The Corn Exchange, Newbury
0845 5218 218 (calls will cost 2p per minute plus your telephone company’s Access Charge)
The Corn Exchange, Newbury. Visitor information is here.
The Gruffalo, 22nd to 24th September, daytimes
Join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood in Tall Stories’ magical, musical adaptation of the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Searching for hazelnuts, Mouse meets the cunning Fox, the eccentric old Owl and the party mad Snake. Will the story of the terrifying Gruffalo save Mouse from ending up as dinner for these hungry woodland creatures? After all, there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo – is there? Songs, laughs and scary fun for children aged 3 and up and their grown-ups, in the much-loved show that’s toured Britain and the world!
Sherlock Holmes and the Crimson Cobble, 26th September
Holmes and Watson are called upon to investigate the Whitechapel murders that are sending shockwaves through London. But when the evidence points to only one possible and inconceivable conclusion about the identity of Jack the Ripper, is our super sleuth prepared to believe the unbelievable? This witty, laugh-a-minute pastiche of Conan Doyle’s investigative pair is a fast paced, physical and raucous night out.
Coriolanus, 11th October, 19:00
See Theatre at the Cinema.
Mr Darcy Loses the Plot, 12th October, 19:45
Jane Austen is dreaming up Darcy, a proud, lip curling, handsome creation in very tight pants. But then a door squeaks, a visitor approaches and Jane hastily hides her work. Mr Darcy is left dangling. Left to his own devices he embroiders his own storyline while his creator stitches her quilt. When Jane returns she finds the plot has moved on and Darcy is dancing to a different tune. LipService explore the world of women writers, scribbling in secret or under pseudonyms, squeezing in their writing amongst the hustle and bustle of taking tea, choosing chintz and having the vapours.
Hamlet, 18th October, 19:00
See Theatre at the Cinema.
Shark in The Park , 25th to 26th October, daytimes
This fin-tastic family musical follows Timothy Pope (and his telescope!) on 3 exciting adventures. When Timothy Pope receives a brand new telescope for his birthday, boy is he excited to test it out at the park! But wait… is that really a shark he can see? Join Timothy and his Elvis loving Dad on their adventures, meeting lots of other fun characters along the way, not to mention a tap dancing seagull!
Dirty Dusting, 2nd November, 19:45
When Gladys, Elsie and Olive are threatened with redundancy and have little chance of gaining employment elsewhere, the ladies have to boost their falling income. A chance wrong number gives them a new business start-up idea – why not run a telephone sex line? Needless to say...things don’t go entirely according to plan.
Shakespeare Schools Festival, 7th to 8th November, 19:00
Shakespeare Schools Foundation is proud to present the world’s largest youth drama festival at the Corn Exchange. Join us for a series of unique Shakespeare productions staged by your schools. Whether you are a parent, friend or another local school, we invite you to an exhilarating evening of theatre where you will see Shakespeare’s stories brought to life like never before.
The Secret Keeper, 10th November, 19:45
The Good Daughter wants to make her father happy. “Tell me what makes you so sad. Tell me your dark secret and I promise to keep it safe for you”. He whispers in his daughter’s ear and a great weight lifts from his shoulders. Feeling jubilated he invites the whole town to confide in his miraculous daughter. Soon everyone is flocking to unburden themselves on The Secret Keeper. But what happens when a murderer confesses? And who is to blame for the consequences…? A witty and playful adult fairy tale with a murderous gothic heart from Angela Clerkin, Associate Artist with Improbable and Chris Goode and Co. Made by an award-winning creative team featuring music, puppetry and fiendish storytelling.
Finding Joy, 14th to 15th November, 19:45
Joy is 83 today: she’s funny, loves to dance, and is losing her memory. Her grandson Danny is rebellious, bright and always getting into trouble. When Danny decides to look after Joy, they discover a shared playfulness and a mutual affection. But is that enough to take on the challenges ahead? Vamos Theatre’s wordless production tells the true story of a teenager's decision to care for his grandmother with dementia, with humour, poignancy, and warmth. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll find joy!
Follies, 16th November, 19:00
See Theatre at the Cinema.
