Simon Duke’s top ten of 2012

Duns players get set for Calendar Girls
Duns players get set for Calendar Girls
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Arts and entertainment correspondent Simon Duke selects the best ten shows he has seen in the Borders and north Northumberland in 2012.

1. ‘CALENDAR GIRLS’, Duns Players (September)

IN a real battle of the babes, Duns Players edge out Opening Night Productions for the performance of ‘Calendar Girls’ I enjoyed the most. Both sets of ladies did the Tim Firth script proud but powerhouse performances from the likes of Shirley Redpath and Carol Robson clinched it for the Players.

2. ‘BEAUTY & THE BEAST’ Eyemouth Variety (March)

TACKLING a modern classic could well have been a disaster for the variety group but instead it was one hell of a triumph. None of the Disney magic was lost as Lyn Manderson, Raymond Williams and co invited us all to ‘be their guest’ and served up a delicious dish.

3.‘HUMAN INTEREST STORIES’ Tideline Runners (February)

NOW for a new kid on the theatrical block - Tideline Runners who made quite an impression in February with their debut production. ‘Human Interest Stories’ which ventured into the inner sanctum of a troubled newsroom wasn’t one for the faint hearted but no-one could deny the fine acting talent on display.

4. ‘BLOOD BROTHERS’ BACStage Productions (November)

BAC Stage productions made a dream debut last year with ‘Be My Baby’ and there wasn’t a slip in standards with their second show. Bee Dinardo and Frazer Smiles were was particularly impressive amongst a cast who truly gave their all.

5. ‘HUG ME I FEEL GOOD’ Patrick Monohan (March)

THE Maltings saw its fair share of comedians through its doors in 2012 and even though the Middlesbrough-born winner of ITV’s ‘Show Me The Funny’ didn’t attract the biggest crowd when it came to audience enjoyment he was up there with the best of them.

6. ‘THE GAMES’ Spike Theatre (June)

TAKING audiences back in time to the age where the world’s most famous sporting event began, the cast would be nailed on winners if medals were handed out for enthusiasm.


PEOPLE queued for hours to get a ticket for one of this man’s performances and he didn’t disappoint. He might be one of the younger comedians in the current crop but his stage presence and delivery of gags was top notch.


THE premiere of the latest installment of the ‘Resident Evil’ franchise gave the festival an extra edge in 2012 and the buzz surrounding the Paul W S Anderson film was replicated at a number of other events in the programme, including a well-attended ‘Zombie Walk’ through Berwick.

9. ‘FLARE PATH’ Duns Players (November)

ANOTHER shining example of young talent. As well as raising money for the RAF Benevolent Fund, this show saw the Players rubber stamp their position in the upper echelons of local theatre.

10. ‘THE SOUND OF MUSIC’ Duns Operatic Society (April)

DUNS was most certainly alive with the sound of music in the spring as the talented cast did Julie Andrews proud.