Saturday, 10 June 2017

Talking Heads

Alan Bennett is well known for his observant, hilarious, often painful creations. His Talking Heads monologues - two series, each of six characters, one male and five female - are widely acknowledged as being some of the finest solo works in the theatre.

While we were sad at the Sewell Barn to have had to cancel our planned June production due to casting difficulties and illness, we couldn't be more pleased with its replacement. Two of the Passion Play cast join director Judi Daykin to portray three very different women telling their stories.

Photography: Michael Stanislaw

In A Lady of Letters, lonely spinster Irene watches the world from behind net curtains, writing to complain about anything she sees. But when a couple across the road seem to be abusing their child, should she intervene?

Recently widowed Muriel faces a series of challenges and revelations after the sudden death of husband Ralph, not least from her two children. As the truth about the family is uncovered, will she manage to keep Soldiering On?

Lesley is a young aspiring actress, so she is not about to miss Her Big Chance when it comes along. But is the film she becomes involved in as good an opportunity as she thinks? Can she learn to water ski and play chess in time, or fit into the dress and bikini they need her to wear?

What our audiences said...

"Had a hugely enjoyable afternoon yesterday at Sewell Barn Theatre's, production of Alan Bennetts "Talking Heads." Wonderful tragi-comic performances, very innovative direction, loved the way the audience got to "dip in and out" of the three central characters stories before their final revelations!" Janice C

"Very enjoyable indeed, the 3 actors were very convincing as their characters ... brilliant thought provoking perfomances ... 10 out of 10 from me." Kathy S

"Saw this last week. Can't recommend it highly enough. It was brilliant." Morgan

"Thank you to the three excellent actresses who held our attention so well this evening, and thanks to the crew too." @NchCathVerger

"Great evening @sewellbarn , delightful dark undercurrents to Alan Bennett's Talking Heads, absorbing performance by engaging performers." Daren L

"An excellent evening... three very accomplished actresses... roars of laughter as well as gasps of surprise throughout." Barnaby M

"I am impressed by @sewellbarn #AlanBennett #TalkingHeads" Daniele F

"I pity the fool who doesn't go and see Talking Heads @sewellbarn before the run ends on Saturday." Karl H

"Went last night, with a friend, to see 'Talking Heads', and so glad that we gave up a beautiful evening to see a brilliant acted and staged set of monologues. It far exceeded my expectations, especially when I’d been to the Theatre Royal the previous evening... I enjoyed a master-class in finely delivered roles that relied so much on the words rather than plot per se." Jack S

"Saw this tonight at Sewell Barn. As [other have said] this is a real masterclass in acting. Superb! Please get a ticket and see this brilliant show. Well done Judi Daykin, we loved it," Laura M-J

"Saw a lovely production at the Sewell Barn last night. Alan Bennett's Talking Heads superbly and inventively directed by Judi Daykin was a delight. Splitting the action between the 3 monologues was inspired, and increased the anticipation of the outcome of the fate of the three very different women.
The acting was confident and extremely enjoyable to watch. Dawn Brindle, Hattie Scopes and Judi Daykin were all excellent. A very enjoyable, amusing and thought provoking evening. Thank you all." David W

"... we are privileged to witness three masterclasses in performance skill. The stagecraft is first-rate, the focus on character complete, and the integrity absolute. One might not like these people - they would in all three cases be dubious social company - but, my goodness, we believe in them, and feel for them and with them. And that, perhaps, is one of the greatest achievements - of Bennett's writing, Daykin's direction and of all three performances - to ensure that we care very much about what happens to people that we wouldn't necessarily want to share a room with." Cassie T

"Wonderful set, costumes, sound, lighting and acting. Splitting the monologues up and interspersing them with each other worked brilliantly, I think better than having them as stand alone monologues if I'm honest! Three superb actors showcasing their talent :)" Emma K

"Congratulations to the cast and crew of Talking Heads for a wonderful show. Cross cutting between the monos was a brave directorial decision but it works absolutely, creating a thought provoking and cohesive piece of theatre. The audience were absorbed throughout as the three stories unfolded, beautifully conveyed by three actors who inhabited their characters with great control, precision and artistry. Go and enjoy for yourself!" Clare W


NB: please excuse the (implied) strong language below, but anyone attending the play will understand why it was both relevant and funny!


