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The Piddle Valley Players

South Pacific - 2018

It never ceases to amaze how this small Memorial Hall can at a stroke (apparently!)convert into a theatre accommodating some 60 audience, musicians and performers. Its intimacy encourages a great atmosphere, we all feel part of the show. So it was good to walk in from the cold straight to the warmth of this bright, welcoming Pacific Island, suitably decorated.

It helps that many of the audience will have known the show and its characters, allowing each performer to add their own identity to the well-known parts. Fortunately the American and French accents were suitably underplayed and the clarity of the well-known songs owed much to the light touch of the trio of musicians.

For their entrance fee, the audience was treated to 14 well-known songs and the spectacle of wartime bombing and parachuting onto the island - on film! And being served during the interval with very tasty chocolate shrunken heads! Another winner - how do they keep doing this?

Colin Dean

Talent Night & 2018 Production

The Piddle Valleys Players are having a 'Talent Night' evening on Saturday 15th July 2017 as a fundraiser for their next show in February 2018. Members will be performing songs, sketches and comedy and it is open to the public to join us. If you would like to show off your talent, please contact our director, Holly Royle, on 07775 436075

Tickets are available NOW from Old Chapel Stores in Buckland Newton £5, including a light buffet, (£3 for performers)

The Piddle Valley Players is a very friendly group and always welcomes new members. We rehearse on Thursday evenings from 7pm and some Sunday afternoons, from September to February at Piddletrenthide Memorial Hall. For further information, please contact our Director, Holly Royle on 07775 436075 or holl-yr@hotmail.com

Guys and Dolls - 2017

Many thanks to the wonderful audiences of Buckland Newton and The Piddle Valley for the very generous contribution to our raffle this year, during this year's production of Guys and Dolls. We are pleased to announce, thanks to help of Sally Dangerfield - loyal to us every year!, we donated £67 to each of our chosen charities - Ducks and Drakes, EDP (Alcohol and dependency recovery), Combat Stress, Friends of Dorchester Hospital, and Piddletrenthide Memorial Hall.

I'll also take this opportunity to thank Buckland Newton for letting us use their village hall for this special celebration production.

We are always looking for new members to join us, so please contact us via Facebook or the Piddle Valley News online page for more details. The shows must go on!

Many thanks. Rachel Olley, on behalf of the Piddle Valley Players.

photo of cast photo of cast photo of cast

Guys & Dolls - 2017 Review

This was another brave venture by Rachel Olley. Buckland Newton hall had the musicians on the stage and the performers on the main floor with audience close on three sides; any slip or error would be quickly noticed. The story can be summarised as "rolling the dice and falling in love", the interaction between the crap-game guys and the mission dolls; the latter of course do not approve of the former! Nathan Detroit and his gambler pals were scary, being so close to the audience; one wouldn't want to bump in to them on a dark night in the valley. The dialogue throughout was quick-fire and there were 18 songs to be learned by the 23 performers, sympathetically accompanied by the local musical quartet on stage.

Refreshments were brought to tables by performers during the interval, so no rest for them. On Broadway the show has won many awards. This Piddle Valley Players performance should too. If this is really the last show to be produced locally by Rachel Olley, her name should be included in the Piddle Valley Theatre Hall of Fame, joining the likes of other legends such as Claire Waddy. Or will next year's production be staged at the multimillion pound state-of-the-art McMillan Theatre at Bridgwater, closer to Rachel's new home? On this performance, it would go a bomb!


The Piddle Valley Players always welcome new members!

Contact Rachel on 07810 406470 or see our Facebook page

Piddle Valley Players 2016 - CAROUSEL

The Piddle Valley Players would like to thank the audiences for their support during the show week of Carousel. We raised £516 on the raffle. Our charities this year are listed below.

  • Scope cerebral palsy
  • Purbeck ward dementia day room
  • Piddletrenthide Memorial Hall
  • Dorchester food bank
  • Ducks and Drakes.

We would like to thank Sally Dangerfield, Heather and Kelvin Bland and Simon and Annie Lock for making this all possible.

Carousel Review

A show reviewer usually reports on just one performance; not all nights might be the same. This correspondent covered the Thursday show and can only write as he finds. The briefest he can report is; SENSATIONAL! The opening scene involved all the cast wandering round the coastal fairground, smiling, joking, greeting each other, relaxed as we would be in happy mood - and without a single scripted word! That set the atmosphere for the whole evening, us older ones instantly recognising the famous songs such as When the Children are Asleep, If I Loved You and many more, all delivered without too much attempted American accents, accompanied by three musicians with the lightest of touches. The show was sponsored by Dorset Cereals and the Piddle Inn.

Advert for 2016 production Advert for 2016 production

Photos ©Ian Condon

It would be invidious to name individuals, but performers and audience recognised show director Rachel Olley's massive input at all levels, particularly in teasing out good performances. By the time you read this she will be well into planning the next show! As always, the Memorial Hall dressed up and adapted well, its committee and supporters forming most of the front-of-house team, so it was a happy audience who set off in search of their cars afterwards, cleaning off the frosty windscreens, perhaps with the hope that June would soon be Bustin' Out All Over in the Piddle Valley.

Colin Dean

Advert for 2016 production

Piddle Valley Players 2015 - DIVORCE ME DARLING.
Piddle Valley Players - Divorce Me Darling, 2015

Sometimes seeing only one performance of a Piddle Valley Players production is not enough - usually that is because they are so brilliantly fantastic that you can't get enough with just one! This year was slightly different. Those who attended the very successful Friday and Saturday night performances were not to know that the cast had quickly learned some lessons from a difficult opening night when some of the performers struggled both with the complicated plot and the delivery of the lines and songs. I kept wanting them to SLOW down and DELIVER their words so that they made sense and the jokes would be appreciated.

