Friday 19 January 2024

Comic Potential

by Alan Ayckbourn / directed by Joe Flatt
18-20, 24-27 January 7.30pm, matinΓ©e 27 January 2.30pm

Tickets available online at £12 and £13 from TicketSource via www.ticketsource.co.uk/sewellbarn, also by phone via 0333 6663366. Booking fees are included in the ticket prices. Includes strong language and adult themes. 

Is it humour that makes us human? Can you fall in love with a robot? Alan Ayckbourn asks those questions in his prescient – yet strangely retro – 53rd drama, Comic Potential. Part science fiction, part traditional romance, but mostly riotous farce, the play introduces us to robot actoids in a TV studio in the not-so-distant future. First performed in 1998, Comic Potential not only explores the implications of our relationship with technology, but also provides a “tremulously exquisite love story, a superb satire on television and other human follies, a wise and serious drama full of playfully tossed-off profundities about sundry aspects of life and art, and an irresistible evening in the theatre” (John Simon, New York magazine).


Photography: Barry Parsons

"I attended Comic Potential Friday 26th Jan. I had the pleasure of watching probably the best acting I've enjoyed for an age. I'm included London theatre productions where all the actors are named. I'm surprised that I'm unable to find who played the parts especially, as I've already said, the complete suspension of disbelief due to the remarkable cast. In-house actors? amateurs? Travelling band? no idea. However, great evening." Steve

"Really enjoyed this, excellent cast and performance." Ross

""Another Sewell Barn triumph". Tim 

"Went last night with friends and it was brilliant. Funny, insightful and extremely heartfelt. It was surprisingly deep and thought provoking as well. The whole cast had multiple roles and worked incredibly hard. Well done everyone, a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining evening." KatLou

"It's great. Highly recommended." Ian

"What a good show. Well done everyone. Intriguing premise, well performed and beautifully directed. Shout out to Harry Quirk for a fabulous performance among a strong cast." Marston

"Absolutely brilliant performances all round. Excellent evening." Jane

"Throughout the performance, [Hannah] Wood masterfully plays out this complex role, giving a well rounded performance that balances both her comedic skill and her dramatic acting chops, helping create a lead we could root for and connect to in this otherwise foreign setting. This is only complemented by her and Garvey’s strong chemistry as the two leads, bouncing off each other whilst their easy comedic physicality steers us through the story. There is something to be said for the physicality of all the cast members, as the strong blocking from director Joe Flatt is pulled off seamlessly creating a constantly moving, and always interesting, stage presence." Biff Pearson - UK Theatre Network [click here for full review]

"Enjoyed watching all of you perform this fab show last night. Congratulations." Diane

"Went to a hugely enjoyable show last night! Comic Potential was full of surprises - very funny, energetic and satisfying. An unusual play from Alan Ayckbourn brought to life by a great team of talented actors. Well done to director Joe Flatt and his team." Sewell Barn Theatre triumphs again! Clare Williamson [FOH Manager]

"...[in the second half] Hannah Wood as the amazing actoid Jacie Triplethree is really allowed to let rip. Jacie has been trained on dozens of TV bit parts and they come flooding out in inappropriate situations, or she simply lacks the context to know how to behave – captivated by a hotel reception bell or madly hopping around a clothes shop in a dress carrier, Wood is a delight to watch in these manic episodes. With Lewis Garvey as her straight-man and mentor, and further supporting performances by Beven and Jacob, Wood is the beating (android) heart of the piece, with especially strong delivery of a machine-gun selection of cliches on love... Good actors really do make all the difference, even if they’re playing robots." James Goffin - Cultivated [click here for full review]


Friday 24 November 2023

Immaculate

Immaculate | by Oliver Lansley | directed by Sabrina Poole

23-25 November & 29 November-2 December 2023

Photography: Sean Owen of Reflective Arts

How does the modern woman cope with immaculate conception?

