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Past Productions

The Players have been putting art and soul into community theatre since 1937. See highlights from recent shows below, or click for a full list of all productions since 1937.

Art

September 2023

by Yasmina Reza, tranlated Christopher Hampton
Yvan, the people-pleaser, is having an horrendous time juggling a fiancee, mother, stepmother, and future mother-in-law in the run up to his wedding, whilst navigating a major career change. Just the time when he'd value the wise counsel of his best friends. Aeronautical engineer Marc, is experiencing health anxieties, which are exacerbated by his relationship with Paula, who, although never present, seems to exert an unseen, but not altogether benign, influence in his life.
Serge, outwardly successful in his career as a dermatologist, has confounded his friends by the purchase of a very expensive piece of artwork that is totally blank and is dismayed by his friends' reactions. Unsurprisingly, fissures appear in the fabric of their relationship and as we witness their often hilarious attempts to repair these, we share the emotions, feelings and fears that this strange artwork generates.

Director: Jo Kearns

Cast: Ali Somers, Cal McManus, and Neil Kearns.


Table Manners

July 2023

by Alan Ayckbourn
A dining room play, in which Reg finds food rather scarce despite having it thrown at him by Sarah... Sarah is scandalised by Annie... Annie is disappointed by men in general and Tom in particular... Tom knocks down Norman... Norman's romantic proposals are ruined thanks to Ruth... Ruth loses her patience, her temper and her glasses... and in which everyone has trouble deciding where to sit!

Director: Vicki Wood

Cast: Daisy Swayne, Susie D'Arcy, Phil Balding, Tony Westwood, Mike Amiet, Sue Blair-Fish


Humble Boy

March 2023

by Charlotte Jones
Felix Humble returns to his family home in the English countryside after receiving word of the death of his father. He discovers that his mother, Flora, has got rid of all of her husband's belongings including the bees which he kept. The reunion of mother and son is not pleasant, old animosity is sparked between the two. Felix is an astrophysicist who discovers that untangling his emotional and family life is considerably more difficult than his search for a unified theory of everything.

Director: Ian Amos

Cast: James Bennison, Sue Blair-Fish, Sue Wicks, Al Fransham, Phil Balding, Lauren Whedbee


The Thrill of Love

September 2022

by Amanda Whittington
A hostess in the West End's gentlemen's clubs, Ruth works hard, plays hard and dreams of a movie-star life. Yet in 1955, the self-styled 'blonde bombshell' is convicted of murder and becomes the last woman to be hanged in Great Britain.

Director: Bob Sampson

Cast: Karinn Grierson, Phil Balding...


Talking Heads

July 2022

by Alan Bennett
There's nothing quite so satisfying as the ability to eavesdrop on a person's thoughts and fears, especially if you don't share them. Though superficially simple, they are notoriously difficult to interpret, and Hurst Players have chosen three very different stories from Bennett's original collection of monologues, and selected three of the society's most experienced actors to perform them:
"Bed Among the Lentils" - The vicar's wife finds a vision of God at the local off-licence...
"A Chip in the Sugar" - A middle aged man struggles with his mother's intention to remarry...
"A Lady of Letters" - Writing angry letters to the appropriate authorities can get out of hand...

Director: Ian Amos

Cast: Sue Wicks, Josie Porter and Phil Balding


OUTSIDE EDGE

September 2021

by Richard Harris
Roger is having trouble getting a team together for the afternoon's fixture against the British Railways Maintenance Division of Reading East, but this proves to be the least of anyone's worries. Bob is having marriage trouble as he is still doing odd jobs for his ex-wife behind his current wife Ginnie's back. Dennis' wife seems intent on moving house and when he finally puts his foot down she sets fire to his new car. Kevin is trying to fight off his over-affectionate wife Maggie while nursing his injured spinning finger. And Alex's new girlfriend ends up shutting herself in the toilets having hysterics. Even Roger's seemingly perfect marriage to Miriam hits the skids when she discovers he was playing away from home in more ways than one on a trip to Dorking last year. Just when it seems things can't get any worse for them, it starts to rain.

