Entertainment

The Style Councillors will headline this year’s Wake Up Woking event to raise money for the Woking and Sam Beare Hospice.

It will take place at the Fiery Bird in Church Street East on Saturday 1 December and support will come from mod band The Special Guests.

The Style Councillors – rather unsurprisingly – are a tribute act to The Style Council, formed by Woking’s most famous musical son Paul Weller after he left The Jam in the early 1980s.

Their hits included Shout To The Top!, My Ever Changing Moods, You’re The Best Thing and Long Hot Summer. Tickets for Wake Up Woking 9 on www.wakeupwoking.bigcartel.com

WHEN X Factor finalist Katie Markham was selected by Adele to appear in the BBC Adele Special presented by Graham Norton, she never dreamt she would be singing live with her idol on stage and launching a new UK touring show all within a year.

That show, Someone Like You, is on the road with Katie performing Adele’s music from her three hit albums, 19, 21 and 25.

Katie says:There’s a real beauty to Adele’s music. I think that’s why it appeals to so many people, she lays raw emotion out for all the world to see.”

The show features all the hits like Chasing Pavements, Make You Feel My Love, Set Fire To The Rain, Someone Like You, Rolling In The Deep, Hello and Skyfall, as well as featuring a selection of songs by some of the legends that inspired Adele. It arrives at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, on Saturday 17 November.

TWO footballing icons are heading for Woking to talk about their action-packed careers in the Chelsea Legends in Conversation show.

Strikers Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, now a Sky TV pundit, and Tore Andre Flo will discuss the big games, dressing room and training ground stories, managers, fall outs and everything you wanted to know about playing for and managing a successful football club.

The event at the New Victoria Theatre on Tuesday 13 November will be presented by Talk Sport radio presenter Perry Groves.

Dutch centre forward Hasselbaink joined Chelsea for a club record £15 million fee in May 2000 and scored 23 league goals in his first season, earning him the Premier League Golden Boot.

Flo, who has 76 Norway caps, scored on his debut in 1997 in a season in which the Blues won the League Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup.

CORONATION Street fans should get ready to see Soap star Wendi Peters as they’ve never seen her before. The actress who plays Cilla Battersby in the ITV continuing series is about to take to the stage as Lady Raeburn in Salad Days.

“They differ in as much as Lady Raeburn in Salad Days is the quintessential aristocrat who is very relaxed and laid back until it comes to her daughter and finding the right husband for her,” she explains. “I suppose she really just has Jane’s best interests at heart, whereas Cilla couldn’t give two hoots for her children, Fiz and Chesney, and comes from a very northern, working-class background, so has had to fight for all she has.

“The only similarity is the fact that both have a roving eye for the opposite sex.”

Francesca Pimm (Helouise), Wendi Peters (Lady Raeburn) and Ashlee Young (Manicurist). Picture by Mark Senior

Salad Days, which was first performed in 1954, holds lots of memories for Blackburn-born Wendi who says she was thrilled when she got the part of Lady Raeburn.

“I first saw a production of it when I was about 10,” she recalls. “It was an amateur production in Accrington in Lancashire and my godmother, Lorna, was in it.

“I became obsessed with the music and, soon after, there was a TV version of the show. My sister and I videoed it and watched it over and over again. It’s really become a family joke/memory and it’s still quoted today! Of course, I’m now feeling very old as I’m playing one of the parents in the show.”

The show revolves around Jane and Timothy, who have just graduated from university. Not knowing what to do next, they decide to get married and get a job looking after a piano, which happens to be magic and makes people dance.

“Tim’s parents are desperate for him to get a good job and send him out to visit all his uncles for career advice,” explains Wendi. “Jane’s mother – me! – wants to find her a wonderfully rich and influential husband, not knowing that she is already married.

“It’s a wonderfully upbeat, fun show with great numbers that a lot of people will know and can tap and hum along to. It’s just a great ‘leave your troubles outside the theatre’ show and I guarantee you will leave with a big smile on your face.”

The 50-year-old actress will also be having a great time as, despite being best known as Coronation Street’s Cilla, her heart has always stayed in the theatre.

“Most of my career has been on stage, and if someone asked me to pick between TV and theatre, the stage would always win,” she says. “It’s where I first fell in love with acting and singing. My mum would take us to see all the musicals that came to Manchester and I adored going to the theatre.

