Culture in Quarantine

You can now watch six of our plays on BBC iPlayer.

As part of the BBC’s plans to keep bringing arts to audiences during the Coronavirus pandemic, you will be able to watch six of our shows from the comfort of your own home over the next few weeks.

All six are now on iPlayer and will be broadcast on BBC 4 – dates to be announced:

The productions in Stratford on the apron stage are second to none, so I do highly recommend them.  Forget about the Shakespeare you were condemned to studying at school – these productions are another thing altogether.

The ones I will be watching are Hamlet, Much Ado about Nothing, and Othello, all of which have won 4 and 5* reviews.  Romeo and Juliet is 3* but was ‘very popular with the audience’ so I may watch that too.

If you feel you are not a ‘Shakespeare lover’, I suggest you try Much Ado About Nothing which is really funny and enjoyable.

Kate Claisse

Trip to Sweeney Todd

The production of this dark tale at Chichester Festival Theatre was fantastic. The scenery was stunning but simple with a circular gallery filled with gaping windows that evoked Victorian working-class London.

Michael Ball ‘quick and quiet and clean e’ was’ and quite unrecognisable as Todd, pale, dark eyes with greasy hair, until he sang and in his loud voice he then glared round at the audience and declared ‘We all deserve to die’. It was a quite mesmerising performance.

His pie making accomplice, Mrs Lovatt, (Imelda Staunton) so lustful and in love with him, was both comic and evil, with a very good voice. The music as you would expect from Sondheim was memorable with one of the best pieces being a wickedly funny number, A Little Priest, sung by Staunton and Ball. They turned it into a competitive game in which each other tries to outwit the other. Staunton finally challenging him to match her in rhyme (and crime) and comes up with “locksmith”.

All in all it was a great evening and the show well recommended by all.

Sue Fortescue, October 2011

WI Theatre Group

The on-line CFT brochure for the Winter season is out. I thought The Debt Collectors by John Godber might be a good night out and rather pertinent for today’s economic situation. Godber’s plays are always funny and poignant. You may be familiar with Teechers and Bouncers. I plan to get a group together for Wednesday 30th November. The tickets are £18. Please sign up at Tuesday’s meeting or email Mandy.

Theatre Trip to Top Girls

12 of us went to the sell out production of Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls at The Minerva, Chichester. This condemnation of Thatcher’s career women featured an all star female cast. The play opens with a scene in an upmarket restaurant where a group of women are celebrating Marlene’s (Suranne Jones) promotion to CEO of the employment agency Top Girls. Marlene’s friends are historical and mythical figures who had all achieved great things in spite of their sex but suffered as a consequence. Pope Joan was my personal favourite. It was a challenging but thought-provoking evening. My car-load talked about it non-stop all the way home to Felpham.

Trip To Warhorse


It was like a school outing of old as 15 Bognor WI took up the back seats of the Woods’ Coach. The coffee stop at Denbies’ Vineyard (above) was very welcome but most of us passed on the mouth watering cakes so as not to spoil our lunch. Lunch, what lunch! We reckoned without the traffic chaos in London caused by the protest marches. By the time our coach had been redirected into yet another gridlocked street we stopped worrying about our rumbling stomachs and wondered if we would ever get to the show we had looked forward to for so long. Almost 2 hours behind schedule we finally arrived at Drury Lane. The White Hart did a sterling job rustling up some refreshment for us at short notice before we jogged down to the theatre.

However we settled into our seats and an uninterrupted panoramic view of the stage the stress faded away. Warhorse lived up to its hype. These are not pantomime horses. The Handspring Puppet Company has produced life size creations which are both truly magical and as engaging as flesh and blood. Grown men were wiping away tears during some of the scenes. The show has a happy ending nevertheless it was an emotionally drained bunch that arrived back in Bognor on Thursday evening.