Category Archives: Review

Review: This is My Theatre – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

‘To see a rabbit is nothing remarkable… To hear it comment upon the time is quite remarkable… To follow it down a rabbit-hole into a strange new world not knowing how you’ll get out again is something extraordinarily remarkable indeed!

As Alice encounters the weird, wacky and wonderful characters who live in the world at the other end of the rabbit-hole, she’ll experience an adventure like never before! Finding her way home again won’t be an easy task and it will definitely make her rethink all the thoughts she has previously thought!’


This promotional introduction to the performance of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ by the touring group This is My Theatre certainly gives a flavour of the story. It doesn’t quite indicate how very slick and fast-moving the cast were in each successive scene. The props and costumes were minimal but suggested clearly which character was being portrayed whether it was Alice’s family, the White Rabbit, Dum and Dee, or The Queen of Hearts. The shrinking and expanding of Alice were cleverly portrayed with props that were identical apart from their size and a table, which one of the actors held aloft at a moment when he was fulfilling a stage manager’s role. Another clever device was when two of the actors held a blue cloth representing the tears Alice had shed that she nearly drowned in.

The production fitted so neatly into the hay barn at Stanstead Bury that it would seem to have been created expressly for it. This is the fourth production that they have brought here – I for one look forward to the next one.

The performance lasted approximately one hour and 20 minutes without an interval and kept the audience completely rapt.

Review by Julia Davies

A Flavour of ‘Just the Tonic: Right Royal Comedy Shindig’

On Sunday June 5th, the first Great Amwell Comedy Shindig drew a crowd of several thousand people who laughed uproariously at numerous points. Ed Byrne had his spot during the afternoon in a programme that included Milton Jones, Angela Barnes, Jason Manford, Reginald D Hunter, Phil Nicoll, Ivan Brackenbury and Lloyd Griffith. Many of these stand-ups would be familiar to TV viewers and they clearly lived up to expectations. 

The dead pan Milton Jones kept his audience on the alert for punchlines as his anecdotes about dozens of relations – especially grandads – included surprising and imaginative word-play as they reached their conclusions. Angela Barnes comically shared her experiences as a woman who doesn’t conform to the expectations of the norms in the more general population. In fact it was of course the recognition of her differences being very many people’s differences that made her so warmly received. 

The event was well-organised, with food and drink available on site, loads of parking space and no queueing on the road. Thanks go to Just the Tonic/Church End Comedy team for their hard work organising such a fun event.

Julia Davies

What a Platinum Jubilee Party!

On Friday 3rd June, in the glorious sunshine, crowds of you came along to the Platinum Jubilee Party held at The Stanstead Abbotts and St Margarets’ Village Club.

A fantastic time was had by all who attended – and there were a lot of you! Live music, a delicious BBQ, dance performances, tombola, cake stall, face painting and ice creams made for a brilliant afternoon of celebration.

Huge thanks go to Stanstead Abbotts Parish Council, The Village Club and the army of volunteers who made it all happen.

Brilliant Beacon Event at Easneye!

On Thursday June 2nd, around 150 people were present at the Easneye field – at the invitation of Nicholas and Henrietta Buxton – and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. The late sun was shining on the trees with a golden glow as villagers arrived, from 8.30pm onwards, to gaze down to Hoddesdon and far beyond to the City of London and Canary Wharf. People happily picnicked and enjoyed refreshments from the bar as the late sun sank out of sight and the music became more patriotic. From his trailer, Nicholas Buxton delivered a rousing speech extolling the long reign of Her Majesty the Queen, before going over to the enormous bonfire and lighting it – dead on 9.45pm – so that it took its place in the official network of beacons across the country.

Thanks are due to the Buxton family for the welcome on to their land, for the work that went into building the beacon and providing the music. Volunteers were supervising the parking and running the bar and a committee had met several times to ensure that everything was in place. Stanstead Abbotts Parish Council very much appreciates and thanks all of those people who made the beacon happen.

Julia Davies

Great Amwell Beacon Event: a fantastic evening!

On Thursday 2nd June residents of Great Amwell were able to meet on the Vicar’s Field (with the kind permission of St. John the Baptist School) and enjoy the sunshine and some fun together before the Platinum Jubilee beacon lighting at 9:45, to coincide with all other beacons across the Commonwealth.  Some lively games of rounders were played, children and adults had their faces painted and the souvenir mugs were handed out to provide a memento of what was truly a unique event, all to a well-judged soundtrack of music that easily overcame the neighbouring music festival.

Image courtesy of William Brown

The beacon was lit by Tom Foy as Chair of Great Amwell Parish Council and was spectacular. Indeed, someone called the fire brigade who were obliged to attend; although on a night of national beacon-lighting, this was probably not the only place that this happened. Hopefully, the young who came will look back in years to come and be able to say, ‘I remember the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee’.

Image courtesy of William Brown

The event was organised by Suzie Nichol and supported by East Herts District Council, Great Amwell Parish Council, St. John the Baptist Church and Parish Hall, the Amwell Society, and generous private donations.