Welcome to the Adel Players website

Founded in 1945, Adel Players is an amateur drama group with at present around 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. For our next production, please see below, or if not there just click here: Forthcoming Productions.

 

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Or email us at: webadmin@adel-players.org.uk

OUR NEXT PRODUCTION: A Murder Mystery evening 7-8 June 2024

Is there “trouble at ‘t mill”? No, but all is not well post-Covid at fitness training company TykeSport Ltd. Its gyms are losing money, its home fitness trainers are working in the community with no supervision, and the angry directors are quarelling among themselves about what should be done. When a management consultant brought in by TykeSport’s Company Secretary finds evidence that fitness trainer Zak Starling has been falsifying his pay and expenses claims, his famous detective novelist mother Susan fights to clear his name. When shortly afterwards Zak is accused of murder, West Yorkshire police have no interest in allowing Susan to help them investigate the crime. Should the police have listened to Susan, or is there a lot more to this situation than meets the eye? 

 

Written by our own Pat Riley, and directed by Mike Andrews, this entertainment is sure to be as much fun as always. And the quiz and hot food are all part of the package for just £15! So come to our murder mystery event at 7.30 pm on 7 or 8 June at Adel Memorial Hall to find out what's been afoot! See how to book here.

"Two" finishes hugely successful run.

Our latest production closed to much acclaim, having attracted a capacity audience for the Friday night of our run. Here was the reaction of just one audience member:"...a wonderful play with lots of depth...the cast did a brilliant job on the opening night – I laughed, enjoyed the music, and was on the verge of tears at the end...". With several cast members taking multiple roles, this was a great opportunity to show off the versatility of our acting talent. Many thanks to our director, Pat Riley, and her very able assistant, Anne Mark, and of course to all in the cast and backstage crew who worked so hard to make this happen. And most important of all, a very big thank you as always to our loyal patrons. We couldn't do it without you!

"Two" by Jim Cartwright, directed Pat Riley,  17-20 April 2024

Production Stills of "Two"

Our thanks to Tony Zigmond for these excellent pictures which really capture the spirit of the production.

Gary Jarvis as the Landlord
Janet Porter as the Landlady
Vivienne Bate as "Old Woman"
William Andrews as Moth with Digna Sindin Rodriguez as Maudie
David Pritchard as "Old Man"
Robert Colbeck as Roy (with Digna as Lesley)
Morgan Walshaw as "Boy"
And the Set...

Synopsis of "Two"

Jim Cartwright's “Two”, first performed in 1989 at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton, is a bitter-sweet and moving play which deals with an instantly recognisable range of working-class characters in 1980s Northern Britain.

 

For us it is April 1989. Since the 1920s the frosted glass windows of a traditional Armley pub have hidden those inside from passers-by, but now you can come in with us and get to know them. The Landlord and Landlady bicker as they serve their throng of pub regulars, but is there real bitterness underneath the jokes and the warmth of the welcome they give to us all? What has happened to this hard-working Yorkshire couple to create ice where previously there was love?

Reviews of "Two"

Our thanks to Donna Shoesmith-Evans for this review of "Two" which will feature shortly in "Adel Bells":

 

On a pleasant evening in April, a group of us enjoyed viewing ‘Two’ performed by the Adel Players – a bittersweet, comic drama.

The play’s key theme looked at marriage – people in a relationship – and how you fall in love and become part of Two.  The play was set in April 1989 in a traditional Armley pub. The landlord and landlady saw all the relationships play out and we, as the audience, watched theirs.

The play revealed that being part of Two, on the one hand can bring pure joy and simple happiness, as seen with Fred and Alice, but with others it can bring anger, despair and be very controlling as seen with Lesley and Roy. 

Young love was seen with Moth and Maudie – but he was more interested in her pay packet than her – and she was desperate for a marriage proposal and seemed to forgive him everything, despite what her friends at work were clearly saying to her. 

An old woman pondered on her husband who was ill at home and looked at how love can last a lifetime when bodies and minds change – she was in a caring role for him – and her words resonated as she tried to do all she could for him. She also enjoyed her nightly Guinness in the pub too! 

