Welcome to the Adel Players website

Founded in 1945, Adel Players is an amateur drama group with at present over 40 members. We put on three plays a year in our own theatre space at the Adel Memorial Hall in north Leeds as part of the Adel Sports and Social Club. Find out more at About Us.

 

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Our Next Entertainment  8 and 9 June 2018:

"A Murder of Crows": our latest Murder Mystery 

The latest in our very popular series of murder mysteries, and penned by our very own “writer-in-residence”, Pat Riley, this original piece is sure to prove both intriguing and entertaining.

 

 14 years ago Lizzie, the eldest daughter of Colonel Charles Crowe and his wife Julia, disappeared from the family home at Adel Manor, leaving her parents to care for her baby son Jack.  Nothing has been heard from her since but the Colonel clings to the belief that she will one day return and he insists every year that they must celebrate her birthday.  This obsession with Lizzie is bitterly resented by the rest of the family, especially Lizzie’s son Jack, who is deeply hurt by his mother’s desertion of him when he was just a few months old.  Tensions within the family come to a head when a handbag and suitcase belonging to Lizzie are found at Adel Dam Nature Reserve, and the case changes from that of a missing person to a possible case of murder. 

 

Lizzie was beautiful and talented: were her family and friends as close to her as they say, or was she surrounded by envy and hatred?  After 14 years the truth will out.  Detective Inspector Samuel Hainsworth and community WPC Jemina Relampago are investigating! 

 

A Murder of Crows will be performed at Bramhope on Friday, 8 June, and at Adel on Saturday, 9 June, beginning at 7.30 pm.  Tickets (£15 which includes a crime quiz, the murder mystery play, and a pie and peas supper) can be reserved by e-mailing boxoffice@adel-players.org.uk or telephoning Anne and Mike Andrews at 0113-2755585.

"Accolade" signs off after hugely successful run

"Accolade" by Emlyn Williams, directed Beth Duce,         25-28 April 2018

Accolade completed its run on the 28th of April having played to a total audience of more than 430. Unsettling in its subject matter, this wonderfully written piece by Emlyn Williams was nevertheless topical, relevant and ultimately extremely gripping as well as thought-provoking. Our sincere thanks go to Beth Duce who as director was unstinting in her commitment to the production and who as always provided a reassuring but at all times inspiring hand on the tiller. And as always, many thanks once again to our loyal audience members for their much appreciated support.

 

Reviews, audience reactions and production photos follow below.

Production photos from "Accolade"

Dianne Newby (as Rona) and David Lancaster (as Will Trenting)
Tricia McTough (as Phyllis), David Pritchard (as Albert) and Robert Colbeck (as Harold)
Mike Andrews (as Thane Lampeter) and Anne Andrews (as the Maid)
Janet Porter (as Marian) and Harry Peart (as Ian)
Gavin Jones (as Daker)
And the Set...

Reviews of "Accolade"

Our thanks go to Julie Bozza and Ann Lightman for these reviews of our production of Accolade. Ann's review will be published shortly in "Adel Bells".

 

A young friend of mine, Harry Peart, is making his stage debut in this play produced by am-dram group Adel Players, so I did hie me to the Yorkshire moors to catch this evening’s performance. Adel Players are named for Adel, the town in which they are based near Leeds, and they produce plays in the hall belonging to the local War Memorial Association. The company was founded in 1945. For the past few years, Harry’s mother, Shell Peart, has been part of the team, helping put on three shows a year. Shell has acted in various roles, and also helps behind the scenes, especially in set design, props, and publicity.

Accolade was a new play for me, so I was thrilled to watch it unfold through all its twists and turns. It was written by Welsh playwright Emlyn Williams, and first performed in 1950. Accolade tells the story of the Trenting family. The father, Will Trenting (David Lancaster), is about to be knighted, but that of course shines a spotlight on his double life, and a scandal emerges that surprises everyone. I thought David Lancaster did a splendid job as Trenting, as did Dianne Newby as his wife Rona, and Harry Peart as their son Ian. The whole cast were terrific, but these three – as the family at the heart of it all, with the most to lose – gave particularly genuine and moving performances.

The story was interesting to me as a writer, because Trenting is a published writer – and one of the other characters we meet is desperate to be one, too. The other half of Trenting’s double life has provided him with a great deal of material for his books, and yet it is clear that the life and the choices he has made reflect on himself as a person rather than as a writer. I liked his honesty and sense of responsibility, as well as his love for his family.

Rona was also sympathetic. She has a very clear-eyed view of her husband, and has loved him unconditionally, with no regrets. As a result, they have built a life and a home and a family together – but when it’s all about to come tumbling down around your ears, it’s inevitable that you start to question your own choices. Meanwhile, Ian is young and innocent, and all the adult characters care for him enough to protect him from what they can. But his perspective can also cut through to the heart of the matter, if they let it.

