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An English butler in an American play

In the days of yore which comprised my youth, there was an American singer called Harold Lloyd Watkins. As he feared that he might not rise to fame and fortune bearing the name of Harold, legend has it that he consulted a road map of the Southern states, where he found a town in Arkansas called Conway and a town in Texas called Twitty. With amazing perspicacity he twinned the two, and once Harold had become Conway Twitty he enjoyed huge success as a country singer for the next thirty years. In 1958, he enjoyed his only UK hit with a plaintive ditty entitled ‘It’s Only Make Believe’, which reached number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic.

Now it might well be said that all drama is only make believe. After all Macbeth didn’t really meet three witches on the way to Tesco, did he? There are no witches in the next Saddleworth production, but death’s never far away, even though ‘Out of Sight, Out of Murder’ is as unlikely a title for a play as Conway Twitty was a name for a singer.

Although I’ve never felt particularly servile, I have played a few manservants in the past, and there’s a tricky plural. Having served in the works of both Oscar Wilde and Oliver Goldsmith, I’m tackling a Fred Carmichael butler in this one. However, the plot thickens, so to speak, as not only am I a butler, but an English butler in an American play which has more than a hint of magical mystery about it.

So is it only make believe? You really must come and see. Alternatively, you could have asked Conway Twitty, but sadly he’s no longer with us.

Or is he?

‘Out of Sight, Out of Murder’ will be performed by the Saddleworth Players at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph, from 29 September–6 October. Tickets £9 (£5 students) from our online booking office.

Ian Crickett, September 23, 2018,


Playing the lawyer ... once again!

And once again a lawyer. I am Colin Watt and I am playing Jordan Dillingham, the lawyer, in the play ‘Out Of Sight, Out Of Murder’. Being a man, and able to multitask, this is how I start World War 3, I will also be stage managing this show. The last time I played the lawyer was in ‘Laughter in the Dark’ at Greenfield Methodist Players way back many years ago. Since then I have played many parts and many different types of characters, from Geoffrey, in ‘Stepping Out’ to Baron Zeta, in ‘The Merry Widow’ and Buttons in ‘Cinderella’.

A number of years ago, I met a pianist, on a cruise, and ended up doing a few shows while on board singing mainly Frank Sinatra songs, unbeknown to me this pianist was one of the stars on board, his name was Ray Coussins, and he played many times for Frank Sinatra when Bill Miller was unable to, so I can say I have sung with Frank Sinatra’s pianist!

I now, along with a number of my friends, run a charity concert group, going around to help groups of volunteers raise money for funds to help them to continue their good work, we call ourselves Entertaining Friends, so if you see us on anywhere, come and support us, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

I am looking forward to being in this show.

‘Out of Sight, Out of Murder’ will be performed by the Saddleworth Players at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph, from 29 September–6 October. Tickets £9 (£5 students) from our online booking office.

Colin Watt, September 20, 2018,


Sophisticated, brittle and a wicked flirt!

Hi all, my name is Alayne Whitworth and I’m playing Lydia in the Saddleworth Players upcoming comedy murder mystery ‘Out of Sight, Out of Murder’.

This is my third ‘outing’ with the Saddleworth Players. Playing Mrs Reece, the doyenne of the Farndale Dramatic Society in the ‘Farndale Murder Mystery’ and then reprising her in the one act play ‘Sisters, Sisters’ was enormous fun and then to be asked to play Lydia in ‘Out of Sight’ … how lucky am I!

My character Lydia is described as sophisticated, brittle and caustic but with a good sense of humour. She is also a wicked flirt, so, all in all, an absolute joy to play!

Ably directed by Verity Mann, I’ve really enjoyed developing my character over the last few weeks and it’s been a pleasure watching the other members of the cast with theirs too. In my humble opinion, the casting of this play is spot on. Hopefully you’ll agree with me once you’ve seen the play.

With just over three weeks left to get our act together I don’t mind admitting that my nerves have started to jingle somewhat but I’m happy to report that all is well and we have the makings of an excellent play.

Enjoy!

Out of Sight, Out of Murder’ will be performed by the Saddleworth Players at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph, from 29 September–6 October. Tickets £9 (£5 students) from our online booking office.

Alayne Whitworth, September 13, 2018,


Moments from Montreux

I am Margaret Thompson and I am playing Miss Fiona Babcock in ‘Out of Sight, Out of Murder’. My character is described as a feisty Agatha Christie type spinster. In other words 'the old character lady'.

When I was asked to play the part of Fiona, I was given a bit of a reality check - me? - playing the old character lady! It only seems like yesterday when I was playing a page boy and Magpie in ‘The Thwarting of Baron Bollingrew’ - my first appearance with Saddleworth Players! It was actually 31 years ago!

Returning to the name Fiona. For some strange reason, the playwright, Fred Charmichael, finds the name very amusing - so if you happen to be called Fiona, please accept my apologies - don't be offended as this play is meant to be a bit of light-hearted fun.

As I write this, whilst sitting on my balcony in a rather grand looking hotel with chandeliers dripping from the ceilings, the rippling blue Lake Geneva lies ahead of me. I feel sure that both Fiona Babcock and Agatha Christie would approve of the location!

Throughout the play, Fiona is required to knit. This brings back more vivid memories for me. A good friend persuaded me to knit endless numbers of squares to keep me calm when I was expecting my daughter! Not sure whether it really worked! I have been reminded of how difficult it is to knit and speak at the same time.

I am looking forward to reuniting with Verity and the fantastic cast on my return from beautiful Switzerland. I shall also try to look forward to picking up the knitting - although I am not quite sure what it is I am actually creating! Come and see it for yourself at the show!

‘Out of Sight, Out of Murder’ will be performed by the Saddleworth Players at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph, from 29 September–6 October. Tickets £9 (£5 students) from our online booking office.

Margaret Thompson, September 6, 2018,


A madcap mystery

Hi, I’m Verity Mann and I’m directing Saddleworth Players’ first production of the Season, "Out of Sight, Out of Murder" by Fred Carmichael. We’ve been rehearsing for a couple of weeks now and have had a blast.

At this stage it is all about getting to grips with the characters and relationships and this play is a gift. With the exception of two, the writer and the housekeeper, all the characters are stock characters from Agatha Christie-esque murder mysteries and they come complete with idiosyncrasies, back stories and whole heaps of attitude. We have the mad character lady, the diligent butler, the miserable maid, the Other Woman and the hearty juvenile to name but a few. In fact, surveying the tray loads of coffee cups last night, I noted that we have a pretty large cast, all working hard to bring this crazy story to life.

It’s a massive team effort of course, and Keith Begley and his team of set builders are well ahead of us. We’re so lucky to be able to work on stage from the off-set, but even luckier to have a working staircase, and solid walls so we can work in the space without second guessing where the exits are. By the time the finishing touches are done and it’s been painted, we’re going to feel very much at home. Of course in this home, things really do go bump in the night, so Andrew Mann has been gathering sound effects together and Bob Critchley has begun the lighting design. Add in props and costumes and we’ll be ready to bring this madcap mystery play to life.

"Out of Sight, Out of Murder" will be performed by the Saddleworth Players at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph, from 29 September–6 October. Tickets £9 (£5 students) from our online booking office.

Verity Mann, September 4, 2018,