A celebration of the community spirit of the Second World War takes place at Chorley Little Theatre on Saturday 19thMay when Don’t Panic! arrives on stage.

Paying tribute to the classic sitcom, Dad’s Army, it’s a fun-filled variety show full of comedy, sing-alongs, magic and sketches. Suitable for the whole family it makes the audience part of the proceedings.

The Home Guard have been told the Germans are going to bomb the area around the theatre so everyone has to gather together for their own safety. But there’s also a spy in the audience! With everyone gathered together, Captain Mainwaring and his team have to keep everyone entertained and uncover the spy at the same time.

The show features popular songs from the war years, magic, and even an impromptu puppet show.

“It is a really good fun show,” said Andy Gaskell who both devised the production and plays Captain Mainwaring. “We’ve got lots of elements from a traditional variety show alongside classic lines from the TV series, but the spy element means anything could happen”

The show started in Lancashire but has now toured the country, playing theatres across the UK. Says Andy “Everyone gets to join in and sing along to some great songs and have a real laugh at the same time. Plus there’s a real surprise at the end.”

Tickets are £12.50 (£10 concessions) from Malcolms Musicland 01257 264362 or www.chorleytheatre.com

Canadian comic storyteller Craig Campbell brings his latest tour show to Chorley on Friday 18thMarch.

“Easy Tiger” is not for the faint-hearted as the self-styled ‘Wild Man of Comedy’ tells outrageous tales of travels around the world on themes as diverse as roundabouts, Russia, and arranging lunch in Norway.

His laid-back manner and genuine warmth mixes whimsical anecdotes with wild adventures. All life is here, from a hospital encounters to why he shouldn’t wear shorts in Moscow.

Craig Campbell recently supported Frankie Boyle for the third time on his national tour and was a hit on Alan Davies’ As Yet Untitled (Dave). He’s also performed on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow (BBC One), Russell Howard’s Good News (BBC Three), and was responsible for easing the contractions of an expectant mother who laughed so hard at his performance on Dave’s One Night Stand – which detailed an encounter with a badger – that her waters broke.

Tickets are £15 from Malcolms Musicland or www.chorleylittletheatre.com

NODA Review: The Return of Sherlock Holmes
 
By Pat Connor
 
“The Return of Sherlock Holmes” is the third in a series of plays written about the exploits of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s well-known character from the pen of excellent local writer Mark Jones, who also found time to direct the play with Rebecca Dickinson as Producer. Set in the modern day, the story follows on from Mark’s last production which ended with the supposed tragic death of Holmes along with his formidable opponent Professor James Moriarty when they fell over the precipice of Switzerland’s Reichenbach Falls, in line with the stories of Conan Doyle who also killed off his well-loved character in the same manner. He finally resurrected him in the 1903 story “The Adventure of the Empty House”, after a major public outcry against the demise of his iconic character and happily, in this production we find that Holmes is also still alive due to a plan devised by his brother Mycroft and the secret service.
 
Although there was still some wonderful comedy and pathos in this complex production, I felt overall the story was much darker than the last two plays, as there were some very serious themes and subjects involved in the plot, these included domestic violence, blackmail and revenge, there was also a lot more emphasis on Holmes’s drug addiction. Dr Watson is also finding life difficult as his wife Mary has died, he is also not happy that he wasn’t included in the plan to stage Holmes’s death, but after talking to his friend he decides to move back in to 221A Baker Street with Holmes and Mrs Hudson and begins to start work again on cases. Holmes's brother Mycroft and Inspector Lestrade have both retired, so this time we find him working alongside the secret service rather than Scotland Yard. Holmes and Watson take on several cases which initially appear to be independent from each other but by the end of the play we find they are connected.
 
This was a very cleverly written play with very innovative technical input, and excellent use of the stage area. There was a well-designed set with a large screen at the back of the stage with a door on each side and 2 small sets on either side of the stage in front of the proscenium arch, one was a room in Sherlock’s home and the other was used for different locations by using various props, which along with applicable costumes added to the production. We were kept up-to-date with the action and timeline of the story on the screen and the action was also accompanied by recorded very atmospheric music and excellent lighting which added to the feel and atmosphere of the play. The contribution to the success of this play by all the backstage crew should not be underestimated especially in this type of production.
 
There were some wonderful characterisations and performances all round from the cast, which included an outstanding performance from David Reid in the very demanding role of Sherlock Holmes who has made this complicated character his own. He was complimented excellently by Bobby Walsh as Dr Watson and once again Siobhán Edge gave a superb comedic performance as the irreverent Mrs Hudson. Zoe Jones was very confident in her role and clandestine as Inspector Hopkins; Holmes's secret service contact and Sam Quinn nicely played the mysterious Adaline who was being blackmailed and was one of the characters who connected the cases. There were other talented actors who showed their versatility with great aplomb playing several different roles and characters between them and they included Chris Franic, Valerie Fotheringtham, Matthew Rimmer, John Holland and Rebecca Dickinson who all gave good performances in all their roles. The action was taken at a good pace, and diction was more than satisfactory, although some of the characters were quite softly spoken, however happily the dialogue could still be heard.
 
Congratulations must go to the very talented Mark Jones and to everyone involved in bringing this special excellent piece of theatre and entertainment to the stage which we thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you very much for inviting us

Popular band Doug Perkins and the Spectaculars return to Chorley Little Theatre on Saturday 12thMay for a night of rockabilly music and to launch their new EP.

The four-piece band take their inspiration from the pioneers of Rock’n’Roll, recreating the 1950s sound and emulating the greats from Presley to Perkins and Cochran to Cash.

The concert could include popular favourites such as C’Mon Everybody, Blue Suede Shoes, and Rock Around The Clock as well as originals, and songs like Get Lucky done in their distinctive rockabilly style.

The new EP, Tracks To Union Avenue Vol 2, is the long-awaited follow-up to their 2013 debut. The band have been so busy performing live and building a following this is the first chance they’ve had to record again together.

Having performed all over the world, they’re coming back to their home town of Chorley for a special theatre gig, following three sell-out shows in previous years.

The show starts 7.30pm, and tickets are £6 from Malcolm’s Musicland (01257 264362) or www.chorleytheatre.com

Members of Chorley Little Theatre are celebrating another year of success after bringing home 9 prizes from the regional amateur dramatics awards in Southport recently.

Between CADOS and Chorley Youth Theatre, they had 29 nominations and often found themselves competing against each other.

The Society’s family show Whittington! won Best Pantomime, and also Best Panto Lead for Rob Armstrong as King Rat, and Best Comedy Performance for Ryan Norse as the Elvis-inspired Cat. The show was seen by over 2,500 people in December and it’s the second year in a row they’ve won the top prize.

Chorley Youth Theatre did well, with Best Actress wins for Emma Heyes, Best Play Director for Rebecca Moran (both for the production of Roald Dahl’s The Witches) and the musical Into The Woods winning Best Staging and Best Director for Rachel Offord.

There were also special awards for Best Newcomer Callan Grimshaw-Brown and costumer Sandra Dickinson for her long-standing service to amateur theatre.

Chairman Ian Robinson was delighted with the wins “2017 was a big year for us as we replaced all the seats in the auditorium, so it’s great to get recognition for what happened on stage too.”

The new season of CADOS plays opens with The Return of Sherlock Holmes, a follow-up to the winners of Best Play in 2013 and 2015 so the Society is hoping for another gong at the awards this time next year.