Cabaret Reviews

Variety Show 2016

LIGHTS, MUSIC AND LAUGHTER – lots and lots of lovely laughter! It was Adderbury Theatre workshop’s 2016 cabaret ‘The Variety Show’ and what a very happy evening’s entertainment it was.
Kicking-off the show was the, ever, ebullient Gary Leonardi complete with frock coat and really, really ghastly co-respondent shoes – even Noel Coward would have winced at being asked to wear them! Comedy continued coming in large dollops with a trio of duos- Denise Barson and Matt Parker and two old Theatre Workshop favourites Elaine Bryant and Wendy Gardner; Linda Leslie and Lisa Smith Music was played by Val Scarff (who else?) and song by Karen Dwyer whose voice has matured and mellowed into a true cabaret style.
Karen Reynolds in an unmistakable wartime frock and snood* did a magical take on Victoria Wood  – it was a quite uncanny likeness. Elaine and Wendy’s skit on computer fruits – blackberry, orange and apple was very clever; as was Denise and Matt’s bedroom scene 50 Shades of Grey. Gayna Lee, in Pam Ayres mode, performed her Adderbury monologue. As for the two male strippers – Gary and Jamie Cox they performed wonders with two highly coloured bath-towels – oh! and a very small, blue, napkin! Gary and Jamie did that lovely Cissy and Ada sketch –‘with Cissy’s memorable line ‘Were you virgo intacta?’ with Ada’s reply ‘No Bed and breakfast’.
Then we had the corps de dance – a galaxy of, lovely, long-legged ladies wearing little black numbers dancing a Marlene Dietrich routine also they did a magical routine with glo-lights – on an unlit stage . We had a first – I think – a male singer with Matt Parker singing a solo accompanying himself on the electronic piano. The show was rounded-off with the full cast, all dressed in black, singing the finale.
It really was a very happy evening; the Institute hall was all dressed-up looking the part as a night-club. A large dollop of credit must go to Jamie Cox the director who got the best out of everybody involved with the stage hands working like Trojans – nearly every act needed chairs of various sorts and layouts – all done in the pitched-black darkness. Oh and a very big thanks to the long-legged young ladies who kept the audience lubricated. My only carp was that the programme was a tad too long – although I’m darned if I could decide what to cut – perhaps the interval! Oh! and thanks must go to the front of house and bar team always there to make things go smoothly.
* If you don’t know what a snood is just ask someone over seventy!
N.J.A.

John Cheney Tribute – November 2014

UPDATE September 2015:
Total raised for CancerKin and donated in John’s  memory £1,700

Photo’s can be found on our Facebook page and a review is below:
Since its inception in 1977, Adderbury Theatre Workshop has developed into a great family, which has entertained the village so well over the years, not least with its splendid cabarets. 
Last year the ATW family lost its godfather John Cheney, who had performed in and part written over 30 of those cabarets, with huge enthusiasm and burgeoning talent.
That enthusiasm and talent was very much to the fore last week when ATW put on a special cabaret to celebrate John’s invaluable contribution to the family
A number of old JC video clips had been unearthed, and while the reproduction had not stood the test of time, the Cheney mystique certainly had. These clips clearly inspired today’s loyal troupe to treat us to a cornucopia of delights from the cabaret years, giving their all in true JC fashion
Many classic sketches were reprised – Carl & Gail (Matt Parker and Denise Barson) were back daft as ever, we were reminded how the Tower of Pisa came to be leaning, and then Matt Parker, splendid as the decrepit butler Enzyme, giving full service to Elaine Bryant (how did she keep a straight face?)
Of course song and dance played its part with Matt Parker (again) and chorus, and Edd Frost doing a great Cheney ham up of Diamonds are a girl’s best friend and Mrs Worthington. John had apparently coined Karen Dwyer’s nickname The Adderbury Songbird when she was but a lass, and she sounded as sweet as ever with a couple of lovely Streisand numbers. All accompanied with unflappable expertise by ATW’s perennial music director Val Scarff
John will probably be best remembered for his love of verse – and of course it runs in the family: we were delighted to see John’s effervescent sister Margaret Williams on stage reciting the poem she wrote for his 70th – very much with John’s gusto and mischievous twinkle in the eye. We heard Gayna Lee’s verse for John’s 80th – recalling John the gregarious, the debonair and the bibulous!
And then a very poignant reminder of the man when the ubiquitous Mr Parker, brilliantly made up, gave us some Cheney Topical Songs
But I suppose John might have appreciated most of all the very silly Eurovision Song Contest finale, featuring all today’s wonderful ATW talent, and an audience of supposedly intelligent Adderburians lustily singing Land of Hope and Glory to the tune of I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts
 – Gordon Bennett!
Nick Fennell – 1 November 2014