The devil, the Angel Gabriel, and that weird kid from high school all knock on your door claiming parentage of your unborn child. Sounds like the start of a bad joke. But for Mia it’s just the start of her day. She’s young, free, single, hasn’t had sex in a year, and yet is very pregnant with possibly the next Messiah. Throw in a belligerent ex-boyfriend and a baby-fearing best friend with a guilty conscience, and you have a hilarious evening of revelations that has everyone questioning more than just their faith.

***

"Just been watching "Immaculate" at the Barn. OUTRAGEOUSLY funny. Great ensemble. OUTRAGEOUSLY blasphemous too, for those of a sensitive disposition. But that probably excludes my Facebook friends. I'm obviously destined for the "other place". In fact, this Lucifer puts up a very good case." David

"Absolutely brilliant… never stopped laughing from start to finish…excellent." Jamie

"A superb evening's entertainment, great script and performance with many laugh old loud moments - we hadn't laughed so much in ages. Congratulations to all involved!" Michael

"Bonkers play, often extremely funny, and some very impressive and accomplished performances!" Trevor

"It was absolutely brilliant. I loved it." Jane

"I thoroughly enjoyed this, and I've been a lot more liberal with using expletives since seeing it 🀣 Well done to the cast and crew!" Surya

"Terrific evening. Great players, left us smiling and laughing all night. Interesting underlying issues raised and aired. I really recommend the whole package.... Brilliant show. Really enjoyed an entertaining and thought provoking evening. Go." John

"Saw it Wednesday and absolutely loved it! Many congratulations to all involved." Shelagh

"Thoroughly enjoyed last night’s performance of Immaculate at the Sewell Barn Theatre. It’s a very funny, very irreverent play (prepare yourself if you’re easily offended πŸ˜‰) Worth a watch if only for the excellent set Sabrina Poole 😜🀣 Ends Saturday so get your tickets now!!!" Alison

"...there's tons to enjoy about the show, especially when the performances are as good as this company produced between them." Ray Tempesta - East Anglian Theatre Podcast [click here for full review]

"This extremely irreverent take on the second coming is enormously enjoyable, both for its sharp script and some spot-on performances." James Goffin - Cultivated [click here for full review]

"Another excellent show at the Barn.  Strong performances in a tightly directed show.  Comedy, yes with some LOL moments, but listen carefully as some interesting points are made about religion and male/female roles." Jane



Friday 13 October 2023

1984

1984 by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan
based on the novel by George Orwell
12-14, 18-21 October 2023 at 7.30pm; 2.30pm matinee on Saturday 21 October
Tickets from Ticketsource at www.ticketsource.co.uk/sewellbarn or 0333 666 3366

Nothing is your own, not even your thoughts... and 2+2=5. Fact!

Great Britain is part of Oceania, controlled by Big Brother. With most of the world at war, Winston works at the Ministry of Truth, rewriting history to fit Party doctrine. But quietly, rebellion creeps in. He begins a diary, and - more importantly - falls in love.

Can you trust the evidence or each other? How do you know what’s really true? And can you hold out against your deepest fears?

A dark, cautionary tale about the dangers of totalitarianism, government surveillance and censorship.

Photography: Sean Owen of Reflective Arts

"Wonderful production. The quality was on a par with professional theatre we have seen in London. This was the first production we have seen but we will certainly be coming again. Fabulous talent in direction and acting." Sandra

"Terrifying yet superb! And how wonderful to see the magnetic John Dane again, still at the top of his form! As steward on Saturday's matinee you'd be surprised how many members of the departing audience said to me - "I don't think I'll sleep tonight!"" Robin

"A show packed full of towering performances, superb, detailed direction from Ginny Porteous, and a display of technical excellence and accuracy from the production team. It's one that will live long in the memory." Ray Tempesta, East Anglian Theatre Podcast - click here for full review

"Unbelievably good, with immense performances from all. Well done!!" David

"Orwell’s novel is famed for its prescience, and it still feels (depressingly) modern nearly 40 years on from its target date and almost 80 from its creation. The constancy of war and the need for politics to find an enemy hasn’t gone away; we are more surveilled than ever and mostly sleepily, complicitly, grateful for protection from the foreigner in funny shoes that could so easily be us. This production brings those themes crashingly to life, in a brilliant – if also distressing – piece of theatre. You might not want them to watch you, but you should watch this." James Goffin (Cultivated) - click here for full review