An old man drank quietly remembering fondly his wife who had passed away but who he could remember and bring back the memories of them together.

Mr and Mrs Iger were an unusual couple – as he was very nervous – and struggled to get to the bar to order a drink – and she clearly wanted someone stronger – both mentally and physically.

The landlord and landlady were very sharp with one another but as their story unravelled, they had clearly been through a tragedy which still resonated with them – and the young boy in the pub waiting for his dad (who had forgotten about him) made them remember what they had also lost.

The play was performed by 8 actors – who swapped and played 14 characters as pints were pulled and relationships dissected. It was a simple set, based in the pub itself. The play had the structure of a variety show – and sharp talking comedy made way for bleak urban poetry – a karaoke singalong one minute, a domestic abuse drama the next.  There were plenty of laughs but also much to reflect on with the joys and stresses of working lives. 

The range of emotion covered links to the age range of the cast – from 11 – 91 – and shows the wide ranging talent of the Players. Janet Porter played 4 different characters – all word perfect – and simple costume changes assisted with the changes. Rob Colbeck played 2 roles – and as  domestic abuser, Roy, was very convincing, with partner Lesley (played by Digna Sindin Rodriguez) literally quivering in his presence. Several jeers from the audience highlighted how convincing he was. Well done to all involved in this production.     Donna Shoesmith-Evans

 
And our appreciation to Alison Garrett, a regular audience member, for the following:
…the acting on Saturday night for the play 'Two' was outstanding.  How the Adel Players all remember their lines so well is awe-inspiring… Taking on such a complex play must have been quite daunting with all the difficulties of some taking on dual roles, and many roles requiring the audience's imagination.  Full marks then for all the stage management and the northern pub setting.  We felt reet at 'ome. And we all loved the landlady.

"Party Piece" closes after sell-out performances!

Once again we are indebted to our loyal supporters who, despite inclement weather, flocked to see our January show with three out of the four performances being sold out. There were many smiling faces at the curtain call and it seems we achieved our aim of alleviating those January blues! Huge thanks to our director, David Pritchard: not content with taking on that key responsibility, he also took one of the lead roles as well as frequently helping with the set build. The whole production was a typical Adel Players team effort and many thanks to all those members, onstage and backstage, who worked tirelessly to make it a success. As usual, please see below for some pictures by way or reminder and reviews plus audience reaction will follow in due course.

STOP PRESS: Adel Players member wins prestigious Bray Award

All of us involved with Adel Players were delighted to hear that our long-standing member, Ron Darby, had received the Bray Award from the Adel War Memorial Association. Presented annually, this award serves to recognise an outstanding contribution to the life of the Association, from any member of any of the sections. Here is the man himself, with the very sparkly trophy!

And here is an excerpt from his citation, which sums up why Ronnie is such a worthy recipient:

 

Ronnie is a consummate team player, is loved by everyone, and embodies in every way the spirit that makes associations like AWMA work...Not only a key member of the set construction team, he now fulfils the role of Stage Manager for almost all our productions. He is reliable, dedicated, nothing is too much trouble, and he is always there to support whether physically or emotionally. He makes sure everything backstage runs like clockwork whilst never losing his temper, his gentlemanliness, or his good humour, and his quirky sense of comedy quickly turns backstage nerves to laughter.

 

Thanks, Ronnie, for everything!

"Party Piece" by Richard Harris, directed David Pritchard 17-20 Jan 2024

A fast-paced and very funny play set in the back gardens of feuding neighbours. It is the night of Michael's and Roma's fancy dress house-warming party. The evening looks set to be a lively one until a string of hilarious disasters strike, including a distinct lack of guests, a burning garden shed, a marauding Zimmer frame and the prospect of an irate husband on the prowl.