Saturday, 6 May 2017

Kissing Sid James


A disastrous follow-up to a disastrous first date: a weekend in rainy Blackpool. As director Angela Rowe put it, "If you have ever been single, if you have ever wanted everything to turn out alright, if you have wanted something better or you just want to see great theatre then come and see Kissing Sid James." This fabulous two-hander has been delighting audiences during the first week of performances; don't miss your chance during the second half of the run (Wed 10 to Sat 13 May).

"You MUST see this rather wonderful comedy/drama.
I know, I KNOW, you get so many people saying, YOU MUST SEE THIS! These are usually posted by friends or advertisers hidden behind the cloud of social medias masses, not me, er well...not this time anyway.
Two characters, just 2, away for a 'dirty weekend' grab our attention from the first few moments, then the laughter begins. These are people we know, perhaps even us sometimes, coping with life while searching for 'love' and fun. These characters are full of life and 'talk' ...to much sometimes, as show hilariously in the brilliant bed sex scene. There are also moments of pure fun, and caring, anger, and incredible drunken stupidity.
This two actors are really amazing creating characters that zing with life and humanity, they use the dialogue, all those words, to brilliant effect making us laugh and love and sigh, but mostly laugh.
And with a superb single set that represents all the scenes so well, this play is a joy as soon as you walk into the theatre.
Take a break from the tedium of a Saturday afternoon, Or have a dose of delicious comedy on a Saturday evening, before you dive into the nocturnal night life of Norwich.
All live performance has something special to offer, and the best plays capture some of the magic that there should be in life. 
I think this one has a touch of that. 
Really don't miss." Mark M

"Last night I actually managed to get to see Kissing Sid James at Sewell Barn Theatre. Wow, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Great script, interesting characters, laughs and moments of poignancy. If you have this afternoon or evening free I urge you to go..." Rebecca W

"What a great play - laughed out loud lots! Stellar performances from Matt and Chloe ... Highly recommended ..." Jo M

"It was brilliant last night... haven't laughed so much for ages!!!" Jill F

"Another excellent evening at the Barn. A very funny and entertaining show which was led by two very accomplished and likeable performers. The pace never dropped. Bravo!" Barnaby M

"...that's one of the funniest, and most painful, portrayals of human relationships I have ever seen. On a beautifully created and painted set, the two actors moved us from belly-laughs to understanding and emotion as we came to comprehend their back-story and their lives. Two massive roles - especially Eddie - with almost no time off stage nor place to hide, handled with sheer professionalism and deep integrity, creating a scenario that was utterly believable." Cassie T

"Kissing Sid James... excellent production. First class professional acting: incredibly believable characters. Well done to all." Reg W

"Matt Scantlebury is terrific as the outwardly effusive but inwardly crumpled Eddie, who somehow manages to persuade the differently broken Crystal (played with a heart-breaking, fading spark by Chloe Norris) to check in with him for the dirty weekend... This is a chillingly real and entertaining tale of the search for love, butting up against the reality of vices amongst the ices. Go see." James Goffin - Eastern Daily Press [click here for full review]


Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The Kitchen Sink



With a functioning kitchen, a beautiful set and a cracking cast and crew, The Kitchen Sink is a gentle, reflective, poignant and very funny observation of the challenges of real life. Here are some comments from our audiences.

"Theatre is a lovely thing. I went along to the Sewell Barn tonight with absolutely no expectations.  I didn't know the play, didn't know the playwright, didn't know who was in it or who directed it, and I was treated to a little gem of a play, warm, witty, true to life, and so believably played by the cast. If I say it was small, this in no way derogatory, it was heartwarming and lovely. Well done everyone! Go and see it, you'll love it." David W

"You [Ruth, playing Kath] were amazing!!! I loved the play so much and you were the cornerstone of an amazing cast!!" Wendy A

"That was a very warm and intimate play, full of very sympathetic characters. A very reflective piece, enjoyed it very much." Barnaby M

"Go along and see The Kitchen Sink at the Sewell Barn! It's a well written gem of a play, with some lovely performances from the cast. Funny, poignant and sweet. Well done everyone! xx" Mandy K

"How do people really get what they want? And when what people want, and how they get it, also changes over time, what effect will this have on the companies that provide a particular service. What is the true nature of failure? What history and immediate provocation will cause one person to lash out causing floods of blood, and another person, of water? So many questions!