"Powerful, disturbing, and so bleakly relevant. A brilliant production, moving and chilling performances." Helen

"Very well done... uncomfortable and provocative, just as it should be. Well done." Stephen

"Congratulations on a magnificent production of 1984. Came tonight. Never heard of the theatre before but a friend recommended 1984. It was seriously good. Better than a production I saw in the West End a few years ago. Well done everyone. Acting was first class." Louise

"So pleased to have been able to take Sewell Park Academy students to this powerful production - a tremendous experience for them … right on the doorstep! Thanks to the Sewell Barn Committee for helping to make it happen, and to director Ginny Porteous for the workshop in school last week. Above all, congratulations to the cast and crew!" Shelagh

"Quite brilliant and so disturbing and chilling!" Robin

"An exciting and absorbing version that shouldn’t be missed." Jen

"Thank you for an absolutely brilliant performance, and for the excellent discussion afterwards on Friday." Roy & Eva

"The Sewell Barn Theatre company regularly impress me with the power of their dramatisations. They are a thoughtful, intelligent and creative bunch of people who take diverse scripts and make them into a thoroughly unique and memorable production. On this occasion they have taken their work to a new level and give us a remarkably powerful bit of theatre... The play is presented as one long single act, necessary to keep the tension high and the pace right, but there is no slack in this script or performance and it does not feel too long. Many audience members will know the original work so we know how the story will unwind, but there are still shocks and surprises as it unfolds. The sound design and management is very skilful and contributes to an impressive show." Julian Swainson (Norwich Eye) - click here for full review

"Absolutely astonishing performances and production." Peter

"An absolutely brilliant production of 1984 is waiting to be 'enjoyed' at the Sewell Barn Theatre . Wonderful performances from everyone but particularly Jez Pike and a superb, chilling,tour de force from John Dane (blast him!!). Technically brillant, and great direction by Ginny Porteous. Well done everyone. A very uncomfortable evening, emotionally and physically. Well done to little Cleo Whiteley and little John Holden." David

“It's a testament to the brilliance of the production of 1984 that I felt so disturbed that I couldn't stick around afterwards to congratulate Ginny Porteous and her cast. So now, 12 hours later and feeling more dispassionate....towering performances, wonderful set and fantastic lighting and sound - well done to all involved in creating this chilling piece of theatre!” Clare Williamson - past Artistic Director


Friday 4 August 2023

The Cemetery Club

Three Jewish widows get together each month and visit their respective husbands' graves. When widowed butcher Sam appears on the scene, their lives and relationships change...

Ivan Menchell's observant, witty, poignant and often hilarious play is presented by a group of Norwich's finest. Come and see what our audiences are enjoying so much.

Photography: Barry Parsons

"What a superb script and what a totally talented, completely believable trio of experienced actresses. A delight to watch and much to think about on the way home." Zanna

"Gosh, it was wonderfully thought provoking, both sad and difficult subject,  yet hilarious - the drunk scenes of the trio 😁😁😁. I know the New York they were referring to and what a joy for me to be reminded of it. Fabulous. Mazel tov!" Kathleen

"My goodness, what an amazing performance this afternoon with outstanding standing ovation from me, poignant moving play. From the beautiful Theatre, to Staff, Set, costumes (fur coat beautiful) back of house and acting in another league, loved you all xx" Carole

"Went this afternoon, absolutely brilliant performances by all cast members, particularly the ‘ad-lib’ from Ida* right at the beginning of this afternoon’s performance. Lots of laughter and some
tears too, loved it " Anita

"A really superb performance from this theatre team. Each character so well differentiated. The appearance of Sam could have upset this but instead what a nuanced actor! It can be hard to avoid overdoing American accents but these were just enough to make me feel as if I was in a NY theatre. A tribute to the playwright too that nothing felt overdone. A clever touch to subtly change the mantelpiece ornaments in Act 2. By the way was Ida's trip in the first scene accidental? If so - or if not! - she carried it off superbly*." Meg

*Note: Ida (Mandy Kiley) took a trip on a step during the matinee performance (the bruises were impressive!), but most members of the audience thought it was part of the action as she covered it so beautifully...

