Death By Detective review by Sarah Mapleston - May 2024.

Russell Players once again hosted an entertaining evening consisting of a tasty light supper and a play that captivated the audience’s attention across three nights. ‘Death by Detective (Corpsed by a Copper)’ by David Pemberton was directed by Mitch Mitchell and demonstrated the talents of the Russell Players’ actors and backstage crew.  

Clever casting enabled the characters of the play to shine to the best of their ability. Harriet Brush (Sheila Partington), a Doctor of Psychology helped narrate the story together with Donald Bucket (Trish Harris), a detective who would give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money. Alongside these characters, you had Helen Stoner (Lisa Johnston), a young woman in distress who expertly retold the story leading up to her sister’s murder involving seamless costume and scene changes. Hawkins, a newspaper seller, and Bob, a handyman, (Henry Finney) were characters that commanded the stage with their strong accents, stage presence and kept the play moving. Mrs. Dobson and Julia Stoner were both characterised well by Louisa Nozay, especially when Julia met her death and Mrs. Dobson suffered from a fir tree allergy.  Dr Grimsby Deadwood was skilfully portrayed by Glyn Marshall who adopted a convincing intimidating persona. His untimely death was celebrated (albeit quietly) by all.

The hard work that had been put into producing this play was evident. The costumes were a delight, the lighting and sound operation and scene changes were excellent throughout. Well done to all involved and to Mitch Mitchell for directing an enjoyable play.

Sarah M 

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The Panto Puzzle review by Duncan Hamilton - December 2023

The Panto season came a bit earlier than usual in Swallowfield this year with the Russell Players’ annual offering arriving all wrapped up in brightly decorated boxes just in time for Christmas!

 The dynamic duo of Cheeky Charlie and Dame Dolly Mixture literally jumped in and out of three different pantomimes (Robinson Crusoe, Sleeping Beauty and Red Riding Hood) in a desperate hunt to help Cinderella recover her magic pumpkin, glass slippers and white mice, which had been burgled from storage by the wicked Witch, Evilena, played to great effect by the gruesomely demonic Trish Harris.

David Parsonson as the lugubrious and slightly world- weary stage manager had the unenviable task of setting out to the audience the complex scenario, namely, that all the pantos had been boxed up  and mothballed on the orders of an all- powerful but anonymous theatrical management. By the end of the first act, most of us had got the idea of what was going on.

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'Mitigating Circumstances' review by Ellyn Wright - July 2023

An entertaining evening was had by those who attended the Russell Players’ latest production the thought provoking, ‘Mitigating Circumstances’ by Juliet Devon.  As well as a brilliant performance we were provided with a delicious two course, light supper.  All in all, it was a very professional evening’s entertainment.

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'Goldilocks, The Three Bears and The Detectives' review by Duncan and Claire Hamilton - November 2022

The Russell Players’ annual pantomime returned to the Swallowfield stage in great style, in a new pre-Christmas slot. Written by local playwright Juliet Devon, the show puts a new spin on this familiar tale with Goldilocks’ evil guardian and her henchmen framing Goldilocks (the charming but feisty Leah Maskell) for the burglary break-in at the home of the Three Bears, and for stealing their porridge.

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A ‘Collage of Comedy’ review by Andy Witting - June 2022

The Russell Players are back with a bang! 

Those of us lucky enough to catch the trio of comedy performances laid on by the Russell Players in mid-June are in no doubt that dramatics are back in Swallowfield and it is far from amateur. The whole machine worked very smoothly entertaining us with first rate acting, lovely stage sets, clever lighting and delightful refreshments. What a talented bunch we have in our midst.      

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'Cinderella' review by Duncan Hamilton - February 2020

Take one King desperate to find friends and increase his “Likes” on Facebook, a fitness fanatic Prince obsessed with his Fitbit and how many steps he has taken, add a sassy fairy with attitude, two classic ugly sisters and a hard up Baron. Then mix them all together with those well- loved characters Cinderella and Buttons and you have the perfect recipe for a very entertaining evening of fun and laughter in the Russell Players’ latest seasonal offering.

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The Russell Players are an amateur dramatics group and have been successfully entertaining audiences since 1977.  We usually stage three productions a year including a pantomime.

You will find further details of the society on our About Us page. Photographs and reviews of productions can be found in the relevant sections on the Previous Performances page.  

We welcome new members who wish to be involved in some or all of the various aspects of amateur dramatics, i.e. acting, directing, stage management, prompting, costumes, sourcing props or front of house.  If you are interested please contact us via email.  The email address can be found on our Contacts page.