I can’t say any more about the story or characterisations without revealing too much. It’s an interesting play to watch, and I think the Adel Players and director Beth Duce have done a superb job in bringing it to full life. Unfortunately there’s only one more show in this short run, and it’s been sold out for a while. But if you’re anywhere near Leeds, you might like to keep an eye on the company. I believe their next show is a murder mystery called A Murder of Crows – and our Harry will once again be treading the boards!

 

Julie Bozza

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The play chosen was Accolade by Emlyn Williams which first appeared in 1950 when it “pushed the boundaries of acceptable theatre at the time” –to quote from the publicity. I found it a troubling play – posing moral dilemmas which the play does not attempt to answer. The publicity stated that the theme is very relevant to today which is undoubtedly true, but whether that meant the play worked well for today’s audiences is another matter. Audiences in 1950 had not lived through the “liberated” 60’s with the “realistic” plays – most of which seem to have been written after this play and today’s trials by media. It must have been ground-breaking in its day.

The Adel Players production to full houses over four days was, as usual, superb – the stage set, costumes and music putting us straight back into the stylish home of a well-off 1950 family where the news of the head of the household becoming a knight for his services to literature (he was a writer of realism) had just been received in the New Year’s Honours list. It soon became apparent he had been leading a bit of a double life, taking off for “dirty weekends” from time to time in the full knowledge of his wife. This had seemed harmless enough until the father of an under-age girl, who had been a victim at the last one, appeared at his home and attempted to bribe a position in the household. The writer at this point seemed to show remorse ...partly as he had a son of the same age perhaps, and our heads were soon reeling with questions – could/should the wife had done more to try to stop these weekends? Why do creative people often need to flout convention? Would they be as gifted without a deviant streak? Was the publisher (and by extension the public) a hypocrite for enjoying the end result but horrified when found it was based on fact? More controversially - don’t most of us have a secret or two we would prefer kept hidden?

The second half did not provide answers. The writer and those closely involved with him, including a couple from Rotherhithe friends from his “hidden” life, decided to confront the father. This led, perhaps inevitably, to his going to the police and prosecution followed. Of course the trial attracted press attention, resulting in the couple being dropped by many who knew them – including all but one of their servants. While they study a brochure for a remote cottage on Guernsey to escape to and contemplate a possible spell at H.M.’s pleasure, a crowd gathers outside their house and a brick is thrown. Society has made up its mind – it is

easier to judge those we do not know than those we do. The whole scenario must have appeared quite shocking back in 1950.

The play kept my attention throughout – not least because of the superb professionalism of the quite large cast (10) – with a young Harry Peart making his debut…and maybe Anne Andrews, who is more often on the front desk. There were also some comedic touches with the class system coming into play – Rotherhithe v. West End. But the play didn’t emotionally connect with me – maybe an over-reliance on words – all the action took place in the writer’s lounge. Maybe there were too many characters for them to be more than silhouettes (how did the Rotherhithe couple care for their daughter that they said they doted on?). Maybe my brain just can’t cope with too many dilemmas! A (much younger) person enjoyed the play and summed up beautifully the main message “all actions have consequences” – a point emphasised by the staging – from the lounge one could see through to the staircase and the garden – all actions in the private or public domain interact with the other.

 

Ann Lightman

"Love from a Stranger" plays to capacity audiences

Our January production, Love from a Stranger, proved very popular indeed and as always we are very grateful to our loyal audience members for supporting the show. More than 500 of you came to see the play over its four night run and we are very appreciative of the kind comments we received. As usual we are posting here some production pictures and these will be joined by reviews and audience reactions as we get them.

 "Love from a Stranger" 24-27 January 2018

By Frank Vosper, and directed by Pat and Bernard Riley, this psychological chiller certainly had many on the edge of their seats. Here's what our directors had to say about it:

 

70 years ago Adel Players came into being as a section of Adel War Memorial Association and to celebrate this milestone we have decided to present again one of the plays we performed in our very first season.  This is “Love From A Stranger”, a rivetting 1930s psychological thriller based on a tale by Agatha Christie.  And guess what?  We’ve beaten the professional theatre to it - there’s a national tour of this very same 1936 play planned for later in 2018!

Cecily Harrington, a hard-up shorthand-typist, wins a large sum of money in a sweepstake.  Excited by her new-found wealth she breaks off her longstanding engagement to her loyal but unimaginative fiancé so she can realise her dreams to travel the world.  However her plans quickly change when she meets Bruce Lovell, a charming American, and after a whirlwind romance she marries him.  Life in their picturesque country cottage seems idyllic, but is Bruce all he seems?   Why will he allow no-one to go down into the cellar that he uses as a dark room?