"Consistant quality acting from a superb cast. Well done once again Sewell Barn Theatre." Robin

"This play is well written, and is played with great competence and energy by this skilled cast directed by Claire Stretton. The set is one of the most impressive that I have seen at the Sewell Barn and as ever the players make full use of this atmospheric space. It is a play that I might have hesitated to go to as a customer, judging wrongly that I would not be interested in the content and context, but that would have been a big mistake." Julian Swainson - Norwich Eye (click here for full review)

"Saw this last night, great set, brilliant performance from all! Highly recommended." Jessica

"Hilarious, yet deeply moving. Your performances will stay with me. xx" Jen

"Really enjoyed Wednesday’s performance - congratulations to all involved." Shelagh

"This is a play of conversations and there are some witty exchanges in the back and forth between the three women, with all the cattiness of best friends – Claire Stretton’s direction keeps this sharp and pacey. There are several laugh out loud moments, especially in a later scene showing the aftermath of a drunken night out. Benfield and Tichborne demonstrate great range, as we find out more about their characters’ real lives and motivations. Ivan Menchell’s script doesn’t quite do enough to explain Ida’s journey, but Kiley brought a strong portrayal of her tentative steps back to romance." James Goffin - Cultivated UK (click here for full review)

"Very enjoyable evening back in the Sewell Barn Theatre, in the audience this time for The Cemetery Club. Go and see it if you can. Very touching and funny, great script and cast! Highly recommend!" Alison

"The key to the show was in the delivery, and thankfully the production was blessed with four experienced and skilled leads – Mandy Kiley, Julie Benfield, Gill Tichborne, and David White - each of an age to be credible as characters dealing with the loss of their partners in different manners. For the most part it was a wry, sardonic sort of comedy with the occasional smattering of poignancy, until a change of pace in the second half brought with it more raucous laughter and some desperately sad moments." East Anglian Theatre Podcast (click here for full review)

"Funny and moving in equal measure, with good performances all round. Well worth bagging a seat." Judi

"I must say I have found both my first time at the Sewell Barn and watching Menchell’s play a pleasant endeavour that left me concerned for my lack of knowledge that both existed! Congratulations should be handed to that cast, crew, director and theatre employees for an affordable and delighting night." Finley Little, The South Theatre Reviews (click here for full review)

"It's a delight." Charlotte

"Absolutely loved it. Take tissues for the final scene..." Alex





Wednesday 5 July 2023

The Welkin (July 2023)

Our production of Lucy Kirkwood's powerful play in October 2022 was sadly derailed by an outbreak of COVID. We are so pleased to be able to present the play again with the full original cast, and clearly our audiences feel the same.

Photography: Sean Owen

"I never feel particularly eloquent when reviewing a piece of theatre. Usually get stuck after the ‘was gud innit’. I’ve seen some outstanding productions at The Barn over the last decade, and The Welkin was up there with the best. Had I seen this in the West End, it could not have been better. The pace was fast, the acting outstanding, the set added to the production but what was so so so very good is how the actors took the words from the page and produced such believable, such different characters. The script must have been excellent, but f*ck, it takes talent to take it from the page and deliver it like that. There, hope that wasn’t too gushing, but it was so thoroughly enjoyable!" James

"The play text, venue, and production work as a flawless triad, each supporting each other to communicate this in-depth presentation to the audience. The play text is a combination of deep monologues, heartbreaking revelations and comedic dialogue, the venue is intimate and filled with a versatile set and strong lighting, and the production (directed by Sabrina Poole and John Holden) is sleek, moving and impactful. The cast of matrons that make up the jury are impeccable, led by an incredibly strong Jo Parker Sessions as a seemingly level headed, maternal Elizabeth Luke, and her co-lead in the production, Emma Smith as Sally Poppy is devastatingly angsty, tortured and deeply troubled. The relationships throughout the show are entangled beautifully both within the text and direction, and present incredible range." Charlie Bench, UK Theatre Network [for full article click here]

