth the next. It was inventive stuff. But arguably, anyone not familiar with the plot may have struggled to follow the storyline though the ‘Yorkshire translation’ of some of the speeches did help and was funny to boot.
 
It was a playful and spirited approach that grabbed the imagination of the audience and went to town with it. And if anyone out there thinks the Bard is boring, Common Ground are the folk to change your mind.
 
 
 
Take your seats please ! 22nd January
New seating, carpeting and wall-panelling plus re-modelling of the entrance and box office, as well as a new bar and coffee shop, are all part of a £20,000 refurbishment plan to attract even more people to Spotlight.
 
The new seating is the same as that in the Royal Albert Hall and the new Leeds Arena , and will offer more leg room plus easier accessibility, following the revamping of the seating areas.
 
The improvement to customers comfort will also greatly improve storage space for props and back-cloths which will be kept under the seats.
 
Chairman Mike Sheldon said “ The refurbishment really gives people that extra level of comfort, and makes sure that they will enjoy our shows fully”
 
Pic: Bridlington Free Press: Bob Downing tries out the seating !
 
 

 

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