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On the Razzle

by Tom Stoppard
16-19 October 2002

Best Director of a Comedy - Richard Neal

Weinberl Mark Ellen
Christopher Yvonne Henley
Marie Tracey Nicholls
Sonders Paul Dodman
Zangler Dave Williams
Melchior Colin Pile
Gertrude Jan Stevenson
Simon Jackson
David Pile
Philippine Vicki Ballard
Madame Knorr Chrissie Neal
Frau Fischer Carolyn Hewitt
Coachman Barry Baynton
German Man Russ Guillaume
German Woman
Carole Courtenay Coles
Scottish Woman
Donna Crane
Peter Brooks
Fraulein Blumenblatt
Jan Bursby
Lisette Maria Turner
Alfie Tyson-Brown &
Luke Hawkins

Ragamuffin Oliver Chapman
Lightning Les Longworth &
Michael Routledge
Piper Richard Rowland

Richard Neal
Amanda Brown
Company Stage Manager
Jackson Kingham
Lighting & Sound
Russell Parker & Don Sherry / Tivoli Theatre
Eclectia Costumes
Theatre Stage Manager
Ashley Thorne


Dazzling razzle of a comedy
On the Razzle - Wimborne Drama, Tivoli Theatre

ANYONE straying unawares into the Tivoli these past few days might have been forgiven for thinking the silly season had come early, given the presence of a talking parrot, a pantomime horse, and a girl playing the part of a boy.

However, this was Tom Stoppard's superb comedy, performed to near perfection by a first-class cast under the excellent direction of Richard Neal.

The story, which follows the events that occur when shop clerks Weinberl (Mark Ellen) and Christopher (Yvonne Henley) decide to have an illicit afternoon of freedom in Vienna, is brilliantly written. The Spoonerisms that trip so easily from shop owner Zangler's mouth are hilarious - and would have been even more so had Dave Williams blustering delivery not occasionally muffled his words.

Zangler (Dave Williams) & Weinberl (Mark Ellen)
Zangler (Dave Williams), Melchior (Colin Pile) and Waiter (Simon Jackson) at The Imperial Gardens Cafe
Frau Fischer (Carolyn Hewitt) & Madame Knorr (Chrissie Neal) Weinberl (Mark Ellen), Fraulein Blumenblatt (Jan Bursby) and Christopher (Yvonne Henley)
Scottish Couple (Donna Crane & David Pile) Zangler (Dave Williams), Coachman (Barry Baynton) and Melchior (Colin Pile)

Marie (Tracey Nicholls) & Sonders (Paul Dodman)

There were strong characterisations all round, not least from Paul Dodman (Sonders), Tracey Nicholls (Marie), Jan Stevenson (Gertrude), Colin Pile (Melchior), Carolyn Hewitt (Frau Fischer), Chrissie Neal (Madame Knorr) and Jan Bursby (Fraulein Blumenblatt), while Barry Baynton brought the house down as a wonderfully lascivious whip-wielding coachman.

Full marks too for an ingenious set, excellent costumes and fine lighting. A dazzling razzle, without a doubt.
Linda Kirkman, Daily Echo

Champagne all round!

WIMBORNE Drama is a theatre group that doesn't go for the easy options as their recent productions such as The Crucible, The Madness of George III and David Copperfield bear witness.

On the Razzle - based on a 19th century comedy which in turn was drawn from earlier works - is not, as its title suggests, a simple knock-about comedy. It is a wordy play, with the comedy coming thick and fast, and it was easy to miss a gem. In fact, I felt that I ought to have seen it a second time in order fully to appreciate Tom Stoppard's clever script.

The part of shop owner Zangler, played by Dave Williams, was the toughest, requiring an ability to get the tongue around Spoonerisms without it appearing that lines had been misinterpreted or misquoted. Dave Williams did a good job, but a slower delivery would have ensured that humour wasn't lost. However, he, along with the rest of the cast, relaxed into their parts in the second scene.

And talking of scenery, huge credit must go to set designer Amanda Brown, who masterminded innovative scene changes, which although visible to the audience, didn't impinge on our enjoyment.

For entertaining it certainly was. The audience clearly appreciated the humour, although I suspect the appearance of the pantomime horse created more guffaws than intended, as Yvonne Henley, playing the part of Christopher, clung on to its hind quarters for dear life.

Wimbome Drama draw from a very experienced pool of actors, and their productions always throw up some excellent cameo parts. Barry Baynton was delightful as the coachman, and Jan Stevenson, who has been with the group since 1979, stole a few scenes with her portrayal of the servant Gertrude.

Marilyn Ayres, Wimborne Community Magazine

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