'The Real Inspector Hound'
Performed at Harrow Arts Centre, this was a satiric play-within-a-play, this parody focuses on two theatre critics, as they review an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery.
"Well done Hill Players, really impressive performances from everyone!" - Sasha Birkin via Facebook
"Great performance" - Marva Carter via Facebook
'Beauty and The Beast'
16th-17th December 2017
This year's Winter Pantomime was an original take on the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast.
'My family and I really enjoyed the show. The cast did a fantastic job with the budget and tools they had. Some really funny parts and audience interaction. Theresa Green (fairy godmother) absolutely excellent! Obviously a very well rehearsed pantomime and excellent that it was so well put together after only 2 shows thank you guys' - Christopher on Faceback (5* review)
'Ha ha yes strong and stable! Was very funny, loved it!' - Nyree on Facebook
'Great afternoon watching a great panto - well done @hill_players! ' - Emily on Twitter
'Congratulations again to all the cast, crew and front of house supporters. It was gorgeous to enjoy a traditional pantomime which could be appreciated by a complete family, no matter the age. Well done to you all, your hard work paid off.' - Email sent by fan
'Richard the Third: Has Anyone Seen My Horse?'
7th-8th July 2017
The Hillplayers performed at Arc House open air theatre for the second time in the summer of 2017. Below is a lovely comment from an audience member about the performance:
'Congratulations to all involved in tonight's performance. We are so lucky to have such a great and talented group of performers on our doorstep, lovely weather and a wonderful platform to showcase their skills, not forgetting all those behind the scenes. Well done to you all, we
thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and look forward to the next production.' - Message received on Hill Players website
'Well done Hill Players, really impressive performances from everyone! '
'The Reading Group' & 'Departure'
Theatre reviewer Vlad Bourceanu watched The Hillplayers tread the boards for just the third time, and found their performance to be hilarious, then surreal...
Following December’s Stepping Out, the cast returned to The Ryan Theatre to stage, firstly, The Reading Group by Fay Weldon.
In a small town, where nothing much else happens, local astrologist Oriole (played by the excellent Jackie Burn), a middle-aged lady in a relationship with, and propositioned by Tom, a Hungarian man many years her junior (convincingly played by Paul Joyce), sets up a women-only reading group.
While pondering which book to choose as their subject, much gets revealed about the actual women attending the group, from the slightly surreal Ann (Sarah-Jayne Ford, also directing, giving an accomplished performance), to practical-to-extremes Avril (the marvellous Maggie Conroy), to newcomer Lesley (a star performance by Dolores Talty), to the proper Zelda (Jean Ford, meeting the high standard set by her and her colleagues), and, finally, to Harry, Ann’s “husband of the dubious motives”, well played here by Danny Dresser.
I was duly impressed both by the play and the performance of it: sharp, incisive, hilariously funny. I would in fact, call this probably the best performance by the Hillplayers since their formation.
The second half of the package – Stephen Smith’s Departure – was, in hindsight, a little bit of an anticlimax for me. Perhaps it was the pressure of scaling the high bar set by the first production...
This was despite virtuoso performances from the excellent Val Bruce (a tour de force as Rosemary) and, on her acting debut, the quite superb Kunmi Olatunji (hilarious to the point of tears of laughter as Rosemary’s daughter, the clueless Mandy).
The Hillplayers, particularly in light of their current good performances and consistently excellent previous productions, are and remain an accomplished amateur dramatics group.
Harrow Observer Article, Feb 2009
Harrow drama group meets Hollywood movie star.
The Hillplayers amateur dramatic group, which was formed just over a year ago, has been asking a Hollywood movie star for advice. Members visited the Old Vic theatre in Waterloo for an audience with Kevin Spacey, star of ‘American Beauty’ and the ‘Usual Suspects’ and since 2003 the theatre’s Artistic Director.
He is currently directing a new play ‘Complicit’ by Joe Sutton starring Richard Dreyfuss and David Suchet. The group watched a preview of the play who’s opening was delayed amid press reports that Mr Dreyfuss had trouble learning his lines… a problem the group sympathised with.
Afterwards about 20 members sat in the front rows and pondered on what to ask such an esteemed actor/director…’how do you stop yourself smiling when you see a friend in the audience’….didn’t quite cut it. In the end it was Mr Spacey who asked the Hillplayers and two other groups - for their opinions and advice. “Did you think a Judas kiss worked near the end”….’We removed the interval – was that right?....Any parts of the play need reworking?
Kevin Spacey took everyone’s comments on board and agreed he would tweak the play in places. The group felt both humbled and privileged to witness a work in progress so closely. Then members asked their questions: What plays do you think we should be doing; how do you begin to direct a play; how do you give old plays a new slant? Do you ever cut lines out? …..Only if the playwright is no longer living- he joked.
Despite the press tittle-tattle Kevin Spacey was very relaxed about directing the play, proud of the theatre and its outreach work, and became very worked up about the scourge of theatres - the mobile phone. The group found him inspiring, honest and very charming –ending the evening with an amusing impression of Katherine Hepburn. The group left with extra enthusiasm for their next production... It may not be a world premiere but as Kevin said - make it authentic…and enjoy.
