2005 was the Sedos centenary year and what a year to be proud of! We were delighted to have found a new home at the Bridewell Theatre, and for the first time in a number of years the society embarked on an ambitious number of shows, a plan to re-engage City contacts and a marketing campaign to increase membership. With rave reviews, new and re-established links with a number of City institutions and a membership increase of 250%, the year was more successful than could ever have been hoped for!
Sedos officially banished the start-of-year blues with a production of The Voysey Inheritance by Granville Barker in February at the Bridewell Theatre. Directed by William Harrison-Wallace and Daniel Chasemore, this intriguing examination of morals and ethics, written in 1905, fittingly kicked off the centenary year. Tom Brennan played Edward, the young protagonist struggling with the moral conundrum presented to him by his father, played by Bernie Doogan. The performance also featured James Newall, Jude Perkins, Chloe Faine, James Franey, Doug Smith, Luke Simonds, Nick Chronnell, Kate Banham, Chrissie Gorman and Charlotte Price.
March saw the introduction of Sedos workshops. “Acting for Musical Theatre" was a one-day course run by Just Add Water, which saw around 40 members and non-members working on communication and connection, techniques in storytelling, improvisation and character study. The day ended with a performance of O What a Lovely War.
In April the society performed the Stephen Sondheim classicCompany to critical acclaim, again at the Bridewell. The first ‘concept’ musical and regarded as a masterpiece of its genre, Company follows five couples and their mutual friend Bobby, played by Paul Knapp, a bachelor unable to connect in a long-term relationship. With the show presented in a series of vignettes, we saw the less than ideal aspects of commitment but by the end, the audience were assured, the more committed were happy.
Sedos's production was cleverly directed by Roger Harwood, making great use of the space and artfully supported by a tight, nine-piece orchestra and superb Musical Director. Ensemble work was superb – the cast were all working together and most importantly, listening to each other which is a must for any of Sondheim’s musically challenging pieces...it was an entertaining, admirable effort for which Sedos is to be congratulated
Directed by Roger Harwood with Phil Coleman as Musical Director, Company also featured Chris de Pury, Chloe Faine, Andrew Overin, Jo Webber, Dan Waters, Nikki Smith, Sam Gallop, Sally Ashkenazi, Craig Karpel, Trevor Harvey, Gayle Rogers, Susan Williams and Emma Hughes.
In a brand new concept for 2005 and one which helped renew some of the Society’s City links, Sedos embarked on a tour: ‘Shakespeare in the City’ in May. Rebecca Smith directed an abridged version of the dark comedyMerchant of Venice for one week at various City institutions including Merrill Lynch, ABN Amro, Swiss Re, the London Stock Exchange and the Museum of London (sponsored by Bank of New York). This timeless tale of greed, mercy, vengeance and betrayal saw William Harrison-Wallace as the infamous Shylock and Luke Simonds as the eponymous Merchant, Antonio. Updated to suit the modern settings and with a champagne reception for the audience, the performances also featured Georgina Thomson, Darren Clarke, Duncan Saunders, Kate Mayo, Tom Brennan, Daniel Chasemore, Andy Blacksell, James Newall and Kelly Tinkler.
Back at the Bridewell, June saw the unique extravaganza that wasEurosedos: The Live Final. Created and directed by Deryck High and Pedro Rodriguez with choreography by Gayle Rogers, this show was based upon the biggest annual TV event in the world and transported the audience to a ‘live’ broadcast around the globe.
Our hosts Katie Koyle and Carlos Borracho, played by Jane Kerfoot and Pedro Rodriguez, presented 18 winning songs of previous Eurovision song contests performed live, whilst the audience, representing various nations, cast their votes and decided the winner each night! With commentary from our own Terry Wagon, played by Bernie Doogan, the nightly winners included Paul Emmott as Johnny Logan; James Franey, Nick Hewlett and Kyle Sparks as The Herreys; and Tom Brennan, Paul Emmott, Karen Lister and Victoria Flint as Brotherhood of Man. Other performers featuring in the absence of the original performers included Annalisa Checchi, Helen Lowe, Liz Flint, Juliette Chrisman, Kate Banham, David Griffiths, Gayle Rogers, Jude Perkins, Emma Hughes, Britnee Stone, Melanie Schow, Natalie James and Julia Foulsham.
In July the society’s members were invited to a play reading and picnic in the depths of Surrey as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s tale of fairies, dreams and the tangled course of true love, was tackled by all members who wished to join in.
August saw a two-week sell-out of two one-act plays at The Union Theatre in London before transferring for a week at the Edinburgh festival at the Roman Eagle Lodge.Six Degrees of Separation by John Guare was directed by Luke Simonds and featured James Newall and Katey d’Ancona as Flanders and Ouisa Kittredge, a couple charmed by a young black man, played by Joseph Coelho, who enters their lives claiming to be a friend of their son and the son of Sidney Poitier. The play tackled the struggle between their embarrassment and fascination as they found out all was not as it seemed.
In Luke Simond’s production John Guare’s highly polished exploration gets some added emotional charge from strong performances by Katey D’Ancona and Joespeh Coelho
Six Degrees also featured Dan Waters, Tom Brennan, Doug Smith, Helen McBain, Jonathan Hyde and Bridget Cross.
Sexual Perversity in Chicago, David Mamet’s provocative and bitingly funny play, saw a very different type of American lifestyle as Matt Harrison directed James Franey and Mickey Killianey as Danny and Bernie, two hot-blooded males playing the Chicago mating and dating game.
It’s ferocious rude stuff, smartly delivered in Matt Harrison’s production
Jo Powell and Melanie Way featured as Deborah and Joan, the objects of their lusting and loathing.
In September Sedos’s workshops continued with "An Introduction to Comedy Acting" where members looked at not just the pursuit of laughs but believability in performance.
For the final show of the year Sedos were delighted to secure the rights to the London premiere and the UK amateur premiere of Jekyll & Hyde by Frank Wildhorn. This took place in late October/early November at the atmospheric Wilton’s Music Hall. Directed by Daniel Chasemore with Chloe Faine as Assistant Director and David Griffiths as Musical Director, this pulse-pounding musical interpretation of the classic Louis Stevenson tale told of a brilliant doctor, Henry Jekyll played by Andrew Overin, who is forced to use himself as the subject of his scientific experiment and unwittingly unleashes his own dark side as the savage Edward Hyde, a monstrous being who wreaks havoc on Victorian London. Claire Hogarth and Bridget Cross played the dual love interests Lucy and Emma, both dealing with the consequences of man’s separation of good and evil.
The cast give enthusiastic performances ... David Griffiths' musical direction produces strong chorus pieces and solo performances. Direction, from Dan Chasemore and Chloe Faine, results in all cast members maintaining their characters within and between scenes.
A grand finale to the year’s productions, Jekyll & Hyde also featured William Harrison-Wallace, Dan Waters, Tom Brennan, Doug Smith, James Franey, Brad Green, Jo Webber, Charlotte Price, Pedro Rodriguez, Gayle Rogers, Amy Royle, Pam O’Brien, Vanessa Giadom, Dee Gibson, Alison Grace, Paul Emmott, Glynn Newcombe, Kate Lindsay, Liz Flint, Jim Taylor and Andrew Macpherson.
To celebrate not only the achievements of the last 100 years but also of the 2005 season the Sedos Moulin Rouge Ball was held in December. Over 150 society members and friends, dressed to the nines, gathered at a totally transformed Bridewell Theatre and enjoyed a champagne reception, a three-course meal, a cabaret and a disco until the early hours! A fabulous and glamorous end to the year!