Yes there is a lot going on in this not dysfunctional family, and it has a real family feel to it because the cast inhabit the characters so well. We believe in the mum, keeping cheerful and trying to keep her husband and children the same, but even she may be pushed too far by some problem plumbing. Her husband, the milkman, supporting his family but not sure how to show his support in other ways. Perhaps he is the one who needs help? The son, daughter and her boy-friend have their plans but they will have to be changed to. Success, or failure, both demand a lot of work.

We expect the 'slightly' older members of the cast to be good and of course they are wonderful, but the 'youngsters' too were captivating, creating characters we could enjoy and emphasize with in their moments of embarrassment, simmering anger and confusion. They bring this family to life so well, giving us something to laugh, and think, about. With a realistic 'Kitchen Sink' set in a 'real' kitchen, and some very special FX, this show must be seen and experienced.

Yes there are many other 'pleasures' to be had on an April evening in Norwich but live theatre is special and should be relished as such. Enjoy." Mark M

"The Kitchen Sink is a demonstration of unique and individual strengths and weaknesses, and comments on how we approach challenges and change. Peter [Wood] has put together a solid cast for this production, who clearly establish the development of their respective characters with great realism. Reuben’s portrayal of the stoic and committed Martin complements Ruth’s range of emotions as the selfless, encouraging and sometimes impulsive Kath. Charlotte conveys the troubled Sophie as a ticking time bomb, as someone itching to articulate herself; whereas Will frustrates us as Billy, who the audience urge to stop overanalysing and follow his dreams. Nathan Mills is to be praised for expertly articulating meaning without words. His actualisation of Pete’s growing strengths through numerous hardships are heart-warming to witness.

The set has been exactingly designed with a clear duality, simultaneously drawing you in while also reminding you of the character’s conflicts of being little fish in a big pond. Complemented by naturalistic lighting, sensitive choice of music and precise incidental sounds, you feel right in the heart of their (almost) fully functioning kitchen.

I encourage you step into the home of this small family from Withernsea, and experience Peter Wood’s humorous, charming and touching portrayal of their hopes and dreams." Jessica H

"A splendid kitchen was presented to us on entry to the Barn theatre last week - yet another example of the high standard of set design enjoyed by patrons of the theatre. Thank you, Myles and team.

The play told the story of a working class family living near Hull, who are "just about managing"! The author, Tom Wells, grew up in the north east and made his debut as a playwright at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. He writes about the people of the country he knows well. He sympathetically articulates the hopes and dreams of the decent down to earth residents with both humour and poignancy.

As the stereotypical Yorkshire man,  Martin (Reuban Mackness) nicely pitched the phlegmatic father who is having a tough time with his milk round, especially with a decrepit milk float. His wife (Ruth Bennett) found both humour and pathos as she tried to motivate her family towards a less pedestrian life. Her efforts to widen and brighten her family’s horizons by introducing them to exotic cookery recipes did not succeed, but brought out our sympathy along with the laughter. The three young people were nicely played. They worked so well as an ensemble both physically and in their repartee. Sophie (Charlotte Ware) - typical of  a disillusioned teenager - delivered some subtly judged dialogue. Her brother (Will Sellgren) was a convincing young man with dreams of going to Art School, who made us feel for his agonies of indecision. Their friend Pete (Nathan Mills) made a realistic transformation from shy awkwardness to a young man who realises his ambition.

The actors really made us identify with this family in their trials and tribulations, and brought us some fine humorous moments. With a great sound track of music linking the scenes, we enjoyed a very entertaining evening. Congratulations  go to Peter Wood for his first production at the Barn, and all the backstage people who gave us such a good evening." June G

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Timon of Athens


It's not unusual for a Shakespeare to be included in the season at the Sewell Barn. However, Timon of Athens is an unusual show and seldom seen in performance - so here's your chance! It plays 16-18 and then 22-25 February.