However, the Friday and Saturday nights were so different (especially on Friday). They did exactly what they had not done on the Thursday night and, helped by appreciative audiences who 'got' the jokes and laughed in the right places, they flourished, and on Friday deservedly received a standing ovation at the end. An encore was demanded and performed.

Some of the performances are worthy of special mention - Hattiee Olley has both a lot of talent and a very definite stage presence, she can also sing loudly and in tune; Anthony Leadbitter's song and 'tap' dance deservedly brought much laughter and applause; Victoria Willis as Polly and Holly Royle as Hortense stood out in the singing stakes. This was Victoria's first time on stage, but we wouldn't have known, she was assured, confident and word perfect. Holly has a voice to be envied and hopefully we will hear more from her in the future.

Congratulations to Director, Rachel Olley, for bringing the show together. She has a history of putting on complex and enthralling theatre (eg Fiddler on the Roof in 2013) and while Divorce Me Darling may not, at first glance, look difficult it was one of the most complex of plots and all who accepted the challenge must be commended. All will have gained valuable experience which will benefit them in future productions.

Heather Bland. Photo's © Rachel Olley

The Piddle Valley Players would like to thank our audiences for supporting our chosen charities this year. Ducks and Drakes, Dorset Association for the Blind, Piddletrenthide Memorial Hall and The Hub at Yeovil. We raised £270 with the raffle and all proceeds will be divided between each charity. Thanks to Sally Dangerfield and Heather Bland. Thank you to everyone who supported us this year and a special thanks to Rebecca Green, Poundbury Garden Centre and Piddletrenthide Shop.

Piddle Valley Players - Fiddler on the Roof, 2013

Staging such a well-known show locally takes courage, and our own Von-Olley family certainly has that, so no surprise that the Piddle Valley Players' production was a sell-out at all four performances, that the hall was converted into theatre-style seating, the printed programme was in the shape of a violin and interval refreshments were delivered to our seats as part of the ticket price.

Topol's playing of lead figure Teyve is the best known but Peter Lindsley brought his own relaxed, humorous style as part character, part narrator. Often alone on stage, he shared his concerns with the audience that the Jewish tradition of daughters marrying well to assist their struggling parents seemed to be fading, hence his dreams of being a rich man did not seem very hopeful. The Sabbath Prayer tableau was brilliantly moving and the Dream scene in which the whole cast made full use of the hall was in keeping with a big finale, but luckily we still had the second act to look forward to.

Piddle Valley Players - Fiddler on the Roof, 2013

On a small stage, what was impressive were the occasions when up to 10 actors would be involved, groups and pairings always busy, never standing around watching the other characters. Everyone had a part to play and every one played it brilliantly.

To the show's huge success on Broadway, the West End and the film can now be added "Piddle Valley Players 2013". But surely some of our local actors have perhaps-distant Jewish ancestry. They were that good.

Colin Dean. Photo's © Annie Freak

The Boyfriend - 2012

Click on a picture for a slide show

Hey Chaps, Spiffing Show ! I never fail to be amazed at the huge pool of acting talent in the Piddle Valley and its close environs. Once again the Piddle Valley Players entertained and entranced sell-out audiences at Piddletrenthide Memorial Hall with their production of The Boy Friend.

In Sandy Wilson's musical set around a French Riviera Finishing School in the Roaring Twenties, Director Rachel Olley demonstrated again her gift of drawing out the natural talent from all to create an excellent show, especially noteworthy for the younger members performances, particularly Alex Brazier as leading lady Polly Browne, who showed maturity and ability well beyond her 15 years, demonstrating comedy and pathos in equal measure. This combined with a lovely singing voice that already has depth and emotion, will surely only get better as she gets older.

Congratulations to Tom Ferrett, her leading man and love-interest, who played the nice-but-rather-dim Tony and whose lisping aristocratic accent must have taken some effort to maintain. Tom's ability to play his lines for laughs while also preserving the poignancy of lost love in his voice was just right and he too has a singing voice that deserves to be heard more often.

Stalwart PVP, Peter Lindsley, was joined in this production for the first time by his daughter Catherine, who played French maid Hortense. The acting-talent gene must run in the family as apparently someone thought she was French and asked how she was finding life in the Piddle Valley ! Her rendition of 'Nicer in Nice' was one of the show highlights. Peter's accent never wavered as wealthy American Bobby van Husen, and, he is not bad at the Charleston!

Musical Director Elizabeth Sweetnam, coaxed some really good performances from the cast and her piano playing almost non-stop for two hours enhanced the production. This was a team effort, everyone's contribution critical to its success. Chris Walbrin and Stuart Bland's 'Carnival Tang' will remain in the audiences' minds for time to come! Well done also to younger members of the cast Annabel Trim, Connor Dooley and Max Gooding and Hattie Olley as Dulcie, whose duet with Lord Parkinson-Hardman, was another highlight.

Special mention for youngest cast member, Jenna Freak who played Maisie with confidence, ability and sheer stage presence well beyond her 13 years. She can sing, dance and hold the audience by the force of her personality and has a talent that deserves to be nurtured - a leading lady of the future, and not necessarily restricted to the Piddle Valley. Heather Bland