Photos Reviews

The Winter's Tale

November 2009

by William Shakespeare - directed by Bill Pattinson

Estuary Players would like to thank:

  • The Globe Hotel for generous sponsorship
  • Actors of North Tawton Society (ANTS)
  • Theatre Alibi
  • Topsham Handyman Services (01392 879712)
  • Topsham News for ticket sales
  • Steve and Angela Hilton, Veronica Coe and the Topsham Community Association


Camillo - Howard Eilbeck

Mariner - Cass Thorne

Archidamus - Keith Palmer

Shepherd - Keith Palmer

Polixenes - Bill Pattinson

Clown - Oliver Hellman

Leontes - Alan Caig

Bear - Angela Wallwork

Hermione - Chris Eilbeck

Time - Gordon Halliday

Mamillius - Sam Dowell

Autolycus - Anthony Morris

First Lady - Avril Pattinson

Florizel - Jack Dowell

Second Lady - Rosemary Whitehurst

Perdita - Chloe Vicary

Antigonus - David Batty

Mopsa - India Gilborson

First Lord - Jack Dowell

Dorcas - Rhianne Massin

Second Lord - Oliver Hellman

Servant - Maggie Butt

Paulina - Maggie Bourgein

First Gentleman - Gordon Halliday

Gaoler - Nick Jones

Second Gentleman - Rosemary Whitehurst

Emilia - Maggie Butt

Third Gentleman - Avril Pattinson

Servant - Chris Williams

Gentlemen/Ladies-in-Waiting/Dancers - Members of the Company

Cleomones - Bob Drury

Production Team:

Musicans - John Bickford, Bob Powell & Jane Cope

Dion - John Marshall

Guest Appearance - Great Western Morris

Guard - Chris Williams


Director - Bill Pattinson

Assistant Director - Avril Pattinson

Production Manager - Chris Williams

Set Design - Eliot Wright & John Bradley

Stage Manager - Freddie Jacobs

Assistant Stage Managers - Cally Pettit & Jean Halliday

Props - Jean Halliday

Prompt - Janine Warre

Lighting - Peter Tapp

Sound - John Bradley

Sound Recording - Ron Murray

Wardrobe - Isla Morgan, Angela Wallwork, Rose Gander & Avril Pattinson

Choreography - Avril Pattinson

Publicity - Maggie Butt, Angela Wallwork, Rose Gander & John Bradley

Photography - Victoria Jones

Front of House Managers - Maggie Butt & Sharon Wannell

Programme - Alan Caig


From Estuary News:

... The whole production is yet another jewel in the Estuary Player's crown...

The audience and I thoroughly enjoyed the recent Estuary Player's production of The Winter's Tale, which is an odd play, almost two plays in one, in which two of the central protagonists, Leontes and Hermione, disappear about half way through, only to be reunited in a happy ending after a tragic beginning. It has at turns been called a 'Romance', a 'Problem', a 'Tragi-Comedy', a 'difficult' play.

I think the play is problematic from a structural point of view and I'm not sure it really works, but there will be many who disagree. A recent RSC director points out, interestingly, that the arc of the drama is played out not wholly through Leontes and that change happens extrinsic to him, not psychologically through him (as in Lear, for example).

The play has had many different recent interpretations ranging from gender conflict (the male world of Sicilia versus the female dominated Bohemia) to the opposition of the rational enlightenment world of Sicilia and the Grimm's Fairy tale, subconscious world of Bohemia. The central themes of forgiveness and reconciliation, redemption, youth and age, the regenerative power of nature, supernatural intervention and the nobility of women are similar to those in three of his other late plays, Pericles, Cymbeline and The Tempest, the latter being the best in my opinion.

The Winter's Tale is not easy play to direct because of its narrative and tonal shifts, but Bill Pattinson's direction is sure with a clear production concept, setting the play in Edwardian England, and deft management of positioning and movement for a narrow thrust stage in Matthews Hall, Topsham, although I would have preferred the stage to be used as a different level (for example in the statue scene) and to frame the thrust with a clearer backdrop.

This fine production produced a magical evening for all those present and its director managed to coax some strong performances from his actors. I personally prefer the first half of the play to the second, but the 'comedy' worked particularly well here, even though I don't think some of Shakespeare's writing is his best and the pastoral elements can seem to drag a bit at times.

The guest appearance of Great Western Morris injected pace and bawdy humour into the action and the shepherds showed good comic timing in the pastoral scenes. It was so refreshing to see younger actors performing with such enthusiasm and skill, something which augers well for the future of the company.

I enjoyed so many of the performances during the evening that I hesitate to single out individuals for praise, but I particularly liked Maggie Bourgein's feisty Paulina, Keith Palmer's warm-hearted shepherd, Alan Caig's tortured Leontes and Jack Dowell's defiant Florizel. The whole production is yet another jewel in the Estuary Player's crown.

- Reviewed by: Ian Potts


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