The cast works superbly as an ensemble in this modern setting, using mostly women and a great deal of multi-casting. It's challenging, absorbing and wholly relevant to a twenty-first century audience, as the reviews are telling us.

"Saw the opening night of Timon of Athens at the Sewell Barn yesterday - brilliant production of a play which should be performed much more often. Debt, bankcruptcy and being abandoned by your friends - a story for our times." Fiona D

"Just seen Timon of Athens @sewellbarn. Great show, well done, all!" Rosamund W


"Really enjoyed your performance last night of Timon of Athens. Excellent throughout. Don't know why this play doesn't get put on more." Dan F

"Thank you @sewellbarn for bringing so much joy and hard work to us all! You are all truly incredible! Looking forward to next show!" Chris H

"Timon of Athens, so much local talent... very impressed." Kayte R

"Once again, another excellent production from the Sewell Barn. A very striking and thoughtful production. A parable for our times, relevant and fresh. Thank you." Barnaby M

"I do love Shakespeare and usually read and study a bit before watching a performance. With this play I was busy and distracted so time rushed by. But it was so good to be surprised by Shakespeare, and this play draws you in and then the tale twists, sometimes even creating bursts of shocked laughter.

Timon just seems too nice, distributing his 'huge' wealth amongst his 'friends' with banquets and presents, without any thought for the costs, indeed ignoring the evidence. I wonder at his history that made him feel he has to buy these friendships. But of course if he ever was in trouble these same friends would certainly look after him, wouldn't they? Who would remain to offer help if he ever lost everything? And how would his outlook on life change if this ever happened?

Shakespeare's use of language is legendary for his insight into the human condition and also its sometime unintelligibility, but understanding was never a problem in this performance. With a brilliant, bland, simple but very effective set as the backdrop the characters are highlighted as they should be. The scenes, settings and physicality of the action told the tale, with the dialogue forcing home the message. This cast bring the play to life with engaging energy, creating very interesting and sometimes intense characters that we can believe in and feel for. Watch this play and wonder how you would behave if you had lost everything, or had the power to provide help and save someone from falling. Enjoy." Mark M

"So you take a play that’s over 400 years old that nobody ever does. You update it into a completely contemporary time-frame and play it on a bare stage dominated by a hostile grey abstract structure that transforms in your mind into a multitude of settings – interiors, city walls, a rocky wilderness. You cross-cast many of the characters so that you have 10 women and 2 men, most of them playing a whole range of small parts. In this body of actors some of them are vastly experienced, some are very new to theatre and one joined the team only a week before opening night. It’s either total madness or a total miracle. But this is the Sewell Barn Theatre, chaps – so what you get is the miracle….

Huge congratulations to director Rob Tiffen and his entire team after the launch of Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens last night. And perhaps the most miraculous thing is that a play which is also totally dominated by its main character (an astonishing tour de force from Greg Lindsay-Smith as Timon) turns into a real ensemble piece, and through the commitment of the complex network of major and minor characters the unfamiliar story-line comes across with total clarity. One minute bitter, stark and harsh – the next, unexpected flashes of dry humour – and the whole? Well, according to most of the audience afterwards, tremendously satisfying and – much to their surprise, apparently – really enjoyable. No spoilers here, though – you’ll have to come and see it. And I mean, you *have* to come and see this. It’s not an easy night out but my God it’s rewarding. Thank you, guys!" Selwyn T

Saturday, 14 January 2017

There Came a Gypsy Riding

Photography: Sean Owen of reflectivearts.co.uk
This beautiful play is quirky, challenging, full of light and shade, Irish superstition and humour, tears and reflection and hilarity. It was referred to by the cast and crew as 'the Irish play' as we'd hit so many challenges along the way: by the time the show went up, we were on our second directing team, our second Simon and our FOURTH Louise - all for very understandable reasons. Our set designer was taken ill with the final painting and set-dressing still to do. And the East Anglian snow set in on opening night. Yet this fabulous tale withstood those challenges, and continued to delight.