Notes: The group went to the Old Vic on Thursday the 15th of January 2009. The Chairperson Maggie Conroy came up with the idea of meeting Kevin Spacey and made it a reality. The meeting lasted an hour. The Hillplayers was set up in November 2007 and now has more than 30 members. Newcomers are welcome – to assist both on and off stage.
Alisun Brennan wrote the article
15/01/2009, Vlad Bourceneau, Harrow Observer
The Hillplayers, Harrow’s new amateur dramatics group, returned treading the boards once more with their production of “Stepping Out” by Richard Harris, a heart-warming light comedy about a group of amateur tap dancers on a voyage of self discovery...
Many of the plaudits have to go to Sarah Jayne Ford, fresh from her role as Siobhan in Parentcraft last May, now in the lead role as Mavis the teacher. A dancer herself, she impressed as much with her warm wide ranging and sympathetic acting of the part as with her considerable tap-dancing skills. Her solo dancing while dreaming of what might have been as well as her leading of the cast in the final tap dancing sequence were real highlights of the show.
The rest of the cast met the standard set by Ms Ford and produced an accomplished performance which was summed up in Mavis’s line "Enjoy it, if you don’t enjoy it, they (the audience) won’t either”. The cast certainly showed all the signs of enjoying every moment of the performance and the audience was richer for it..
Ruth Stubbs shone particularly with her credible rendition of the infuriatingly posh Vera, as did the excellent Alisun Brennan, who once more displayed the gift for sharp timing that she showed in her previous role in “Parentcraft”, here in a different role as the brash Sylvia.
Françoise Williams, director of “Darlings You Were Wonderful!” was indeed wonderful too, this time on stage as the delightful Rose. She played a somewhat stereotypical lady who nevertheless allows her warmth to engulf proceedings and becomes the more likable for it.
Dolores Talty gives a particularly polished performance as the low key Andy, ever searching for a sign of affection from Geoffrey, well acted by the very funny Rohan Nosworthy, the only man in the class. Jean Ford was very believable as Lynne as were Dorothy the social security lady and the costume obsessed Maxine (the excellent Maggie Conroy and Angela Cope).
The marvellous three sugar plum fairies (Yasmin Bruce, Ellie Peart and Libby Radford) acquitted themselves well with their albeit too brief cameos…and who could forget, last but definitely not least Sonny Peart, as the delightful cynical pianist, Mr Fraser?
His acting was exceedingly funny, a true joy throughout, particularly so in his frequent barbed asides and in the hilarious tea scene towards the end. And his skills as a bona fide piano player surprised us all, no more so that when he broke into the very challenging Pathetique sonata by Beethoven towards the end of the play, a somewhat unexpected part of a production otherwise dominated by tap numbers!
Special congratulations must go to everyone in the backstage team too, particularly so to Richard Robson and Nick Sharrock for lighting and sound respectively, Sian Cairnes for some great costumes, Sarah Jayne Ford for her excellent choreography and her role as dance instructor, and the superb direction, in what was a very technically challenging play by Sonny Peart.
One line of the play stated, when talking about the dance class “I leave here less tired than when I come here”. This was definitely true of this uplifting show, (a veritable tour de force), and in general of the Hillplayers performances so far.
I truly recommend watching out for and of course attending their next show
'Darlings, You Were Wonderful'
June 5 2008, Vlad Bourceanu, Harrow Observer
The newly-formed Harrow amateur dramatics group, The Hillplayers, were impressive in their debut, sold-out performance at The Ryan Theatre. They opened Saturday's performance with Parentcraft by Stephen Smith...
This was a superbly-acted and very funny performance by all the actors involved, not least by the excellent Sonny Peart (in the part of dodgy salesman Derek), who also directed this play. Sarah-Jayne Ford was particularly impressive, bringing pathos and marvellous delivery to her role as the young and unworldly Siobhan, as was the very funny Michelle Foley, in her stage debut as the brash Sharon. Alisun Brennan, in the role of upper-class Lesley, brought some stunning timing to her lines onstage, while Val Bruce, also on her debut as an actress, was wonderfully natural as Susan.
The second half brought us a play by Derek Lomas, entitled Darlings, You Were Wonderful!...
I was once more impressed by the completely new cast. Jasmine Perera-Davis, in her role as Liz, stood out for me with a superbly expressive performance. Sarah Renfrew, on her London stage debut after several successful years on stage in Connecticut, in the US, was also convincing and natural in her role as the vulnerable Lesley. Dolores Talty as Vanessa, Fiona Tobin as Judy, Rohan Nosworthy in the dual role as the off-stage Announcer and Adjudicator, and Kathleen May as Eve completed a marvellous cast, united by the superbly funny and up-front Maggie Conroy as the group's neurotic director, Irene...
This was indeed a wonderful performance from these fine amateur thespians, particularly so as this was their debut performance as a group. I spent a very artistically satisfying evening in their company, and hope to see The Hillplayers go from strength to strength.