Rhoda McGaw

THE Biz Theatre School raised £2,068.49 for Shooting Star Chase hospice through its three performances of the musical Cats at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre in Woking.

The Biz Theatre School’s fundraising cast of Cats

This means the school has now contributed a total of £ 37,304.33 to the charity through fundraising at its productions.

The school is holding open auditions this Saturday for eight to 21-year-olds to be part of its Chicago musical theatre summer school and production. Potential participants are welcome at Christ’s College in Larch Avenue, Guildford between noon and 2pm.

The young people selected will work with a top West End production team.

The theatre school’s production of its take on the Tony Award-winning musical will be at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre on 16 and 17 August.

Chicago (High School Edition) will feature a full orchestra, scenery and stunning dance numbers.

It is a specially adapted version of the classic musical, maintaining the plot, score and Fosse-styled choreography, making it more appropriate for people of all ages.

A GRIPPING drama, partly written especially for a Woking drama group by an EastEnders scriptwriter is coming to the Rhoda McGaw Theatre.

Burning the Witch has been adapted for the stage from acclaimed radio dramas, with a third act wrapping up the story.

Star Claire Racklyeft on the poster for Burning The Witch

The first act is based on This Repulsive Woman, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and written by Christopher Reason as a “rapid reaction play” inspired by the Shannon Matthews case in which a mother faked her daughter’s kidnap so she and her boyfriend could pocket the reward money.

The play features a character similar to Shannon’s mother Karen; a woman from a run-down estate who is vilified in the tabloid press for her crime.

The second, Every Child Matters, act looks at how social services deals with such cases and the mountain of similar events while being pushed and pulled by public opinion, the police and politicians.

Horsell Amateur Dramatic Society adapted both plays for drama festivals in Woking and Spelthorne, winning a host of awards.

Colin Orbaum, who directed both plays, persuaded Christopher, who has also written for Casualty, The Bill and Coronation Street as well as many radio plays, to write a third act, which ties up many of the loose ends from the other two.

The cast is led by Claire Racklyeft, who plays three characters; Debbie Hurst, the woman accused of exploiting her daughter for money; Joanne, the social worker on the case; and Patti, the social work manager.

Claire said she was looking forward to returning to the roles and also performing all three acts as a single play.

“This trilogy finally answers the questions and tells the story from each couple’s perspective forcing us to ask, ‘what is the truth and who is to blame’?”

Colin, who has worked hard over several years to bring the full play to the stage, said that This Repulsive Woman moved him and made a lasting impression.

“I especially appreciate the excellence of Christopher’s dialogue, which is witty and moving at the same time. It is a delight to work with. I also like the fact that he deals with themes of genuine social conscience.”

Burning the Witch will be performed at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre in Woking town centre from Thursday to Saturday at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £15 (concessions £13). Book at www.horsellads.com (no booking fee) or by calling 01483 808354.

For the full story get the 25 April edition of the News & Mail

Knaphill & St Johns Operatic Group (KASJOG) is transporting audiences to ‘Gay Paree’ for their next show, Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow.

The wealthy widow of the title is considering remarrying and the Pontevedrian ambassador in Paris is mightily concerned that she will choose a Frenchman for a husband as the result of losing her ‘20 millions’ would mean bankruptcy for Pontevedro!

‘les grisettes de Paris’ – the cabaret dancers from Maxim’s nightclub

The ambassador must find her a fellow citizen – and fast. Could the dashing Count Danilo fit the bill, as they already have romantic history but won’t own up to their feelings for each other?

Lehar’s operetta is filled with humour as well as very well known songs like Vilia, The Merry Widow Waltzand You’ll Find Me at Maxim’s.

KASJOG’s The Merry Widow will be at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking, from Wednesday (6 March) until Saturday 9 March, including a Saturday matinee. For tickets contact: 01483 473657 or visit www.kasjog.org.uk