"What a wonderful way to kick off a new year - select a top-notch play by a master of the craft, equip it with a superb cast in sparkling form, give them a simple but beautifully imaginative and evocative setting, complete with sound effects - then sit back and enjoy! I know this simple recipe involves an enormous amount of hard work beforehand but the end result was a fitting addition to the SB canon and deserves to take its place amongst the top ten productions during my theatre-going at the Barn [c. 30+ years.] Please convey my congratulations to the whole team - let's hope the weather improves swiftly, along with the attendance figures." Stephen S

"That was worth the wait. A fine and very moving drama, wonderfully performed. I also really appreciated the lyrical nature of the piece and the beautiful set. Well done to all, I look forward to the next show x" Barnaby M

"We both enjoyed Gypsy very much. The second half in particular was very moving, especially the scenes between Mel and Reuben, but everyone gave engaging and sympathetic performances. The direction was unfussy which let the script and the performances breathe. You should both be very pleased with the results." John H

"Some stunningly beautiful performances from Rachel Godfrey-Bennett and Abbe Swain as well as Bridget, Simon and Dad (sorry I don't know your names). Incredibly moving and at the same time funny. Well done Sewell Barn, you've done it again!!!! X x x" Wendy A

"Just to say how impressed [we] were with your play last night, very enjoyable, Bridget & Louise superb, the accents were accurate... I have met women like Bridget long ago, the turn of phrase, humour and sorrow portrayed fabulous. Congratulations to everyone. All doing it for the love of their art. I am so pleased I went to see it." Kathy S

"What a wonderful evening at the theatre. A beautifully written play full of conflicted characters, and acted to perfection. I haven't seen a play in a long while that has me laughing out loud and then nearly in tears within seconds, before back to laughing! This was an emotional journey for both the characters and the audience but it's one well worth going on. Five more chances to see this and I'd strongly encourage anyone to go if they can. Well done to all involved." Emma K

"Went to see the incredible There Came a Gypsy Riding at the Sewell Barn Theatre tonight. Both of us were very moved. Great acting, beautiful set, fab script. 😊 Well done all." Moira H

"Saw it last night. ....fabulous. Heartbreaking and hilarious." Joanie G

"There are many difficult questions we face in this strange state we call living. Some are very long and complicated but have very short, not always easy, answers. Then there are those questions that strike to the heart and soul and have answers that could fill a lifetime, WHY!, is one of them.

"Here in Ireland a family gather in their seaside holiday home for a difficult anniversary. Even the most celebratory of family gatherings can have their problems can't they, and this isn't one of them. Tension builds as the characters struggle to deal with a troubled past. There are places that can't provide answers, perhaps sometimes it's better not to know?

"The cast carry a taste of Ireland to Norwich with 'colourful' language and accents, essential when producing a play based in a country famous for its use of language. Characters appear fully formed on stage, solid and ready to engage both the audience and each other. We are taken through all the range of emotions as the drama plays out its course. But we are given chances to laugh as well. With the usual wonderful, very effective set, to work with and good costume, the cast have a perfect place to create and they do brilliantly, but also they are making us think about the big questions. Appreciate this production, I certainly did. ;-)" Mark M

"Your production was truly splendid - funny, moving and poignant in equal measure. First-rate performances too." Peter W

"I experienced a fantastic range of emotions during the performance .. I was amused by Bridget, the dotty cousin, while feeling a degree of pity for her loneliness; I felt empathy for the family, having lost Eugene in tragic circumstances; I also was impatient with them as they were reluctant to let him go. The young ones really wanted to get on with their lives and I felt sorry for their plight. A simple set offered a lovely background, with cleverly interspersed sea and seagull sounds to add to the atmosphere. It was a well put together production and all the cast did it proud. Well done to all concerned. It is definitely one to see, so book up quickly. It runs tonight and Wednesday through to Saturday next week." Jill F

"Congratulations to the There Came a Gypsy Riding team - lovely performances and direction - all the best with the rest of the run!" Luke O

"...see a poignant, charming and engaging production of "There Came a Gypsy Riding". Beautiful performances from all the cast including Abbe Swain and Rachel Godfrey-Bennett. You'll be glad you did!" Steve A

"Funny, sad, thought-provoking, and beautifully acted. Can't recommend this play enough." Sandra B



Saturday, 3 December 2016

Lord Arthur Savile's Crime



This hilarious show, based on a short story by Oscar Wilde and bearing all the hallmarks of his wit and characterisations, proved a great success.

