Over the last three years Duns Players have been turning out hit show after hit show and with a fine reputation preceding them they’re now going on tour.
‘Fawlty Towers’, ‘Calendar Girls’, ‘Flare Path’, ‘Steptoe & Son’, ‘The Vicar of Dibley’, ‘Glengarry Glenross’,-the list of Players brilliantly executed and well received shows is getting longer and longer and they’re re-visiting an old favourite as they get ready to embark on a Berwickshire-wide tour kicking off later this month.
The talented bunch first turned to the pen of prolific playwright Alan Bennett three years ago when they performed three of his ‘Talking Head’ pieces at the Volunteer Hall.
One of these, ‘A Chip in the Sugar’, saw John Schofield in the spotlight but now as more ‘Talking Heads’ monologues are giving the Players treatment, he’s taking a seat in the director’s chair.
John will direct two of the three shows bound for St Abbs’ Ebba Centre, Coldstream’s Eildon Centre, Greenlaw Memorial Hall and the Players usual haunt- Duns Volunteer Hall.
The first, ‘Her Big Chance’ concerns itself with deluded actress Lesley, a role made famous by Julie Walters.
Star billing for the Players take on the piece has been awarded to Holly Thomas, seen last year in Duns Operatic Society’s ‘Grease’ and The Maltings Youth Theatre’s ‘The Phantom of the Opera’.
The second- ‘A Cream Cracker under the Settee’, will see Helen Forsyth come back out of the wings and onto the stage after directing the hard-hitting ‘Glengarry Glenross’ in the autumn.
She will take on the part of 75-year-old Doris, a role immortalised by Thora Hird.
Helen hasn’t relinquished directorial duties completely though. She is at the helm of the play which will close each night of the tour- ‘A Visit from Miss Prothero’.
The 1978 BBC TV version starred Patricia Routledge, and Hugh Lloyd. and stalwarts Kate Lester and Jerry Ponder will be taking up the reins for the Players.
John said the very fact the Players are going on tour, was a testament to the quality of their output.
“We have worked very hard over the last few years and tried to take as professional approach as we can to our shows.
“It’s good to test ourselves and we saw the tour as a great way of doing just that.
“To be able to tour we had to have a show that could effectively fit in a van to take to and from the different venues and with so much emphasis on the text, Alan Bennett’s work is ideal.
“When it comes to well written plays you won’t find better than him.
“And after performing ‘Talking Heads’ in Greenlaw last year it became clear that our audiences aren’t just drawn from Duns so we thought why not take our shows to them.”
*Duns Players ‘Talking Heads’ tour will start in St Abbs on Friday, February 21, before moving to Coldstream the following night, Duns Volunteer Hall on Friday, February 28 and Greenlaw Memorial Hall on Saturday, March 1.
All performances start at 7.30pm and tickets will be available on the door for £6.