Beauty and the Beast, 1st December to 7th January
Will the Beast ever break the terrible curse that entraps him? Will love conquer all? And which pop star will pen the next big hit that’ll feature in this year’s pantomime extravaganza! From the writer and director of Cinderella, Phil Willmott puts his own unique spin on this classic fairy tale of good triumphing over evil. Prepare for an action-packed tale full of songs, mischief and plenty of magic. Our ever-popular pantomime has become a fun-filled tradition for the families of Newbury and beyond. Grab your tickets early for our next big festive treat!
Young Marx, 7th December, 19:00
See Theatre at the Cinema.
Reviews of Cinderella
25th November to 31st December 2016.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News (and a very similar review from the British Theatre Guide).
We're all happy ever after
Phil Willmott's sparkling Cinderella has the Corn Exchange buzzing
Cinderella, at the Corn Exchange, Newbury, until Saturday, December 31
The Corn Exchange pantomime this year is one of the most-loved productions – Cinderella – and Phil Willmott deftly directs his witty script, filled with festive family fun.
The auditorium is festooned with strings of fairy lights, hanging mirror balls and cartoon cut-outs of the characters, creating a truly seasonal atmosphere as boys and girls and their mums and dads took their seats to a palpable buzz of excitement.
All the ingredients for this annual extravaganza are here in abundance, from the colourful set, sparkling costumes, impressive lighting by Guy Dickens and an enthusiastic hard-working cast of mostly new performers to Newbury, determined to ensure we all have a grand time.
This rag to riches story is well-known, as poor downtrodden Cinders, bullied by her stepsisters, finally finds love and marries her Prince Charming.
Richard James-King is the jovial, camp, trumpet-blowing Henry the Herald, who welcomes us to Newbury Bottom with his catchphrase "Do you fancy a tootle?" and we all replied "Don't forget your trumpet..." all great fun.
Making a welcome return is Joshua Coley as naive Spud the farmer, complete with Brummie accent, who gives a splendid performance. He establishes a good rapport with the audience, as we have to guard his pumpkin that's eventually stolen by a gigantic rabbit, Buttons the Bunny, delightfully played by Michael Magennis.
There is good support from Natalie Thorn as part of the ensemble but I did miss the sparkle and warmth of having a youngster troupe of performers. There is some clever energetic choreography by Holly Hughes that the cast embraces with enthusiasm.
Angela Laverick is the ideal Fairy Godmother that everyone would want to have to watch over them and, in a somewhat contrived casting, also plays Lady Hard Up, who has to renew her Fairy Godmother's licence.
Every good Panto needs a Dame and in Cinderella we have two in the shape of the Ugly Sisters, who arrive on stage on scooters. Oliver Broad returns to Newbury as Sister Bella, a tough Essex rogue, determined to beat her sister Stella (Danny Stokes) in finding a husband. The rivalry between them produces many hilarious comic scenes and they are a joy to watch.
The love interest comes from Emma Harrold as Cinderella and Alastair Hill as Prince Charming, both giving exemplary performances – they sing beautifully together.
Also returning is Amy Christina Murray who plays the gothic sulky chav rebel teenager Princess Charmless with aplomb and her tagline "whatever...".
The pumpkin transformation scene turning into a coach is a magical moment and we even had snow falling on the audience.
There are lots of local references, dreadful funny puns, a slapstick scene to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas and oodles of audience participation, including the traditional song sheet and a spirited musical score provided by Richard Baker and Bobby Goulder.
My two young companions really enjoyed the show. Maisie, aged six, "loved when they all got married at the end" and her favourite character was Princess Charmless. Nine-year-old Henry thought "it's funny and creative" and the Ugly Sisters "were super".
This show should certainly be on this year's Christmas wish list.
There is a review from The Stage ("decent music and fine singing in a static and safe show " - 2 stars).
For more details
see the Corn Exchange and New Greenham Arts web site at www.cornexchangenew.com.
Dick Whittington, 27th November 2015 to 3rd January 2016. See the reviews in the archive.
Aladdin, 28th November 2014 to 4th January 2015. See the reviews in the archive.
Jack and the Beanstalk, 29th November 2013 to 5th January 2014. See the reviews in the Archive.
Cinderella, 30th November 2012 to 6th January 2013. See the reviews in the Archive.