"Here we see the iconic characters of intelligent butler and nice but dim Lord, brought to life, and in unusual close up for me as I was in the first row for a change... Using the ease of well known characters the audience are quick to engage with the action, in the comfort of thinking they know what to expect, amusement soon rippling around the theatre. But brilliant and very amusing surprises are waiting. The cast instantly produce really vivacious, strong characters that were so easy to warm to, you could feel the pleasure of the audience in every burst of laughter. With the cast working so well together creating realistic relationships both loving, and not. With a stunning set, and some excellent props and FX this is one to sit back and relish. So if you like classic comedy that is full of solid characters and explosive energy don’t miss this." Mark M

"Once again a great show at the Sewell Barn! An explosive and finely executed comedy which kept us highly entertained. It was full of energy and enthusiasm and the cast were clearly enjoying themselves. Excellent." Barnaby M

"Just back from the last night of this fabulous production! Well done Rob and all the cast! You milked all the humour and then some!!" Robin S

"Well done to Matt Scantlebury tonight - sterling performance chap, always a class act to watch. Also Nic Myers, brilliantly played, best comedic tears ever, finally Chloe Norris great little cameo role." Martin R

"Really enjoyed the show last night, well done. People: go and see Matt Scantlebury in his play - very fine comedy acting." Chris T

"Well, that was fantastic fun, well set, brilliantly acted and engaging to the end. I kept expecting to know what the next faux pas would be but the twists kept me guessing, and laughing! Well done all involved with Lord Arthur!" Emma K

"A most enjoyable evening . Haven't laughed so much in ages. Well done to all the cast!" Karen S

"Took a friend last night. Lord Arthur Savile's Crime turned out to be a wonderful piece of whimsy, deftly handled by the cast. We were tickled pink and came away grinning broadly. Not bad from two hard bitten theatre goers :)"Annette B

"Went tonight and was great - funny! Happy to go again... It was hilarious - highly recommend this show - some great comedy performances. " Jo M

"Really enjoyed myself this evening, well done to all the cast and crew especially Rob Morris [director]." Ruth H

"This was such fun to watch. Well done to all involved." Ruth E


Friday, 21 October 2016

Accolade: reviews


Accolade, by Emlyn Williams, has been the first show of the 2016/17 season, and we've been delighted to receive wonderful feedback. The comments below come from Facebook and Twitter, and you can also click on the photo at the end of this post to see messages on our foyer chalkboard from our audiences.

"Congratulations to Clare Williamson and her team for their production of Accolade at the Sewell Barn Theatre. It was a truly gripping play and beautifully interpreted in all aspects . I am glad I was able to get see it and thank you to the Sewell Barn for the opportunity." Clare H

"Well done to the cast and crew of Accolade at The Sewell Barn Theatre. An emotive and crackling performance dealing with issues as relevant today as when first written. A great opener to the new season - well done all." Angela R

"Great night at Accolade - fantastic show... Lots to talk about all the way home (is Will a bad man?!). Actors, set, lighting, costumes...all top notch. Well done Clare Williamson on brilliant direction - looking forward to our next visit to the barn already!" Becky A

"Fantastic show 'Accolade' at the Sewell Barn today. Wonderful performances and I am proud to say that I know so many of them. Well done to all the cast, director and stage management team." Wendy A

"The performance tonight was honed to perfection... thoroughly rehearsed, highly charged and very emotional... I loved the "off text" action and reaction, the pace was cracking, direction assured... and I could hear every word... good start to your joint debut season...." Malcolm R

"Accolade; deserves nothing but accolades." Solveig E

"Just come out of @sewellbarn's production of Emlyn Williams' "Accolade". So powerful, so intense in exploring personal vice and its effect." David W

"Absolutely loved Accolade. Totally gripped by the plot throughout and loved the complexity of the characters. My daughter and I were discussing it all the way home - trying to decide whether we blamed Will or not for his actions. This is a play that will stay with me - thank you Clare Williamson and cast. Particular congrats to Will Sellgren for a mesmerising Ian - up there with the West End version! Your old drama teacher is very proud! So lucky to see such quality theatre at an affordable price." Sian D

