Alchemy 2017 NP smClive Nolan: "And so the deal is made! ‘The Fire and the Quest 2’ is over and what a weekend it was. ‘Alchemy’, ‘King’s Ransom’, an acoustic show, the secrets of the séance and some after parties! I offer a massive thanks to all the wonderful people who took part in this rather ambitious experience. There was an amazing feeling of warmth and enthusiasm from cast to crew to audience… a truly unique event!

It wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the tremendous efforts of Mark Westwood on sound, assisted by the calming influence of Alexander White… Alec Morris on those inspired lights… Dylan Thomas stage manager and all right good egg… Iain David Richardson master props man! Thanks again to Magdalena Grabias for selling all that merchandise, and Fernando Gomez for helping to keep all the customers happy… and seated!

We will be able to enjoy this weekend again in the future thanks to the excellent video talents of Neil Monaghan, John Vis and Meriam Verkleij, as well as terrific photography from Neil Palfreyman.

For all those who were working in the theatre, there were those who sweated blood and tears behind the scenes… Stig Andre Clason and his work on both the programme and the ‘King’s Ransom’ CD box set…. Natalie Barnett and Caron Morgan for all the wonderful costumes, and their scenery building… Ian Baldwin for designing the ‘King’s Ransom’ scenery… Ross Andrews and Ian Baldwin for painting the scenery… Patric Toms and Sian Roberts for all their driving… Ross Andrews for his Chorus Master duties… Mark Buckingham for his fantastic artwork... Claudio Momberg for keeping the web sites intact… and of course, Magdalena Grabias for all her mountains of working, compiling the programme material, keeping the websites up to date, and just generally bossing me around…;)

This section would not be complete without thanking Maggi Lewis and Chris Lewis for rising so far above and beyond the call of duty… as hosts to rehearsals… catering… fixing… and generally helping to keep me alive..;)

What a wonderful afternoon show we had with the ‘Beyond the Veil’ acoustic show. Kudos to all you great singers who travelled the corners of the earth to be part of this… Gemma Louise Edwards (Gemma Ashley), Elisabeth Syrdahl Ellingsen, Eirikur Hauksson, Laura Piazzai Epifani, Christina Booth, Chris Lewis, Agnieszka Swita, Andy Sears, Gabriel Agudo, Harriet Müller-Tyl, Lucia Cavallini, Paul Manzi… you all sounded terrific and each brought something special to this show… Special thanks to the Playhouse manager, Paul Scott for his rousing intro. It was also great to join up with the musicians for added spice to the day… Mark Westwood, Scott Higham, Kylan Kajamera Amos and Morten L Clason. Thank you all!

Then there were the musicals. This represented a major challenge of work for the cast, many of whom were playing roles in both ‘Alchemy’ and ‘King’s Ransom’.

Let’s talk Alchemy… Honourable mention must go to Elisabeth Syrdahl Ellingsen for slipping into the Alchemy production with so few rehearsals – it looked like she had been playing Amelia for years..;) Then there was of course the ebullience of Andy Sears with his turn as Henry Jagman… super baddie.

KR small 2017 NPHowever, our work was not yet done… there was ‘King’s Ransom’. What an excellent production it was… I loved being a part of this! I even got to dance… I use the term loosely! The mood, vibe and atmosphere on stage was fantastic and it was obvious we had hit an all new high. Here come the names…

Our wonderful chorus, who put so much into their many and varied roles… you guys were great… Caron Morgan (Martha!), Emily Frechter (Paper Boy!), Colin Greene, Ollie West, Ethan Barnett, Ian Baldwin, Laura May Attwood, Ron Milsom, Vincent Dortel and Ross Andrews.

And our principals… Gemma Ashley who bravely and brilliantly took on the role of ‘Eva’ in both shows… Robbie Gardner, who revived his ‘William’ for ‘Alchemy’ as well as taking on the ‘Tom’ character with such panache… Verity White and her excellent portrayal of the mild and sophisticated Doctor… Jamie Anderson who, at short notice, powerfully embraced the role of ‘William’ for ‘King’s Ransom’… Chris Lewis for his marvelous and colourful ‘Mr Deeks’… Natalie Barnett for her striking turn as Roza (as well as chorus work in ‘Alchemy’)…. Chris Longman for his dark and sinister ‘Scovil’… Ross Andrews, the man of many faces – all of them great… Joy-Amy Wigman for her terrific Helena… and Ian Baldwin for his delightfully camp rendition of ‘Captain Maunder’.

Well done and thank you to each and every one of you!
I must also thank everyone who came along and supported the ‘Fire and the Quest 2’… this meant a great deal to me, and added the perfect magical ingredient to the whole event.

Special mention must of course go to the army of Vikings who sailed over for this! I cannot name you all, but I’m sure Morten Morten can spread the word. ;)
And finally, there is Ian Baldwin! What can I say… without him these shows would certainly not have happened… from his inspired direction, his vision of how things should look, his interpretation of the characters and most of all, his tireless attendance of rehearsals when he so often had to work with far fewer people than there should have been. This guy’s patience exceeds the normal human extremes! Thanks old son… you’ve got skills!

So there we have it… a big big list, and no doubt I have forgotten many people along the way, for which I apologise… I need sleep… weeks of it. ;) Thanks again to everyone… there will be more to come… so… STAND FAST!"


View picture gallery HERE

Photos by Neil Palfreyman