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The Company of the Curtain is a member of NODA, the National Operatic & Dramatic Association. Each production we put on is viewed and adjudicated by them, and the reviews printed in their magazine.

Please see a selection of some of our previous reviews below.

'Nobody's Perfect' - 11th - 15th February 2014

Nobody's Perfect depends for its success on four actors, three of whom represent three generations of a very dysfunctional family.

The story centers around shy, divorced statistician Leonard, whose novel has won a competition mounted by a London publishing house, Love is All Around. The trouble is, the competition is for women only. The publishing house is run by women for women, so Leonard wrote the novel under the pseudonym of Myrtle Banbury.

Leonard manages to hoodwink Harriet, who is running the competition, masquerading as Myrtle on the telephone; but things quickly descend into complete farce when Harriet insists upon meeting Myrtle in person, particularly since neither Leonard's somewhat senile but raunchy father, Gus, who has been thrown out of his senior citizen housing for inappropriate behavior, nor his school age daughter, Dee-Dee, is in on the act.

There was good interplay between these four throughout the production, with good pace and clever use of props.

Emma Howes as Dee Dee is surely a star in the making, she was word perfect with some lovely facial expressions. Zena Broadbent gave a lively, believable performance as Harriet and Duncan McLaurie playing Leonard, bought out a lot of the humour from his/her attempts to deceive Harriet over the phone, but his acting abilities excelled when it came to cross-dressing for Harriet's visit.

There were many joyous moments in this production, particularly when Phil Seedhouse, was on stage. He gave a delightful and amusing account of forgetful, lecherous grandfather Gus.

This production, directed by Laura Chinn assisted by Faith Jerromes, was a well-crafted well-directed comedy enjoyed by actors and audience alike. It was also well-served by an excellent set designed by Chris Woodfield which in no small way added to the fun. A thoroughly entertaining night out.

review by Birmingham & District Theatre Guild 

'Stepping Out' - 15th - 19th May 2012

Richard Harris' comedy about a class of amateur tap dancers remains as true to life as ever, nearly 30 years after its premiere in 1984. This piece suited this company, the performance space and these actors very well. The majority of the comedy and the meaningful moments in this play come from the hints at life outside the tap class - as these very different women (and one man) let slip more of their lives, we not only see a social divide in morals, reasons for being in the class, levels of confidence, ability and self worth. This piece gives each character more or less equal weighting. These characters were created over 25 years ago but they are still well and alive in out society today.

This group of actors really showed us a lot of character and many of them showed no shame in their costume choices and (at the beginning) we were treated to some dreadful dancing! Snobbish Vera (Zena Broadbent) in her gleaming silver skin tight cat suit is a lasting vision from this play, as are her classmates horrified reactions! Their teacher Mavis (played by Louise Caine) patiently steers them through her class while soothing her grumpy old pianist Mrs Fraser (Pauline Peach) We learn a lot more about the relationship of these 2 characters as the play progresses with both of them portraying very believable characters especially in their moments of storming out, unable to continue with the class.

As the play advances, we watch the class's dancing improve, and by the climax, a grand charity show performance, they are triumphant tappers, it was a really great finale and left the audience uplifted and proud of the characters!

All the ensemble cast worked hard to create the jovial camaraderie the piece relies upon, there were many very well crafted comic moments and others that I felt were slightly left to chance but because of the confidence and unashamed zeal the cast were successful.

review by Birmingham & District Theatre Guild 

'Dont Dress For Dinner' - 21st - 25th February 2012

The programme promised a production to "Laugh off the winter blues" and this production certainly did exactly that, it was absolutely hilarious from start to finish.

For the audience the pace and timing was ultimately the key to this production, the actors bringing out every element of comedy.The complex farce kept everyone guessing what on earth would go wrong next, mistaken identities, unexpected revelations, large quantities of alcohol that didn't help the situation, the need for rapid improvisation, bribery, confusion and for Robert blind panic.

All concerned gave outstanding performances, with perfect characterisations throughout.

It was one of the best evening's entertainment for a long time, very, very well done, superb.

review by Joyce Eyre, NODA representative.

'Laying the Ghost' - 8th - 12th March 2011
This presentation of 'Laying the Ghost' held special significance, as this was their 200th production. The company was founded in 1937 and has continued to entertain the local community and tonight was no exception.
The play was set in a retirement home for actors where it's Margot Buchanan's( Anne Jones) 70th birthday. Also living in the home is her best friend Freda Deacon (Pauline Peach) who is an eccentric somewhat batty character who spends her time either doing her jigsaw puzzle or listening to the shipping forecast. It's a special day but as the series of visitors including Margot's ex-husband Sir Leo Buchanan (Rob Alexander) and his second wife Lady Buchanan (Karen Swann) interrupt the smooth running of proceedings it becomes evident that after today, nothing can be the same again. At this point I should add that Freda could communicate with ghosts that only she can see!
Good supporting cast of Mrs. Kidd (Debbie Hannigan) as the manager of the home, and Sadie Croft (Esther Morris) a drama student.
This company has a wealth of talented back of house support, they construct their own sets and have their own extensive wardrobe department.
Many congratulations Company of the Curtain on reaching this glorious milestone.
review by Joyce Eyre, NODA representative.

'Family Planning' - 23rd - 27th Nov 2010

Congratulations to the small cast of Anne Jones (Gran), Sophie Willis (Tracy), Pauline Peach (Elsie), Elaine Ward (Maisie), Lewis Reeves (Jeffrey), Phil Seedhouse (Idris) and Tom Reeves (Bobby), this was one of the funniest and entertaining plays I have seen. Superbly cast the comedic timing, characterisation, accents and overall direction could not be faulted. Gran spent the entire performance in bed! The set was cleverly designed with the lounge and upstairs bedroom seen at all times. Genius.
review by Joyce Eyre,  NODA representative.

'And A Nightingale Sang' - 24th - 28th Nov 2009   

'This was another most enjoyable production with an excellent cast.  
This was a real memory evoking play with familiar songs from the Second World War. All the characters were so well cast, with 'Grandad' being played with conviction by Rob Alexander. Helen Stott (Elaine Ward) a daughter of the family, partly narrated the performance. George Stott, father of the family, looked as if he actually played the piano on stage - a creditable performance. A most enjoyable evening's entertainment.'
review by Pat Hyams,  NODA representative.

'Daisy Pulls It Off' - 23rd - 27th June 2009
'Congratulations on your excellent production. Emma Staunton gave a superb believable performance as Daisy, the elementary schoolgirl who wins a scholarship to the elite Grangewood School, where she encounters a reception from snobbishness to spitefulness. Daisy makes a good friend in Trixie Martin, an exciting performance by Sophie Willis. Rob Alexander as Mr. Scoblowski, a member of staff, was involved in a mystery within the school. Anne Jones gave a convincing performance as Headmistress, Miss Gibson. Interesting performances by the cast of schoolgirls.'
review by Pat Hyams, NODA representative

'Trivial Pursuits' (Last Production in Water Orton)

'A well directed play featuring a talented cast, who responded to the humorous dialogue with expertise.
Ben Field gave an hilarious performance as Teddy and Rob Alexander was a believable lovesick drunk. But each member of the cast contributed individually to a happy, enjoyable evening,'
review by Pat Hyams, NODA representative
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