"Went to see Accolade at the Sewell Barn. A brilliant production of this play by Emlyn Williams. Although written in the 1950s it is still so relevant today. The direction and acting brought out the subtle nuances of each character. Funny, tragic sometimes uncomfortable viewing but so very watchable. Well done all involved! PS - They used real books on stage. I'm told the titles were relevant to the play! It is on tonight, Friday and Saturday - get to see it if you can." Etta G

"Well done, Clare Williamson. Really enjoyed the performance of  'Accolade' at the Sewell Barn Theatre." Richard E

"Had a great night seeing Emlyn Williams' ACCOLADE at the Sewell Barn Theatre! Perfect performance as Phyllis, Ruth! Everyone was amazing - my friend and I were in awe, and felt very privileged to have this high standard of production happening on our doorstep. Congratulations all xx" Jen A

"What a cracking start to the new season! I was in the audience on the first night of Accolade and it is definitely one not to be missed! Clare, the director, has captured the era perfectly and the production is a controlled and measured one. There is a very talented cast, I will not single anyone out ... all the characters are totally believable. We agonise with Will for his mistakes whilst feeling irritated with him at the same time! We feel for his poor long suffering wife and hope that his agent will knock some sense into him! Will's son is a typical gauche teenager who is too naive for his own good! The almost sinister arrival of a visitor all adds to the suspense. light relief is added by the 'fun' loving couple from the pub Will frequents and I will say no more ... go and see for yourselves! You will not regret it." Jill F

"Huge congrats to Clare Williamson and all your wonderful cast on a superb first night of Accolade at Sewell Barn! Particularly liked the comment from the Italian guy in the row next to me who's staying with some local friends and said it was not only a brilliantly written play but a fantastic cast and the best evening at the theatre he'd ever had in England. Well done guys, keep it going for the rest of the run!" Selwyn T

"What a superb and challenging production. I have never seen Accolade before, so did not know what to expect. Great performances all round. As an audience we were very engrossed. Well done." Barnaby M

"...a really enjoyable play with our friend Joanie Gray in it. Well done Joanie - you and the whole ensemble were fantastic! A great evening. :-) xxx" Maxine S

We have also received a splendid and insightful review from Mark Mobbs:

"We all have many personalities that we use or choose to reveal at certain times and occasion’s. How these personalities affect our behaviour can also be very revealing. We do assume people have ‘codes’ that they live by constantly, whatever the situation they would not deviate unless extremely provoked. But what about someone with a dark side a real Jekyll and Hyde character?

Take an acclaimed writer; he must have a very fertile imagination to write the ‘artistic’ works he is famed for, they couldn’t be his actual experiences, or could they? We are drawn into the ‘lives’ of this writer, we feel sympathy for him as a character as his ‘problems’ become apparent, after all who hasn’t been ‘naughty’ sometimes, he wouldn’t ever do anything really bad would he?

His character is reflected in the ‘friends’ he chooses, at times they seem to be like aspects of his personality separated off and solidified. The agent, solid, sensible and controlled, trying to serve, protect and manage her friend but also knowing some of his secrets. And the ‘secretary’ a glimpse of his past, a working class wide boy who has fallen into good times.

The ‘darker’ side characters show the fun he has away from his normal life in the physicality of a very ‘alive’ naughty couple of characters, lively and vivacious, drinking, giggling with childish amusement, or showing macho energy and front, both characters promiscuous and amoral, but getting so much fun from it, there are no barriers to enjoyment here.

Then the, at first, very weak and dubious ‘wronged’ character (yes spoiler alert) confronts and makes demands that seem a bit vague, but later become more threatening as he reveals his real strength of character.

Another positive character is his wonderful wife, full of care, energy and passion, supporting , and possibly creating, the acclaimed side of him.

There have been plays at this special Theatre that slap you in the face with their action and physicality, the audience having to mind the blood on the floor when they came in. This one is different. Here you gradually become deeply engaged and feeling for the characters as the tale unravels, a slow burner but with some wonderful reveals, but the slap is still there waiting.

Spend an evening with this energised cast of characters, you will, of course, enjoy the production, but it will also make you think, and surely that is what great ‘Art’ is supposed to do?"