Robert Colbeck as Michael Smethurst
Helen Law as Roma Smethurst
Pauline Ashworth as Mrs Hinson
David Pritchard as David Hinson
Jane Britton as Jennifer
Keith Pottage as Toby
Tara Thompson as Sandy

Review of "Party Piece"

Our thanks to Jenny Jones for this review which will appear shortly in the local magazine, Adel Bells

 

A play about a BBQ, a garden fence, and a Zimmer frame …what could go wrong? It was the end of a very icy week when our party of six went gingerly across the car park at AWMA. We’d been anxiously watching the weather in case it got worse, but thankfully it was up at a balmy 1.5 degrees when we arrived. The bar was full, and when we got into our seats, the hall was filled to capacity. 

 

The play was set on the day of a housewarming party; a long list of friends invited later that evening, to a “Reverse fancy dress”, men dressed as women, women as men. The set was simple but effective. Adjoining gardens of terrace houses, one belonging to the snippy Mrs. Hinson, the other the home of Michael Smethurst, and his long-suffering wife Roma. The difference between the houses was obvious, the old lady’s showing signs of disrepair, and next door’s newly refurbished.  Mickey, as his wife called him, was a “skip rat”, proudly showing off his finds, Roma telling him which houses were being sold and would soon have a skip. Played by Robert Colbeck, Mickey had obsessive personality traits, everything had to be timed to the last minute, although unfortunately he forgot to take the meat for the BBQ out of the freezer, culminating in Roma dropping it from a first-floor window in an attempt to separate the pork chops. Michael did everything at top speed, whilst Roma answered the phone, as yet more guests cancelled. Meanwhile, in the next garden, Mrs. Hinson’s son David turns up, and as his mother plies him with tea and biscuits, and later pears and custard, with the promise of a rice pudding. He is trying to persuade her to move to a smaller place, nearer to him and his wife, Jennifer. It’s obvious there’s no love lost between the two women, and in an act of sheer frustration, after yet another mention of David’s first wife, Jennifer tosses the Zimmer frame over the fence into the next-door garden.

 

Party time brought the biggest laugh with Michael dressed in a strapless dress, as Ginger Rogers,  Roma, looking immaculate in top hat and tails, as Fred Astaire.  As expected, tempers rose with the heat of the BBQ, the smoke drifted over Mrs. Hinton’s washing…large knickers and a pinny…, the music is deemed far too loud, and the Hinsons all arrive round, together with only two guests, not in fancy dress, who are determined to drink the bar dry. 

 

This was pure farce from start to finish, entrances and exits executed at speed and misunderstandings of names. There were also a couple of incidents of pure slapstick, think Ginger Rogers’ wig, some water, and a barbecue. The audience was appreciative, people laughed out loud, at what was one incident after another. A person near me said, “It takes a lot to make me laugh nowadays, but I’ve laughed all the way through, I have enjoyed it so much. The best escape from the cold weather.”

Adel Players, you never disappoint, thank you for entertaining us in whatever you perform. Party Piece was food for the soul, and definitely the best antidote to freezing weather.

 

Jenny Jones

Viv Bate reaches membership milestone!

It was with great affection and admiration that we were able recently to mark Vivienne Bate clocking up her 70th anniversary of membership of Adel Players. A great stalwart and supporter of the group, Viv has acted extensively over the years as well as supporting us with all the "background" jobs that are needed to put on a perfomance. Among diverse other roles, this has included many years of patiently taking responsibility for the job of numbering the seating rows when we are setting up for a show. As our Chairman, Dianne Newby, pointed out it is quite remarkable that Viv can bend down to do so without making any noise whatsoever!

 

To mark the occasion, she was presented with a photo album featuring many of the shows she has acted in. Hearty congratulations to Viv and see below for a couple of pictures.

Viv with her souvenir photobook
Viv congratulated by our Treasurer, Mike Andrews

"Going Straight" concludes another successful run for Adel Players!

Once again we were fortunate to enjoy some capacity audiences for our latest show and as always we are very grateful to all those loyal patrons who supported the production. Thanks also, of course, to all the cast and crew who worked so hard to make this happen. A very particular and huge thanks to our Director, Beth Duce, who had to cope with the disappointment of seeing this show postponed over three years ago as the nation went into its first lockdown. Beth worked particularly hard to get this one "back on the road" and the feedback we have received testifies to the remarkable success of her efforts. Thanks Beth and everyone else! As usual, look out below for photos, reviews and audience comments which will be loaded soon.

