Archive for Forthcoming Shows 2012
Sardines magazine review
‘The Royal Baccarat Scandal’ tells the true story of Sir William Gordon-Cumming and his role in what was also known as The Tranby Croft Scandal. The basic premise is that Sir William, a close friend of the Prince of Wales (who became Edward VII) took part in a game of Baccarat – a gambling game that was illegal in England – and was accused of cheating. Despite his repeated denial of any wrongdoing, he is persuaded to sign a pledge that he will never play cards again, in return for the matter to be hushed up.
The play is set 30 years after the scandal, with Sir William telling his daughter all about the events that led to his disgrace. In the role of Sir William, Nigel Dams gave a very powerful performance – no mean feat, given that he rarely left the stage. As his daughter (and narrator for the piece), Alison Nicol was superbly relaxed, engaging and a true joy to watch. Robert Sheppard, playing the Prince of Wales was every inch the royal philanderer. Other mentions should go to Ian Nichols (Sir Edward Clarke), Alan Arlington (Sir Charles Russell) and Derek Watts (Lieutenant-General Owen Williams) for excellent performances. In fact, I couldn’t fault any cast member at all.
This play is quite a challenging one to pull off and though long, it isn’t in any way dull or boring – if done right. Guildburys did get it right. The cast, crew and staging all came together to provide a very entertaining evening. Guildburys (and director Gilly Fick) have every reason to be very proud of this production. Well done indeed!!
The majority verdict of the audiences was taken by voting cards following the close of the play – click here to see the verdict
Moira Clarke “Show was absolutely brilliant – loved it. And unique finale in having to cast a vote”
Gordon Ayshford “Fantastic – a truly captivating plot brought to life by charismatic performances. The pace moved at a lick to cover the extensive scope and full dialogue of the complex main and sub-plots , then softened at the thoughtful, tense and emotional moments to draw the audience in. The scenes are each recollections from Sir William Gordon Cumming as he explains his past tribulations to his daughter in answer to her question as to why the room fell silent when she had revealed her maiden name in a society party. This is a sensitive treatment of an old man confiding for the first time and the story flowed seamlessly as one memory evoked another episode while the scandal unfolded. The audience’s perspective was moved on a see-saw journey seen alternately through the eyes of an offender and a victim. I felt truly privileged to have been in the audience for intimate and powerful and moving drama. The characters were real, the situations captivating and the conflicting emotions were expressed with dexterity.”
Alison Davey “Congratulations to all the cast of The Royal Baccarat Scandal. My husband and I really enjoyed the play. Great performances from everyone. I thought Nigel Dams performance of Sir William Gordon Cumming was amazing.
Margaret Fisher “A captivating experience, we all thoroughly enjoyed it.”
The papers are full of it and there’s enough celebrity gossip, scandal and adultery for a super injunction.
But this isn’t the 21st century – it is 1890 – and the story is based on fact. Social etiquette and acceptance is vital, honour is everything, concealing as it often does, blatant hypocrisy.
At the beginning of the play Edward, Prince of Wales is with one of his many mistresses in his dressing room …..
“What you’ve got to understand my dear is that everyone gossips about me, but it doesn’t matter as long as it doesn’t get into the papers.
Remember me to your husband. He’s such an understanding man.”
The Prince is planning a visit to the Doncaster Races and receives an invitation to spend a few days at Tranby Croft, en route to the races. His close friend Sir William Gordon Cumming, an honourable member of the Guards and a member the Prince’s gambling circle is also a guest. Sir William shares the Prince’s twin passions for Baccarat and chasing other men’s wives, but the evening turns to disaster as he is accused of swindling the Prince by cheating during a game of Baccarat – an illegal game as fraught with danger as adultery. His accusers are led by the jealous husband of his mistress and he is forced to sue for defamation; the outcome of the trial will have massive implications for all concerned.
Will you find for Sir William or for his accusers?
The Electric Theatre, Guildford 21-24 November, 2012
Production photography Phill Griffith
Guildburys have been performing their flagship summer show in the grounds of Farnham Castle for more than 20 years. The Marriage of Figaro – the play that inspired Mozart – is the perfect choice for a Farnham show. The marriage of picnicking in spectacular surroundings whilst enjoying the delights of outdoor theatre should have been a marriage made in heaven, but the wettest summer in years meant that the cast and crew were faced with a huge challenge. Our audiences were extraordinary, laughing and clapping and staying to the end. It is a testament to the strength of our following AND the strength of a really excellent show.
This comment says it all
“Last evening some friends joined me to see the Guildburys Theatre Company production of ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ in the grounds of Farnham Castle in the rain. They loved it! One commented ‘I really enjoyed the play, the players, the setting, and the company, which just goes to show how insignificant the weather can be made!’ and another ‘I had a wonderful time and am full of admiration for the Players. They carried on regardless, as if Power cuts and Stage sweeping excess water was an everyday occurrence / fact of life that they had been born to. I am definitely converted – and will be attending their next show. “
Other comments included
“Great performance. Please convey our congratulations to the cast for a very jolly and enjoyable performance, despite the weather.”
“Thanks… for a really entertaining show with great set and costumes and some outstanding performances”
Very well done and congrats to all the cast and crew.”
“Well done to all – really enjoyed the show.”
We were also delighted that the reviews agreed with our audiences -
‘ Very merry you can expect to be. This is , not to mince words, a total hoot. A mad farcical plot is presented by skilled actors on a delightful set – lots of blue and gold – with enough doors for the characters to hide behind when they are caught in embarrassing situations. The script, the acting,the directing,the costumes,the music,the lighting, the sound, I could scarcely fault them. Never mind the weather – go and see this show!’ Stella Wiseman – The Farnham Herald
Click on the review to read it in full
Sardines Magazine’s Nicole Rose wrote
The whole cast must be congratulated on their professionalism for handling the adverse weather. While we were all under wraps with coats and brolly’s the actors were having to pretend it was Spain and scorching hot – not an easy scene to play out when you’re standing in torrential rain with your costume sticking to you. However, there were some comical moments, like when the countess instructed Susanna to open the window as it was “stifling hot”. I felt the people in the front row could have probably done without the added “spray” when members of the cast swept the rain off the stage, clearly to help the actors, but in fact sweeping it at the front row in their efforts!!
All in all the production was great and I am only sorry that I didn’t get to see the second Act. However, all of the audience were delighted with what they saw and many returned the next night to watch the conclusion. I can’t wait to see their Summer 2013 production and will definitely be making my way down to Cornwall to support their production at The Minack whether it rains or snows!!
Performed open air at Farnham Castle.
See what our audiences say about our shows here
Helpful information for audiences at Farnham Castle shows here
Production photography Peter Chapman