Worthing’s Hurly-burly Theatre Company offer Christmas show

Worthing’s Hurly-burly Theatre Company will be back with a cracker of a show this December.

Hurly-burly Christmas: Jane, Liz and Gill
Hurly-burly Christmas: Jane, Liz and Gill

Gill Medway, one of the performers and its resident writer, said: “It’s been a tough year for us all, and the performing arts have suffered badly – with dark theatres, empty concert halls and silent music venues up and down the country. From small amateur companies in village halls to lavish West End shows, we’ve all felt the bitterness of loss, with no proper live productions happening since the beginning of March.

“But it’s not just the actors, singers, dancers and technical crews who are missing out. Our audences are too. With no chance to see any Shakespeare, a favourite musical show, a gig performed by your number-one band or even the delight of taking your children to their very first panto, it’s all been looking pretty grim, to say the least – because nothing beats a live show.

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“Virtual this-that-and-the-other – and many performers have been resorting to this – is no substitute for the real thing happening right there in a real space in real time right in front of you. The buzz of a first night, where literally anything can happen, is an experience that’s second to none But enough doom and gloom. Performers are poised in the wings, ready to step out onto the stage once more. And every single actor, dancer, singer and technician has his or her fingers tightly crossed, certain that, before long, we will be back.”

Hurly-burly Theatre Company has been performing regularly at the Ardington Hotel and were scheduled to present two new plays as a double bill last April.

“As this turned out to be the peak of the first wave, we had to cancel – to everyone’s disappointment.”

Now they are pinning hopes on a programme of festive readings entitled Christmas Crackers, to be performed on Saturday, December 5.

“We want to keep the whole programme light and funny,” says actor Jane Ware, who has been busy putting the show together. “There is a serious side to Christmas, of course but, after the year we’ve had, we feel our audiences are desperately in need of a good laugh – and that’s what we’ll be giving them.

“We’ve chosen all kind of poems, monologues and literary excerpts to get our audiences into a merry mood, just in time for Christmas.”

Gill added: “Hurly-burly usually perform in one of hotel’s large function rooms, but we’re well aware of the need for correct social distancing, so our Christmas show will take place in the Indigo restaurant, with tables cleverly spaced so everyone can keep safe.

“I’ll be joined in the cast by James Summers, Liz Downes, Jane Ware and Russ Bravo, whom many will know from the terrific Matt’s Comedy Club. There will be two performances on the day, but in an another departure from the norm we’ll be giving one in the morning, after a delicious brunch, and the other in the afternoon, after a scrumptious tea, so it’ll be a really festive occasion.

“Our regular audience knows to expect the unexpected from us, and we’re sure they won’t mind this being a little bit different. In the past we’ve featured a wide range of characters from Shakspeare’s Weird Sisters to Santa’s reindeer, and although our focus has been chiefly on comedy, we’ve performed our share of pathos too. Playing Out, for instance, which we presented in April last year, was a nostalgic visit to an old woman’s childhood in post-war London, remembering the friends she loved and lost. And Out of Print, which we performed back in 2018, featured a children’s author whose young readers had all grown up and perhaps forgotten her.”

Christmas Crackers in the Indigo Restaurant is at 10.15am and 2.45pm. Tickets £15, including brunch or afternoon tea. Book on 01903 230451.