Director: Annette Squire

Cast: Sam Hile, Daisy Swayne, Phil Balding, Sue Wicks, Liz Gibson, Mike Amiet, Hannah Levine, Arthur Gajewski, James McKinnie


BOADICEA OF BRITANNIA STREET

July 2021

by Ade Morris
Four women hope to set up a local writers group at the instigation of Fran, a writer for a local newspaper. She is joined by statuesque PE teacher Penny, the shy young librarian Janet, and anxious Annie. They put together a play about the ancient East Anglian queen Boadicea a woman who was perhaps justifiably very, very annoyed about the wrongs inflicted upon women of her time.

Director: Jo Kearns

Cast: Jan Bell, Daisy Swayne, Hannah Porter, Bethany Hatton


The Glass Menagerie

September 2019

by Tennessee Williams
Amanda Wingfield, a faded remnant of St Louis gentility, lives to see her disabled daughter married. The daughter, Laura, is breaking under the pressure and retreats from the world. Her brother, Tom, also cannot tolerate the constant nagging and turns to alcohol as his escape. Then an eligible young man accepts an invitation to dinner...

Director: Bob Sampson

Cast: Sam Nixon, Vince Whittaker, Alicia Anckorn, Dan Russell


The Killing of Sister George

July 2019

by Frank Marcus
A scathing examination of the public and private lives of so-called cultural icons. Sister George is a beloved character on a popular BBC radio soap opera, a cheerful nurse who rides her scooter about the countryside singing hymns and doing good. In private life, the actress is a foul-mouthed, alcoholic lesbian. Due to low ratings, cut-backs and her bad behaviour, the BBC in their wisdom, decide to kill off this character and we follow the impact it has on the actress’s life and the lives of those around her.

Director: Annete Squire

Cast: Liz Gibson, Lyn Snowden, Sue Wicks, Bernie Hecht


Rope

April 2019

by Patrick Hamilton
A mystery set in a Mayfair flat in 1929, exploring the psychology of suspicion, guilt, and murder. Two young undergraduates think they've committed the perfect intellectual murder. To add spice to their crime, they invite the victim's father and other guests to a macabre dinner party. Will they get away with it, or will one of the guests smell a rat?

Director: Jo Kearns

Cast: Ali Somers, Callum McManus, Simon Matkin, Alex Corcoran, Hannah Levene, Martin Hall-Smith, Sue Blair-Fish, Sam Hile


Habeus Corpus

September 2018

by Alan Bennett
The antics at the Wicksteed home are a satirical merry-go-round. Family, friends and sexual satisfaction are the ruling passions in this farcical comedy of ill-manners. Through a dance of mistaken identities and carnal encounters, one motto holds fast: "He whose lust lasts, lasts longest."

Director: Jill Hewer

Cast: Graeme Muncer, Jan Bell, Hannah Banks, Karinn Grierson, Neil Kearns, Lyn Snowdon, Sam Hile, Paul Woodcock, Vince Whittaker, Ken Boyle, Josie Porter


Hay Fever

June 2018

by Noel Coward
Hoping for a quiet weekend in the country with some guests, David Bliss, a novelist, and his wife, Judith, a retired actress, find quiet an impossible dream when their high-spirited children, Simon and Sorel, appear with guests of their own. A houseful of drama waits to be ignited as misunderstandings and tempers flare. With Judith’s new flame and David’s newest literary “inspiration” keeping company as the children follow suit, the Bliss family lives up to its name as the “quiet weekend” comes to an exhausting and hilarious finale.

Director: Annette Squire


Dead Guilty

April 2018

by Richard Harris
A tense psychological study of guilt and obsession, Dead Guilty concerns an attractive young graphic artist whose leg is badly injured in a car crash that occurred when a business associate suffered a fatal heart attack at the wheel. Housebound and depressed, Julia is tormented when things disappear, a Mexican orange blossom materializes on her shambling Victorian terrace and someone prowls upstairs at night. While a kindly counselor contends with Julia's suicidal tendencies and a besotted handyman helps around the house, the excessively solicitous widow invades Julia's life. Suspense builds as the question becomes whether the affair Julia was enjoying with her now dead colleague will cost her her own life.

Director: Chrys Tarr

Cast: Karinn Grierson, Jan Bell, Sue Blair-Fish, Sam Hile


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