“A lot of my theatre work has been on tour and I love it. It’s very exciting to be back on the road again, bringing such a fun show to some wonderful places.”

When the tour finishes later this month, the fun will continue for Wendi.

“I have a week off and then it’s straight into panto season,” she says. “I’m back at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield playing Mrs Darling, Myrtle the Mermaid and Big Chief Squatting Cow.”

Wendi Peters will star in Salad Days at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, from Thursday 15 November until Saturday 17 November.

ALTHOUGH Jersey Boys includes more than 30 hit songs from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, it wasn’t intended to be a musical, writes Stuart Flitton.

The show is a multifaceted play – packed with live music – telling the rise of the group from the backstreets of New Jersey, where getting involved in the Mafia, or making it big in showbusiness or sport, are the only out of poverty for many.

The show moves back and forwards in time and tells the story from the perspective of each of the four members of the original line-up.

The kingpin of the Four Seasons isn’t Valli, but Tommy DeVito, who started a band in his teens that went through various names and line-ups and, as The Four Lovers and Valli on board, had a minor hit and a TV appearance.

Later the bass singer and vocal arranger Nick Massi and lyricist Bob Gaudio joined and the group adopted their famous name after the 4 Seasons bowling alley in Union, New Jersey, that had a room where they had auditioned.

When the show’s writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice were conducting research and spoke to the four musicians, they found disagreements about what happened and have used this to tell the story from the different perspectives.

What is undisputable is that the Four Seasons worked hard at their craft, spending years as a backing band for producer Bob Crewe, until they hit Number One in the charts in 1962 with Sherry and followed that up with two more Number Ones, Big Girls Don’t Cry and Walk Like a Man.

As well as these hits, the group wrote songs that were big successes for many other singers, including one that is revealed in a surprise moment in the show.

The Four Seasons’ catalogue of hits is brilliantly weaved into the story, providing touch points on their journey as well as reflecting the drama that surrounded their lives offstage.

On the night the News & Mail  saw the show, Valli was played by Dayle Hodge, who alternates the role with Michael Watson and is also Dance Captain.

He is joined by Simon Bailey (DeVito), Declan Egan (Gaudio) and Lewis Griffiths (Massi) who have all performed the show in the West End.

The other people in the Four Seasons’ lives are played by Joel Elferink (Crewe), Mark Heenehan as mobster and father figure Gyp DeCarlo and Phoebe May Newman, Olive Robinson and Tara Young in multiple roles.

Credit must also go to the superb band, led by Francis Goodhand and included a stand-out performance by drummer Samuel Firsht.

An audience member who had seen Jersey Boys in London said that the touring version is as good as that in the West End and was enhanced for her by the superb stage at the New Victoria Theatre.

The show writers have resisted any attempts at telling the story directly in new song, but rely on the Four Seasons themselves to provide the musical landscape.

While the story shows the highs of the musical collaboration and how the young men from the backstreets of New Jersey hit a chord with working-class America, it also relates movingly their personal setbacks, conflicts and tragedies.

It is a “musical journey” with a climactic end number, featuring all the cast, that has the audience on their feet.

The phrase “must-see show” is often overused, but is never more apt that for Jersey Boys.

Jersey Boys is at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, until 27 October. To book tickets, visit  www.atgtickets.com/Woking or call 0844 8717645.

The show will then move to Bristol Hippodrome from 30 October to 17 November 2018, Leeds Grand Theatre from 20 November to 1 December 2018 and the New Theatre Oxford from 18 December 2018 to 5 January 2019.

Declan Egan, Dayle Hodge, Simon Bailey and Lewis Griffiths.
Picture courtesy of Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

CRAIG Murray, Chris Betts, Eleanor Tiernan and Phil Chapman are all lined up for the Gag House Comedy Club which returns to the Star Inn, Guildford, on Saturday 20 October.

Eleanor Tiernan

Hailing from Dewsbury and billed as “the face (and voice) of Plusnet Broadband”, northerner Craig Murray is a rising talent on the comedy circuit.

He’ll be joined by Eleanor Tiernan, an Irish comedian who has appeared on Stewart Lee’s Alternative Comedy Experience, Canadian Chris Betts and Phil Chapman, who has written for BBC Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra, and is (almost certainly) the UK’s leading expert on the Australian soap Neighbours.

