We have four Oscars to award. We shall award these in between other notable performances that deserve a mention in despatches.
Let’s start with the First Oscar for wholehearted commitment and determination to try and salvage the show by being very good in their fields: Tim and Paul.
Next citation as there is no award for this one is to record the best gossiping and gratuitous fawning over Mr Darcy: Jan, Marilyn and Romy.
Citation for the best comebacks: Sindy and Chris
Citation for a wet blanket performance goes to Dave Foster.
Citation for the best performance for the least rehearsals attended: Graham Hazell
Now we have another Oscar. The Steventon Players award for the sexiest and enthusiastic singer goes to Mr Darcy – Phil Cheesman.
The Citation for best Dead pan delivery and timing : Linda
Now I am not sure if I have told you this – stop me if I have – but the citation for best Rambling bore is Linton. He cannot be with us tonight as he is attending the hotly contested Hampshire Rambling bore competition otherwise known as the Test Valley Golf Club Annual dinner.
Our next Oscar is awarded to the best self-taught choreography and testical obsessed performance from Jeremy Stephenson.
The next citation for learning the most lines and inability to pronounce condescension we have a special Condensation award which goes to Dot.
The Northern Rock and Alliance and Leicester citation for Dance, song and hosting umpteen balls and offering a “fond” welcome at these events – goes to Mr Bingley – Mike
For the 85th year running the citation for best Village Idiots go to Jeff and Mike.
Citation for best Choreography goes to Whatsername.
The citation for I’ll come to a performance when I am ready and it suits me thank you very much– Mr Denny aka George Stephenson
The Victoria Wood Citation for Housekeeping- Lisa
The citation for singing and raising the artistic merit of the show whenever they appeared: Valerie, John, Alan, Katerina, Jackie O, Jackie W and Carla.
The Bernard Cribbens Jackanory citation goes to Narrator extraordinare Ghost Georgie Balmain.
The citation for proving that 36 hours can fit into 24 Rachel Cheesman.
The Beauty and the Beast citation goes to Martha “Horses Head” Cheesman.
For demonstrating determination beyond the call of duty Tony Fabian and the Bennet sisters.
Next citation was sent to Marilyn with the very specific title for the most compelling characterization – a first for the Steventon Players- and that is Phillip Sykes
And finally our last Oscar awarded by the Steventon Players themselves. This year is unanimous.
This actor and to be fair in Steventon we do not have many that can fit that description, stepped into the breach when Lynsey decided to move to Suffolk in a desperate attempt to avoid performing, this performer was simply outstanding and got better and better every night. The Steventon Players Player is Shona.
NOTE: An additional Oscar was awarded to Charlie without who’s script the whole ‘pantomime’ would not have been possible and his unique acting and characterisation skills.
It must be very heartwarming to find that the many weeks of hard work in preparation for your annual production is rewarded with a sell-out audience on all four nights. This was the enviable scenario for the Steventon Players and deservedly so. They have, year after year, entertained their audiences in great style and this year’s production was one of the very best yet. Charlie Palmer is to be congratulated on adapting Miss Austen’s much loved “Pride and Prejudice” to fit the many qualities of the multi-talented residents of Steventon. There was so much to enjoy from start to finish, and how quickly over two hours just flew by as we were transported, scene by scene, so effortlessly with some super dance sequences – how did they manage such a disciplined performance in the limited space? There was strong singing from the chorus with splendid arrangements and musical accompaniment in the very capable hands of Paul Wright.
Rachel and Phil Cheeseman deserve special praise for providing most believable scenery, charmingly realised through each and every scene and effectively lit by Tim Sennitt. Charlie Palmer and Phillip Sykes gave very strong performances in the roles of Mrs Bennet and Lady Catherine de Burgh – two formidable “ladies” who kept the audience on their toes with great fun – Dave Foster as the Rev Collins bore the brunt of their tongue bashing with great courage. Tony Fabian was a suitably hen pecked Mr Bennet, who, along with his five splendid daughters suffered Mrs Bennet’s eccentric and bossy behaviour with warmth and patience – and a lot of fun!
We were very humorously updated throughout the performance by Georgie Balmain in the guise of Jane Austen’s “ghost”, who, along with Lisa Atkinson in the role of “Mrs Overall” ensured that humour was present throughout the moment they opened their mouths. Phil Cheeseman as Mr Darcy provided the audience with what one might describe as a “marmite” moment – booed at the start and then loved by the end – and that “lake scene” was a splendid triumph for him and the Director, Marilyn Wright – who must have been delighted by the very warm response received, as the curtain came down. It was a very appreciative audience who went out into the cold February air filled with warmth and happiness on being royally entertained by this very talented team. My final recommendation is for prospective house hunters to buy a property in Steventon – you will never be bored living here and estate agents would be well advised to advertise any future properties that come up for sale in the village with the bold statement: “in the catchment area of Steventon Players”.