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5th Jul | Orchard Players’ Show – ‘Oliver!’

Hearty Congratulations are due to The Orchard Players and director Glyn Hill for their stunning production of “Oliver”, their annual summer show for this year.

It was without doubt one of the best versions of this show that I personally have seen, and judging by the audience reaction on the night when Capel Ladies watched it, I wasn’t the only person to think that!

Oliver is one of the best-loved of British musicals with so many memorable songs and a great storyline, but it still needs an able team of performers to step up and do it justice, and that’s exactly what the Orchard Players did! There was a large cast of 40, including 15 youngsters, many of whom had never performed before.

The setting of Victorian London seemed to extend into the auditorium with brick paper covering the front and sides of the stage, and there was a tall, brick tower to one side which Bill Sikes climbed as he fled the Bow Street Runners. Even the talented musicians who played live for the performances were in their own sectioned-off corner with a washing line of “wipes” (the silk handkerchiefs that Fagin’s urchins regularly pick-pocketed) hanging up around them! Scene changes – and there were lots of these – were executed efficiently and seamlessly, and the costumes were amazing! The lighting and special effects, like the murder scene, previously filmed in silhouette, also added to the atmosphere.

But the stars of the show were the actors themselves – each character portrayed just as you would have expected to see them in a London show! Fagin, as the cunning, silver-tongued Jewish ‘protector’ of the gang of urchins, Bill Sikes, terrifying as the murderous criminal, and Nancy as the loyal, caring street-girl who loved him in spite of his cruelty towards her. Her version of the song “As Long As He Needs Me” brought a tear to my eye.

And then there were the children! Their singing, dancing, acting and enthusiasm was AMAZING! They obviously loved what they were doing and gave top performances, especially the star of the show – Oliver! Once again, when he sang “Where is Love?” there was a lump in my throat!

There were many notable moments and great performances by a number of the cast, too many to mention here. It was certainly a memorable evening’s entertainment, and I could have watched it all over again and enjoyed it as much!

Report by Sue Woolgar

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21st Jun | Afternoon Tea at Hall Farm

Afternoon tea was on the menu at our June outing when a number of Capel Ladies visited Hall Farm at Stratford St Mary. The setting was a pleasant one with views from the cafe of the farm fields and various animals including llamas, donkeys and sheep; and it was another hot afternoon so it was cooler to sit inside.

The tea and cakes were served on heavy wooden boards which were difficult to pass up and down to everyone, and although there was a good variety of sandwiches they must have been left uncovered for a while as the bread was a bit dry, There didn’t seem to be a huge choice of cakes and the scones came creamed and jammed already with minimum fillings, so the food was rather disappointing. Having placed the platters and pots of tea and coffee on the tables the waiter/waitresses left the ladies to their own devices and didn’t return to see if anything else was required, so the party felt rather neglected on the whole.

After the tea several ladies visited the farm shop to look around before returning to Capel. A slightly disappointing afternoon, especially when each person had paid out almost £13.00 for their afternoon tea-time treat.

23rd May | Otley Hall Gardens visit

Otley Hall is a Tudor-built moated Manor House, and family home, set in 10 acres of beautiful gardens in peaceful Suffolk countryside 8 miles north of Ipswich. Although the house is open at certain times to the public, it was the gardens that Capel Ladies came to visit in mid-May. Otley’s gardener Simon took us on a tour of the extensive gardens pointing out features and telling anecdotes about their origins and history.

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The gardens include a large area of water which was once part of the moat, looking very tranquil with yellow flag iris, cow parsley and ox-eye daisies along  the banks, and plenty of shade-giving trees. There was a grass labyrinth, a herbarium and a knot-garden, all of historical significance but each added comparatively recently by Tudor garden design experts. Also a long, green, arbour-like tunnel covered in honeysuckle and climbing roses amongst other greenery. The only sounds were birdsong and the occasional screech of peacocks (both white and blue) which live in the gardens. After our pleasant walk around we visited the tea room for cake and refreshments. What a nice way to spend a May afternoon!

19th Apr | ‘Sound of the Past’ Museum – Monks Eleigh

On a beautiful sunny afternoon a group of our Capel Ladies visited this quaint museum in Monks Eleigh. A vintage enthusiast, Paul Goodchild fulfilled his dream when he found a home for his collection of over 500 radios, gramophones and televisions in this former United Reform Church.

His obsession began with a purchase at a car boot sale and built up gradually over the years to what it is now. He originally kept them all in his home, then in sheds in his garden where he restored many of them to working order, but eventually wanted to find a venue where he could display this grand collection. The museum is open to the public on the first Sunday of the month when his friend Bryan entertains on a Hammond organ. He is not allowed to charge, but welcomes donations to Prostate Cancer and Macmillan Nurses.

Exhibits included a Pye TV on which Mr Goodchild remembers watching the Queen’s coronation as a child. Many of us were reminiscing about some of the items which WE could remember, which was a bit worrying!

Report and photos by Pat Bradford

22nd Mar | Teddy (Rock Musical) – New Wolsey Theatre trip


The name “Teddy” might conjure up something cosy and cuddly – but don’t be fooled! This show at the Wolsey was anything but! Set in the deprived area of bomb-blasted streets of south London in the early ‘50s this was a raw and gritty tale of two teenagers, Josie and Teddy, heading out all dolled up and looking for a good time and the excuse to leave their dull, humdrum lives behind for the evening.

They meet by chance and having heard that their favourite rock star Johnny Valentine is in town they decide to go and see him and his band. The problem is – they are flat broke. Having got hold of a gun they rob a pawnbroker’s shop, but things get out of hand and they flee the scene with the cash. Arriving at the club they buy drinks and dance to their favourite music – but it all turns sour when Teddy spills his drink on a guy who doesn’t think it’s too funny. In the fracas that ensues, Josie – who still has the gun – shoots the guy and the show ends with our two protagonists under arrest.

With plenty of colourful language this was a vibrant and lively show. The two stars were on the stage the whole time, speaking their own parts as well as cleverly voicing those of other characters involved, and the action and drama were non-stop. All this with some stunning dance moves and a brilliant script, plus moments of high tension, made this a great show. Mention must also be made of the four-piece band – “Johnny Valentine & Friends” who played live throughout, giving us original numbers written for the show plus “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Rock Around the Clock” which they performed at the end as an encore. The party of Capel Ladies who saw it couldn’t fail to be caught up in it! Not what we thought it would be, but very memorable!

15th Feb | Meal at The Queen’s Head, Little Wenham

Another heart-warming meal in the cosy surroundings of The Queen’s Head, Little Wenham on a chilly February night! A large group of Capel Ladies enjoyed good food and company on our first outing of the season. Chicken Curry, Beef stew and dumplings, Chicken Tagine and Chicken Tikka Marsala were all on the menu along with a good selection of fresh vegetables, salad and chips, followed by cheese-cakes, chocolate fudge cake and fresh fruit salad; in other words, plenty of choice, and seconds if you had room! Thanks to Mark, Patsy and Linda for their warm welcome!

Dec 7th | Christmas Meal at The Chequers, Great Blakenham

There was a jolly atmosphere at The Chequers, Great Blakenham, where a large party of Capel Ladies Club members gathered for their annual Christmas meal. The service was good, the decor was bright and modern, the tables were festive and the meal was delicious! The food was served piping hot and with generous portions, and everyone enjoyed the dishes they had chosen. It was definitely a good start to Christmas 2017!

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