"Going Straight" by Richard Harris, Directed Beth Duce                       October 18-21 2023

In March 2020 we were well into rehearsals with Going Straight when sadly we were forced to cancel the April production due to the fast-approaching pandemic. However, we were delighted to be back in rehearsal for this great play which is calculated to keep audiences in suspense. And we also invested in some exciting new technology to heighten the tension in this Dark Comedy Thriller!
 

In the 1960s, Mickey and Ray were brutal East End villains working together on a series of lucrative crimes. Today, Mickey lives a life of luxury in Spain with his wife Francine, whilst Ray (married to sharp-tongued Brenda) is struggling to make ends meet back in Britain. It’s been two years since they met, and Mickey has invited Ray and Brenda over to his luxury villa. Brenda is very suspicious of Mickey’s true motives.  

 

Mickey has forgotten about an appointment he made with Polly, supposedly a film studio researcher.  When Polly arrives she is keen to show Mickey a storyline she’s been working on for a Channel 4 documentary and she wants him to advise her based on his life of crime back in the day. Or so it seems… Tensions mount in this ingenious thriller by Richard Harris which still has plenty of laughs along the way...

David Pritchard as Mickey
Gavin Jones as Ray
Digna Sindin Rodriguez as Flower Delivery Lady
Dianne Newby as Brenda
Anne Barrowman as Francine
Sophie Coulson as Polly
And the set...

Review of "Going Straight"

Our thanks as always to Ann Lightman and Donna Shoesmith-Evans for taking the trouble to provide this review for our production:

 

This production was well worth the wait. Having started rehearsal in February 2020, but impacted by Covid, it was finally ready for production in October 2023. Directed by Beth Duce, it had all the elements of a classic plot unravelling and held us captivated to the very end.

Whilst storm Babet was raging outside, we were transported to Costa del Crime in sunny Spain, the action of the play taking place in September 2004. Back in the good old, bad old days, Mickey and Ray were East End villains, working together on a series of lucrative crimes. Today, Mickey is living a comfortable life in Spain with his younger, second wife Francine whilst Ray, married to sharp-tongued Brenda, is living what appears to be a less lucrative life, back in Britain. After two years without any contact Mickey invites Ray and Brenda over to Spain for a visit and Ray is delighted, but Brenda is suspicious, wondering what Michael's true motives are.  She and Mickey know each other from school days and she is well aware of what and who he is. Ray however, is more forgiving of his old pal, but to add to the mix, Polly, a young researcher working on a movie, introduces further tension to an already volatile situation and, as the stories of the men's past are told, suspicions increase until finally the truth is revealed...

The set appeared to be simple – set in one room, with action offstage involving a flower delivery lady, and references to the larger estate and garden. The modern technology seemed ultra modern for 2004 with its series of cameras and flat screen TV to monitor, but I guess that villains like Mickey needed their own protection.

The casting of 5 main protagonists, all had their part to play, along with the flower delivery lady, who helped develop the unsavoury character of Mickey. We had been warned in advance about the language used and Mickey in particular made use of this. David Pritchard played this role with menace, along with some softer touches, extolling the virtues of being a grandad, but always with his own interests at heart. Ray, played by Gavin Jones, was much more of a family man, showing loyalty to his friend Mickey and wife Brenda, but also a hardened criminal in his own right. He played the role perfectly. Brenda was a revelation – played by Dianne Newby, she was feisty, but held Ray together. She said she knew little of the details of what he had been involved with and was loyal to him to the last. Her animosity with Mickey ran very deep, over decades, and she knew her husband would be manipulated by him, unless she outwitted Mickey herself. Newcomer Sophie Coulson played the role of Polly – and played her well as a researcher, before the transformation to wily detective, who worked out Brenda and knew how she would work with her. Francine, played by Anne Barrowman, added an extra layer to Mickey, but she did not get on with his family, and was very suspicious of anyone who got close to Mickey. Her reaction when she thought Mickey had been shot was a real highlight.

The casting was superb - and the layers of character were steadily built in the first half to reveal a complex situation. 