KAREN and Tom met and married when they were very young. They’re grown-ups now. It’s time to join the club. Their friends are painting the spare room sunset yellow and waking up before midday on Saturdays. It’s what everyone wants, isn’t it?

Flexible working hours, sleepless nights, baby yoga, PTA meetings, toddler football. Karen is a scientist. She knows the facts. By now she should be ready. But what if she’s not?

This is the scenario presented by White Slate Theatre Company in Re: Production in the Mill Studio at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford on Friday 12 October.

Playwright Jenna May Hobbs explains: “By 25 my mum was married with two children, but at the same age nothing in my life seemed at all ready for settling down. I’d always been one of those little girls who played with dolls and the question for me was never ‘if’ but ‘when’ I became a mum; so why, at reaching my peak fertility, was the idea of parenthood getting farther and farther away?”

AN ASPECT of the First World War that’s rarely explored is the execution of hundreds of British soldiers for cowardice – and it’s what attracted Andy Daniel to the leading role in Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful.

“It’s told from the perspective of Tommo Peaceful, an underage British soldier, as he waits to face the firing squad at dawn,” Andy explains.

“Tommo is desperate not to waste the time he has left to him. He re-lives his whole life with the audience, remembering his childhood in Devon with his best friend and brother Charlie and the love of his life Molly and, of course, going off to war.”

The actor, who has appeared in Journey’s End in the West End and on TV in Call The Midwife, Doctors and US show Legends, says it’s particularly poignant to be raising the issues in the centenary year of the end of the war.

“It is of course important to remember and honour those who fought in the war and to keep their memories alive,” he says. “It was such a brutal and destructive conflict, and we shouldn’t forget that we are fortunate to have avoided a conflict on a similar scale for the last 70 odd years.

“However, what makes Private Peaceful particularly important is that it highlights a part of the war that until very recently was forgotten or ignored – the execution of soldiers for cowardice.

“We shot 306 of our own soldiers during the First World War, some of whom were clearly suffering from shell shock or what is now known as post-traumatic stress syndrome,” says Andy.” The plight of young boys like Tommo should not be forgotten.”

Apart from the poignancy, Andy adds: “The play is such a wonderfully constructed piece of theatre and it really does affect people a great deal. Tommo is just such a kind and fun character to play and you really do get to create a warm, strong bond with audience throughout the show, which is really special.

“I hope that in some way it makes people think about those who tragically lost their lives or their loved ones in that war 100 years ago.

“But, having said that, I hope they’ll enjoy the storytelling first and foremost! It’s a piece of entertainment and, while the message of the piece is really important, I want everyone to have a good time and enjoy spending an hour or so with Tommo, who really is a sweet and rather funny person!”

Private Peaceful will be at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, on Monday and Tuesday next week, 8 and 9 October.

FANS of Romesh Ranganathan need to get next year’s diaries out and mark a date. The deadpan comic behind the TV series Asian Provocateur is coming back to Woking’s New Victoria Theatre on Friday 25 October 2019.

He’ll be bringing his new show, The Cynic’s Mixtape, which he says is his most brutally honest yet.

Fresh from The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan, A League Of Their Own and Judge Romesh, he’s putting showbiz aside to deliver a carefully-curated selection of all the things he has found unacceptable since his last tour.

It includes why trying to save the environment is a scam, why none of us are truly free, and his suspicion that his wife is using gluten intolerance to avoid sleeping with him.

TICKETS are still available for Chobham Festival’s finale concert on Saturday evening, 28 September.

The Strings and Continuo ensemble will be joined by the Festival Choir for an evening of choral works by Handel, Bach and Purcel, conducted by Roy Rashbrook.

Chobham Festival conductor Roy Rashbrook

The pieces to be performed include one of Handel’s finest pieces, Dixit Dominus, scored for five solo singers, the chorus and instruments.

Three of Bach’s best-known works are featured – Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, Sleepers, Wake! and the soprano aria Sheep may safely graze.

The concluding piece is a fine anthem by Purcell, The heart is inditing.

Tickets are £20 for reserved seats and £15 for unreserved, from the box office on 01276 857222

The two remaining events in the 2018 festival are the Chobham Art Club exhibition and the Songs of Praise service.

The exhibition, displaying members’ artwork, is in the church hall, on Saturday from 10am to 4.30pm and Sunday from 11.30am to 4.30pm. The service is in the church at 5.30pm on Sunday.