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I have posted in the past how greasepaint runs in the blood of my sister and me - we both donned brown-paper rat's-head masks and scuttled on to the stage at Crane school following the Pied Piper of H

Cor Chulla, seeing those Parkie packets just makes me fancy a puff. I can almost see myself sitting on the top deck of the "Red Bus" bouncing along Colwick Rd, 7.30am on my way to work. The air would

I hadn't intended to include this with it not being a Notts theatre, but as it's coincidental with the recent death of Brian Rix here it is. My next theatre trip happened to be to see one of his farce

Re #44. Ian, Jean Marsh was famous for playing the role of Rose in Upstairs, Downstairs. A brilliant series.

She was married to Jon Pertwee of Dr Who fame in the fifties.

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Yes, I went to see Judi Dench as Joan of Arc, have the programme somewhere. The most memorable performance I saw was probably the Hollywood actor Robert Ryan playing the role of Othello at the Playhouse, he delivered his lines as if he was in his usual role as a cowboy gunslinger!!!

I went to so many performances at the Theatre Royal and the Playhouse, I can't remember them all, I recall a show at the Theatre involving Harry Seacombe and Jimmy Clitheroe hitting each other with fish while being drenched with buckets of water, then Lonnie Donegan as Buttons in a panto doing his stuff at the end and getting everyone up and jiving in the aisles.

Plus a memorable performance at the Playhouse of The Ruling Class when I was on the front row and had Neville spit fake blood all over me 'I am the A.C, DC, JC'. Brilliant play, made into a film starring Peter O Toole.

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Having become a Gilbert & Sullivan aficionado because of the catchy tunes and comedy I was not the first such person to as a result go on and develop an appreciation for proper singing and, with the greatest of respect to Sir Arthur, real classical music - or at least operatic music in my case.


So in June 1971 I took the plunge into grand opera with the visit of what was then still called Sadler's Wells Opera (and which in those days still toured outside London) to the Theatre Royal. I still went for comedy though, and saw Rossini's 'The Barber of Seville'. Sadler's Wells, of course, performed the pieces in English translation otherwise I wouldn't have considered it.




Other operas in the repertoire that week were 'The Seraglio' by Mozart, and 'Semele' by Handel.  But the 'Barber' was enough for me!


25p in the gallery (the new money having come in since my last trip).




I haven't copied the page with the cast, but the Count was played by Long Eaton-born John Brecknock who was a company regular in the 1970s.





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As part of the second Nottingham Festival in July 1971 a production of Gilbert & Sullivan's 'The Yeomen of the Guard' was staged in the Castle grounds. This was by the company called 'Gilbert & Sullivan For All', made up of a core of former D'Oyly Carte performers and who had staged a similar production, either the previous year or in 1969 at Newark Castle.


I'm including the flyer for it which I kept.




I didn't see the Newark production, but I think the castle there would have made a better stand-in for the Tower of London than Nottingham Castle did - although I can't remember now exactly what part of it featured in the background.


I also can't remember how much - stage or audience - was under cover, although I do remember it came on to rain at one point on the night I was there.


The chorus was made up of members of the West Bridgford Operatic Society and the Newark Amateur Operatic Society.





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West Bridgford Operatic Society's 1972 production followed the D'Oyly Carte line in presenting 'Trial By Jury' as a curtain-raiser to 'H.M.S. Pinafore'.




From now on I began to get my tickets from Derek Revell who played the principal bass-baritone parts and who ran the newsagents on the corner of Hucknall Road and Perry Road which I went past every day on my way to work.



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The first week in May 1972 saw another visit by Sadler's Wells with four operas in repertoire I gave the Monteverdi piece a miss but saw the other three - 'The Marriage of Figaro, 'Count Ory' by Rossini, and 'Orpheus in the Underworld'. The latter two featuring the wonderful Valerie Masterson.


By now I think they had begun selling tickets for the Gallery (price 30p) in the Box Office, but of course they were unreserved seats, so in order to get a front seat it was best to start queuing up half an hour before the doors opened. With a 7pm curtain up as all these were, it meant getting there as early as 6.30pm.




I don't know what sort of place Tanya Manor at Castle Donington was, but if you did go there after the show as invited you wouldn't have had very long there.



I didn't go to either of the forthcoming attractions:








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This is the corner of Wellington Circus before the Playhouse was built. There's a lot of mention of Nottingham's architectural disasters such as the destruction of Drury Hill and the building of Maid Marian Way, but the Playhouse isn't usually included in that list. Maybe it should be.


Even when they were derelict they didn't look that bad.






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Just an observation Cliff or thought... I was nearly caught out and was convinced photo 2 was taken outside The Playhouse... the buildings which housed the Midland Group Gallery and Dr.Tyacks place. Great place for conkers if you could climb over the railings!

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More grand opera later in 1972. I must have felt really confident by then as Glyndebourne didn't deign to perform in English so I took the plunge and saw La Boheme in the original Italian. I probably managed OK with the story as given in the programme.


Interesting to note the lesser role of Colline in the opera was sung by the young John Tomlinson, now Sir John and one of the country's leading singers.




This advertisement should perhaps be in the 'Things You Don't See Any More' thread:




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In 1973 a short-lived opera company called Phoenix Opera visited the Theatre Royal. I can't remember now which performances I attended, except that I did go and see 'Martha' by Friedrich von Flotow, a piece which was once part of the standard repertoire of opera companies but which by this time had almost ceased to be performed.  It's chiefly notable for incorporating the traditional song 'The Last Rose of Summer'.


The price of a seat in the gods had now crept up to 50p.




Details of the forthcoming pantomime:



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Another opera company that is no longer with us visited the Theatre Royal in November 1973 - The English Opera Group. I saw the double bill of what was rather misleadingly advertised in some quarters as 'Iolanthe' and 'Trial by Jury'.


But the 'Iolanthe' in this case was by Tchaikovsky, with the title more usually given as 'Iolanta' or, as in the programme, 'Yolande'.  A long-ish one act piece, which was followed by 'Trial by Jury'. 




The Golden Egg was still going strong:



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My guess is he played the Dame, which as far as I understand the panto version of Snow White (I've never seen it) may be either the queen or an invented character. Or I gather there's also sometimes an invented comic character in panto versions so that may have been him.


No doubt the 'famous' Bryan Johnson (never heard of him) played the Prince.

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I stumbled across the Forum because of the mention of John Brecknock, my favourite British operatic tenor. I saw many of his stage performances, mostly at the London Coliseum and also several concert appeances. Lovely man.


I can confirm that for a while Bryan Johnson was indeed famous. His brother Teddy was too, half of the Pearl Carr and TeddyJohnson duo whose rendition of Sing Little Birdie was another Eurovision entry.

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8 hours ago, Linda Briggs said:

I stumbled across the Forum because of the mention of John Brecknock, my favourite British operatic tenor. I saw many of his stage performances, mostly at the London Coliseum and also several concert appeances. Lovely man.




I must have seen him several times at the Theatre Royal in the 1970s. I also remember him in a BBC TV production of 'The Gondoliers'.


As I remember, he was good in comic roles, although of course he played plenty of other parts.

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In the same month in 1974 Sadler's Wells were back at the Theatre Royal for the last time before they took up their new name.


I think I saw Madam Butterfly and a piece by Donizetti, Mary Stuart (which was fairly dull), but gave The Coronation of Poppea by Monteverdi a miss. Best of the week was The Merry Widow, with June Bronhill in the title role.




A couple of eating places advertised:



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