Polly, in particular, as the young researcher was very convincing, and clearly had more depth than she initially suggested and her change of role to being a detective was superb. Indeed, whilst the play seemed to be initially based on the roles of the male villains, the real strength of the performance was from the wily women - some who had accepted their men for what they were (Brenda) or what they had given them in terms of money (Francine) but Polly and Brenda also worked together to ensure justice was served.

Adel Players are very lucky to have Digna to provide a true touch of Spain, and especially so for this production. Her fluent Spanish highlighted the inadequacies of the English attempts at the language, creating a humorous touch.

The character build up and script were excellent and I am delighted to note that the next Adel play is also written by Richard Harris. This is called Party Piece and runs from Weds 17 – Sat 20 January. It is described as a comedy – and one to certainly get tickets for!

STOP PRESS! Adel Players member raises £1500 for Parkinson's!

Not to be beaten by this challenging disease, we are very proud to announce that our long-standing member, Bernard Riley undertook a sponsored walk recently and in doing so raised just shy of £1500 in support of Parkinson's UK. Pictured below with his wife, Pat, Bernard worked very hard to meet this challenge and deserves great credit for helping in aid of such a worthy cause. Well done Bernard, and Pat!

"Smoke and Mirrors" draws the crowds!

After going missing for several days, environmental activist Rosalind Borg is found dead in the undergrowth by the Seven Arches in Adel Woods. She has suffered a heart attack. A coroner’s jury rules the death as natural causes but her close friend, fellow activist and famous Dales psychic “Pale Mary” Compton, senses otherwise and cannot accept the verdict. Everyone urges Mary not to try to get the investigation re-opened, but Mary is determined to use her powers as a psychic to uncover the truth. 

WPC Jemima Lightning and her boss, DI Alicia Thorne, face a storm of media speculation and negative publicity. Could Rosalind have been saved if the police had organised searches earlier? Is Mary right in her suspicion that Rosalind was the victim of foul play?  All will be revealed when Mary holds “An Evening with the Dales Mystic” at Adel Memorial Hall

Penned once again by our very own "writer in residence", Pat Riley, and directed by Mike Andrews, this whodunnit pulled in more than 200 audience members and once again our thanks to all those who gave their support. Between ticket sales and a very popular raffle, a whopping £3,100 profit was made in support of the AWMA charity, and there were plenty of smiling (if occasionally puzzled!) faces at the end of the evening. Here's some photos, and see below for a review kindly prepared by Ann Lightman.

Review of "Smoke and Mirrors" by Ann Lightman

The annual murder mystery evening in aid of the Adel War Memorial Association is something much anticipated by our table – eight of us this year. We have a long record now of not winning the quiz nor solving the murder – though there are times we come close! Not this year! Is it getting harder or are we getting less competitive? I suspect the latter, though as only one table from both evenings came up with the answer, perhaps it is a bit of both. 

 

The curtains go up and the drama begins – a TV interview about a body found in Adel Woods – by the beck, near the Seven Arches. We all love the local touches! The widower, a consultant surgeon, is accusing the police of being slow to search for the body and ignoring information given by the victim’s close friend, Mary Compton, “the Dales Mystic”. The police felt they had zero cooperation from the doctor, who seemed to have had a remote relationship with his wife and comes over as an overbearing and unsympathetic character – the first suspect maybe? 

 

The Coroner had concluded that his late wife had died of natural causes – she had a long history of heart problems.  But Mary is not convinced – with her psychic powers, she would have expected to “feel” the presence of her friend where she died. Also, if the accepted story is true, where was the foraging basket and the medication she always carried in case on an angina attack? She now believed that her friend had died elsewhere and been dumped there. Part of a name of a drug which would disappear over time, but would look like the victim had died of a heart attack was something Mary could “see”.  Were we looking at a murder? 

