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Photo: Alastair Muir 
Venice Footnotes 
+ photos 
The winner and answers to our Christmas Quiz can be found HERE presents:
Website Updated 22/01/15
This is a not-for-profit UK theatre-going group for our friends and colleagues and their own extended group of friends. It costs nothing to join us but must be by personal introduction from another member of the group. We provide tickets (and coach transport from Southend, if required) for London theatres.  
We do not sell tickets to the public
Welcome to our Theatre Group website - we hope you will find all the information you need.  
Organisers: Fredo & Mike - E-mail: or 
On this page -  click heading to jump to section or scroll down page
>Latest Offers: It's time to make a booking -  
High Society + Harvey + The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny 
Boa + How To Hold Your Breath
Details of all Available Bookings are shown on the Current Bookings page - 
click HERE or on the individual ads above.  Extra Discounts for our Donmar Friends
>Next Theatre Visits:
3 February 
at the  
No reviews available yet
3.30pm matinee 
8 February 
at the 
This is a 3.30pm matinee performance 
Please note coach departure times -: 
Palace Theatre: 1.00pm;  Chalkwell Schools 1:05;  Elms 1:10; Thames Drive 1:15; Hadleigh Church 1:20; Tarpots 1:25;  
Five Bells 1:30. 
Libby Purves 
You will wait a long time for something as unnerving, intelligent, sorrowful and sharply humane as this 105-minute musical. Once more the little Menier has turned up a quality of Sondheim revival which cements the reputation of the piece itself as much as the theatre’s. Jamie Lloyd brings to the piece a violent vigour, a solidly breathless, can’t-look-away 105 minutes against Soutra Gilmour’s fairground design. All are fine performances: but this is an ensemble triumph, a coherent chaos of darkness and futility. It conveys Sondheim’s humane, grimly witty, always complex vision with intelligence,respect and truth.
Updated 22/01/15 -   
What we see without the Group:  click HERE or on the ads below
>News and Information: Please scroll down the page    
  "Why," we asked Josie Rourke, "did you chose City of Angels?" Josie had never directed a musical before, and this was the first song and dance show that she has presented at the Donmar. Josie replied that she loved the score: it's regarded as Cy Coleman's best work, and the book by Larry Gelbart has amazing writing. She'd been thinking about it for about a year before she actually went into rehearsal, and even then didn't realise how much work it actually needed. Still, anyone lucky enough to see the finished product must agree that a city of guardian angels were working by Josie's side.
  When cast members joined Josie on stage after the Director's Forum performance, Peter Polycarpou agreed that the show has a most complex jazz score, one that musicians love playing. Sandra Marvin (one of the Angel City Four) agreed that it was the most difficult score she had sung - and she appeared with Kate Bush last year! The Angels sing half a tone apart, and they had to work and concentrate very hard to get the harmonies.  
   Tim Walton, who as crooner Jimmy Powers had set hearts a-flutter, revealed that he had wanted to be in the Angel City Four, and was initially disappointed not to be included in that number. Josie consoled him: Gareth Valentine, the Music Director, had set the bar high for all the performers, and wanted a particular sound for Jimmy that Tim was able to deliver. In fact, when Josie's mother visited the show, she uttered a sigh of contentment when Tim launched into his song Stay With Me. Tim laughed that Gareth told him to slide up to the high notes, and Tim was worried that audiences would think he just couldn't hit those notes. 
   Where were Gareth and the band hidden? The answer to this was like a plot twist in the show: they weren't even in the theatre, but in a shop-unit 200 yards away in the Thomas Neal arcade! (Oh the wonders of modern science!)  
   Rebecca Trethearn, who would have stopped the show if it didn't travel at break-neck speed, said that the comedy was difficult - all that walking and talking backwards required great dexterity. The cast agreed  that Marc Elliott was the best at that; he'd even written the backwards dialogue phonetically! 
   Josie paid tribute to her collaborators, the choreographer Stephen Mear, and the 'artist in light' who is Howard Harrison. How was the film noir look achieved? By blue saturation to make eveything look black and white! 
   Josie had allowed 1 week's rehearsal with the singers, 6 weeks to stage the show, and 1 week for technical rehearsals. Everyone agreed that the technical rehearsals were a nightmare: City of Angels has 42 scene changes, and needs to run like clockwork. She was surrounded by an experienced team, but still needed to solve some of the problems herself (Peter said that she was brilliant at finding the moments when the action makes the transition into song). Had she enjoyed the experience? After a moments reflection, Josie said that this had been the show where to her surprise she had been at her happiest as a director. It needed a lot of work, and she worked miracles. 
Fredo   22/01/15 
Curtain Up! Light the Lights! (Our annual report 2014) 
Variety is the Spice of Life, they say, and we certainly like to add a little spice to your theatre-going. We promise you a wide range of entertainment every year, and in 2014 we offered 54 different shows to choose from. This included 13 musicals, 7 ballets, 10 new plays and a concert, as well as many plays that we were interested to rediscover. We usually manage to book an assortment of West End shows for you at often greatly reduced prices. Also, we have found interesting and at times provocative work at Hampstead, the Royal Court, the Almeida, Stratford East and Kilburn, all at very reasonable prices. 
It’s not unusual for the smallest theatres to provide the most thrilling events. Was there a more exciting stage appearance this year than ....continued HERE 
Click on the Cat to read Libby's reviews
Theatre News Headlines are brought to you by, the leading UK theatre website, and are automatically updated throughout the day. You will find articles, reviews, interviews - just click on each headline for the full story. 
Alternatively, you can go direct to the WhatsOnStage new website by clicking HERE.
Click on the ear (left) to read about Hearing Devices now available in many theatres. They may be of help to YOU.
Ticket Price Watch: For updates on higher prices and what the producers want you to pay. We also give you occasional news on any Discount offers -  
Click HERE
Ask us about Theatre Tokens: 
They make ideal gifts for theatre-going friends. They are available in denominations of £20, £10 and £5 and can be used to buy theatre tickets at all West End theatres and the half-price tkts booth in Leicester Square. You can buy them from us and we accept them too. 
Palace Theatre: 4.40  Chalkwell Schools: 4.45  Elms: 4.50 
Thames  Drive: 4.55   Hadleigh: 5.00  Tarpots: 5.15   Five Bells: 5.20 
All shows are evening performances unless matinee times are given (see below) - 
08/02/15 Assassins - This is a 3.30pm matinee performance 
Please note coach departure times -: 
Palace Theatre: 1.00pm;  Chalkwell Schools 1:05;  Elms 1;10;  
Thames Drive 1;15;  Hadleigh Church 1:20;  Tarpots 1:25;  Five Bells 1.30. 
29/04/15 Americal Buffalo - this is a 2.30pm matinee.  
Please note coach departure times - 
Palace Theatre: 11.30am;  Chalkwell Schools: 11.35;  Elms: 11.40; 
Thames  Drive: 11.45;  Hadleigh: 11.50;  Tarpots: 11.55;   Five Bells: 12.00 
19/07/15 and 26/07/15 The Car Man - this is a 2.30pm matinee.  
Please note coach departure times - 
Palace Theatre: 11.30am  Chalkwell Schools: 11.35;  Elms: 11.40; 
Thames  Drive: 11.45;   Hadleigh: 11.50;  Tarpots: 11.55;   Five Bells: 12.00 
Buy theatre tickets in advance and the curtain rises on countless pleasures, but wait for other options and the curtain falls on opportunity.  
Old West End Proverb