"I really enjoyed the production, fantastic achievement. The acting was outstanding, loved the atmospheric set, sound and lighting was perfect." Nemonee

"Saw this play last night, so powerful, beautifully acted by all.. don't miss it. Massive congratulations to all involved." Ruth

"Excellent performance . If you haven't been I recommend this is a play not to be missed." Patricia

"Congratulations to Sabrina Poole and her cast and crew for their interpretation of the incredible script 'The Welkin' by Lucy Kirkwood... It's an intense and emotive play but I just wanted to give an extra clap to Alison Utting, Katie Smith and Jan Farrar for their excellent comedy skills. If you haven't got your tickets yet, go get them!" Laura

"Congratulations to all the cast and crew of The Welkin for creating a brilliant and absorbing piece of theatre! Having missed the two performances back in October before it was cruelly cut short by covid, it's been wonderful to see this show come at last into its full power. Fantastic performances by a great ensemble of women (with one or two men in support...) and a gripping storyline - what more could you want from a night out in Norwich? Get your tickets now!" Clare Williamson - Joint Artistic Director, Sewell Barn Theatre

"Sewell Barn Theatre may be a small company but their ambition is sky high. If you have any doubt about this, then get along to their charming venue on Constitution Hill for the current production of The Welkin... Sewell Barn Theatre have a right to feel very proud of their achievement in bringing this large, complex and demanding work so effectively into their atmospheric venue. Every cast member is given space to develop their own character." Julian Swainson for Norwich Eye [click here for full review - original production, October 2022]

"An absolutely brilliant and very powerful performance, I had goosebumps watching some scenes and tears at the end….congratulations to the very talented cast/ crew and of course Lucy Kirkwood!" Sheila

"Absolutely brilliant performances by all. Mind was blown." Tony

"Congratulations to you all! Powerful production. Wonderful!" Robin

Saturday 3 June 2023

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Four thwarted lovers seek to escape the confines of their restricted lives. Into the woods they go, only to find themselves unwittingly caught up in a long running feud between a fairy king and queen. Six trusty workers are off to the woods too – to rehearse a play to celebrate a royal marriage but it’s midsummer night - magic is abroad and anything can happen.

Photography: Andrew Evans

"So, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was an absolute masterpiece! Where do I start? Well, first off, the cast were top notch! It was hard for me to pick a favourite character, because they were all wonderful, and it was clear to me that a lot of fun must've been had delivering the whimsical dialogue! I also thought the set was fantastic, with sliding doors, curtains, and additional pieces which allowed it to be moved seamlessly between a stately garden and a wild forest ruled by mischievous, unpredictable spirits! The chemistry amongst the characters felt so genuine and sincere. It seems the actors have a great rapport with each other, which is always lovely to see! All these elements are proof that Shakespeare, when done right, is amazing! Thank you all for an unforgettable performance, and I wish you all the best for your final show tonight!" Lola

"This is a lively, confident and joyful production of one of our best known plays which will reward the audience whether it is the first or the fiftieth time they have seen the ‘Dream’. It is a brave show with lots of physical theatre and a good fast pace throughout. Norwich audiences are usually respectfully silent during a show, but there were many scenes that deserved the spontaneous round of applause they got tonight. Above all it is a great bit of theatre in a charming venue." Julian Swainson, Norwich Eye (click here for full review)

"What an amazing production you have pulled off at the Barn! So energetic, physical even... and magic! I could say Puck stole the show last night but equally so did the set. Phil is astonishingly talented, rendering the transformation from palace to forest so effortless! It was rich and beautiful. Costumes were stunningly good, lighting and music too. Congratulations! Much enjoyed by us all." Shelagh & Alan

 "I loved the production.  The best I've seen of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and I've seen several over the years!" Andrew Evans (production photographer)