 

Mary was to be interviewed a little later by the same radio interviewer, George Lazarus, at her home. This had been very much against the wishes of her manager, Marjorie, who did not wish to upset her old flame, the surgeon. We learned in an exchange after the first TV interview that Marjorie might well be hoping to reignite the affair now he was unattached. Conchita, the personal assistant, was the first to disabuse her of this notion and Mary’s husband did the same. It also became apparent in both scenes how capable Conchita was, she was also acting unofficially as Manager, as Marjorie was not up to the job.  As it turned out the interview did not take place, rather we were treated to an illustration of Mary’s exceptional skills and George Lazarus – not his real name, had a long-standing motive to harm both the deal person and Mary too. Another suspect? Marjorie’s absence from the scene was attributed to not wanting to be part of something of which she disapproved, so a radio announcement later that evening that she had been discovered, dead in her car in the Kirkstall Vue car park, was a shock. The empty blister pack next to her led to speculation that she had committed suicide. Mary did not believe this – nor, it would appear, did the police. Was it another murder? The body was immediately checked for the presence of the drug Mary felt was used in the first death and which, because the search was made immediately, was found. So yes, it was likely to have been another murder – was it linked to the original body though?

 

The last scene, prior to supper (and the audience being invited to say which deaths were murder decide on who did the murders and list their motives) took the form of an audience with the Dales Mystic in the Memorial Hall. Mary was handed a drink of elderflower cordial by Conchita, provided by the doctor. Mary started to show signs of not being well and after a question from the local police office (WPC Jemima Lightning) asking whether Mary believed that her friend, the surgeon’s wife, had died of foul play, she collapsed. The doctor was called to administer first aid, the ambulance was called. Were we looking at a third victim???

 

So, over our excellent supper, catered by the Badminton Section members, we pondered the questions. I must apologise to our table. I stated I did not believe the surgeon had murdered his wife as what did he have to gain? He was, if Conchita was to be believed leading a happy enough life, with a succession of mistresses at his Alwoodley house, whilst his wife lived mainly in their Wetherby home. Of course the final reveal showed that the collapse of Mary was staged, to trap the surgeon, who was the murderer, aided and abetted by Conchita. One of our table picked up on the fact that she thought there was something going on between those two, but we didn’t follow that up. If it’s any consolation – we’ve all been in that position before!! All in all, a thoroughly entertaining evening, thanks to Pat Riley for her hard work on an excellent script and the team at Adel Players – a dozen actually taking part on stage, and many more behind the scenes. 

STOP PRESS: Wharfedale Festival of Theatre Awards

Following the Festival awards ceremony, our hearty congratulations to long-standing member, Mike Andrews, who was named Best Supporting Actor for his role as Solomon in our production of The Price. We also received the award for Best Programme, so congratulations and many thanks to Beth Duce and Jane Claire who led the work to pull that together. Here are Mike and Beth, proud award winners!

"Quartet" by Ronald Harwood, directed            Alan Foale                    19-22 April 2023

Prestigious Award for two Adel Players Members

It was with great pleasure that we learnt that two of our members, Pat and Bernard Riley, were honoured in the 2021-22 Wharfedale Festival of Theatre with a special award for their contributions to amateur theatre. The Pat Dyson Spirit of Theatre Award is presented annually for individuals who have gone "above-and-beyond" to support amateur theatre and champion its development. Pat and Bernard certainly qualify for this, having worked tirelessly for many years promoting the Wharfedale Festival itself as assessors for festival entrants, ongoing committee members and (in Pat's case) Festival Secretary for 17 years. All this, as well as involving themselves in a number of local amateur companies, whether acting or directing. Well done to both of them for this richly deserved and well-earned recognition and here is a picture of them being presented with the Pat Dyson Trophy.

Success at Wharfedale Festival of Theatre Awards!

As many patrons are aware, Adel Players are frequent entrants in the Wharfedale Festival of Theatre. For the 2019-20 awards season we put forward our January 2020 play, How the Other Half Loves, and you may remember that we received nominations for awards in the following categories:

 

Best Supporting Actress: Pauline Ashworth

Best Programme: Shell Peart

 

At the Award Ceremony we are delighted to confirm that Pauline won in the Best Supporting Actress category. Our hearty congratulations to both Pauline and Shell, and for pictures and more on this great production, please see under Past Productions or by clicking here.

 

For more on the Festival itself, just visit their website 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'!

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