Rob Colbeck as Bruce Lovell and Jane Gorton as Cecily Lovell
Jane with Neve Carey as Ethel
Alan Foale as Dr Gribble
Gavin Jones as Nigel Lawrence and Anne Davies as Mavis Wilson
Janet Porter as Louise Garrard
Jane with David Pritchard as Hodgson

Review of "Love from a Stranger"

Our thanks go to Donna Shoesmith-Evans for this review of our production which is to be published in "Adel Bells":

 

As we are now well into 2018, what better way to spend a dark January evening than with the Adel Players and their production of ‘Love from a Stranger’ (written by Frank Vosper, based on a story by Agatha Christie). Originally performed by the Adel Players in 1947, it was specifically chosen to mark the 70th anniversary of the Players.

 

A whirlwind romance with a handsome and charming stranger Bruce Lovell, (played menacingly by Robert Colbeck) sweeps Cecily Harrington (Jane Gorton) off her feet.  We see her recklessly abandon her old life with a whirlwind marriage to then settle in the remote and blissful surroundings of an isolated country cottage, bought with her large winnings from a sweepstake. 

However, her newfound love is not all that it seems and as Agatha Christie herself said, ‘“Where large sums of money are concerned, it is advisable to trust nobody.’’  Her friend, Mavis reminds her of this, as does her Aunt Louise and former fiancé Nigel. Bruce seems to have an intense interest in his dark room in the cellar with his photographs and lots of H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) which he states is not to colour his hair!   So what does he have in mind to do with it?

The idyllic cottage has its own staff including gardener Hodgson who adds comedy as well as plot development.   Ethel, the housemaid, adds further humour and is well characterised, gaining the confidence and trust of Cecily.  Doctor Gribble completes the village scene and supports Bruce’s health needs, as well as sharing his passion for reading about legal crime cases.

Performed in the round, 1930’s music, costume and set all add to the sense of time and place, in an unforgettable production.  Suspense filled, the performance held our interest and imagination until the very end, where there was a shocking twist in the tail! 2018 is already being referred to as ‘Year of the Woman’, which seems very appropriate after watching this performance!

The next Adel Players production will be ‘Accolade’ by Emlyn Williams, described as a gripping, timeless play which explores the ripple effect of a public scandal on the private lives of family and friends.  Please contact Donna via e-mail – stdonna@talk21.com if you would like to join our group who will be at the production on Friday 27 April.

Finale, Love from a Stranger

Audience reactions to "Love from a Stranger"

Thanks as always to our patrons for these appreciative comments:

 

“Thank you to all concerned for providing another excellent play on Saturday night. As an avid fan of Agatha Christie, having acquired all her books over many years and seeing The Mousetrap in London on honeymoon in 1964, I anticipated the great night that it turned out to be. In the bar we managed to convey our enjoyment to Robert Colbeck … but wanted everyone else involved to know how much we appreciated all their efforts.”

 

“Enjoyed the play last night - especially the second half, an unexpected but "happy"? ending.  The costumes were wonderful - I coveted the beautiful, short-sleeved top!”

 

“We came to see "Love from a Stranger" on Saturday evening and enjoyed everything about it!”

 

“I don't know how you all do it but last night's production of 'Love from a Stranger' was excellent - very dramatic with some outstanding acting.  Well done to everyone both on stage and behind the scenes.  We all feel very lucky to have Adel Players here.  No wonder you sell out.”

More about Adel Players...

To find out more about Adel Players and all we do including news, notices, how to book and how to join us, please browse our other pages. Meanwhile, see below a few "legacy" items to whet your appetite.

MURDER MYSTERY MAKES A KILLING...

Many congratulations to the cast and crew of The Raffles Affair, our Murder Mystery written by our very own Andy Sneddon. There were sell out performances on 27 May at the Robert Craven Memorial Hall in Bramhope and then the following evening at AWMA. Setting the mystery in Singapore at the end of British colonial rule, Andy gave us glamour as well as intrigue and as usual it was great fun wading through the red herrings! We were delighted that the two performances raised just shy of £2000 which will provide a very welcome boost to AWMA funds, so thanks as always to our loyal patrons as well as all our good friends in the badminton section who provided catering, some in full evening dress!

 

Here are some pictures from one of the rehearsals and a reminder of the poster- with many thanks to Ed Hoskin of Ziss Design for his work on this.

 

And for a review which gives a great feel for these evenings, click here.

For more pictures, reviews and notes of recent productions click here

Video clips from 'The Importance of Being Earnest'

Watch highlights of our April 2014 production - click here for more clips and further information.

FOUR Festival of Theatre awards for 'If I Were You'!