"Thank You Sewell Barn Theatre for a fantastic performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream last night, where our PTFA had the pleasure of attending alongside some of our Yr7 & Yr9 students. It was fast-paced and funny and there were many moments when our students were laughing out loud. A particular hit was Bottom's time as an ass and his dramatic death in the hilarious scene 'The Most Lamentable Deaths of Pyramus and Thisbe'. Why not read the rave reviews for yourself, and then get your hands on a couple of the few remaining tickets for one of this weekend's performances?" Sewell Park Academy

"Our congratulations to everyone - an absolutely brilliant performance - the body language / facial expressions were amazing - I am not sure how many bruises the actors ended up with! As always, the Staging was so creative - I always think we should applaud during the changeovers!" Roy & Eva

"What a glorious romp! Well done all!" Robin

"It was amazing. Perfect. We’re still laughing!Chris

"Saw this today and have to say it was absolutely brilliant. All the cast were engaged and the comedy timing was priceless. It was gripping from the offset and never failed to please. You should all be extremely proud. 10/10." Jamie

"A collection of wonderful performances from a troupe of experienced and talented actors, all of whom demonstrated their ability to extract the maximum from this most well-known of pieces." East Anglian Theatre Podcast - click here for full review

"Many congratulations on a wonderful production! Rob Tiffin - I was aching with laughter!Robin

"The heart is the poetry and the performances... there is plenty of physicality and big belly laughs, making for a very entertaining evening." James Goffin, Cultivated (click here for full review)

"Really enjoyed the production! First time to Sewell Barn - really friendly people and a fun evening!!" Chris

"I've not laughed so much in ages.. loved it.. the whole cast were great." Ruth

"Really enjoyed the show last night. And the sets were amazing."Imogen

"Splendid production of the 'Dream'... Lively, fun production for all ages. Recommended." June

"So glad I pulled out all the stops to see the last show. An amazing cast . A wonderful dreamy escape, full of emotions. The Theatre lends itself to the experience too. A true Gem in Theatre land ." Andrew




There were so many lovely comments that we had to photograph the board at the end of the first week, wipe it off and start again!

Friday 14 April 2023

Di and Viv and Rose

Di and Viv and Rose

by Amelia Bullimore / directed by Emma Kirkham

13-15, 19-22 April

https://www.sewellbarn.org/booking.htm

"We could come and go and lead separate lives. Or we could really live together."

Three very different young women find themselves drawn together in the 1980s sharing a university flat, and their lives, with each other.

Over the following thirty years we follow their funny, moving and sometimes unexpected journey through life and friendship as both evolve over the passage of time.Di and Viv and Rose is an account of female friendship that is neither nostalgic nor sentimental, just real.

What is the impact of their friendship on their lives? What is the impact of their lives on their friendship?

Photography: Sean Owen of Reflective Arts

“And what an opening night it was! Please try and see this beautiful piece of theatre. A wonderful script delivered by three excellent actresses who totally held our attention and skilfully inveigled themselves into our emotions. I laughed a lot but I also cried. This was real life and real friendship. Congratulations Emma on your fine directorial debut.” Zanna

"Brilliant work from Emma Kirkham and her cast and crew tonight at the Sewell Barn Theatre. Di & Viv & Rose is both moving and impressive in its scope.It's a huge challenge to interpret and perform a play which moves through time and focuses so intensely on three characters and their lives and this was achieved brilliantly. The audience's attention was maintained throughout, creating a rich and thought provoking piece of theatre and we were with them every step of the way. Fantastic acting supported by atmospheric sound and lighting. Very many congratulations to all concerned!" Clare Williamson [Joint Artistic Director, Sewell Barn Theatre]

"Sewell Barn Theatre are an enthusiast company that put a great deal of effort into giving us high production values and you would need a heart of stone not to engage with the three lively characters who fill this atmospheric theatre with this show. Another winner from Sewell Barn greatly enjoyed by tonight’s audience." Julian Swainson - Norwich Eye [click here for full review]

"Well done all involved, and really strong performances from all three, brilliant show!" Jose

"Saw the show this afternoon. Congratulations everybody, really loved it... and some brilliant tunes in there too!" Cath

"Great show ladies, we thoroughly enjoyed it!!" Wendy