Seasons Greetings

A Merry Christmas to Matchbox members, friends and audiences new and old. Wishing you all a splendidly healthy and hearty and fun filled festive period, from the Matchblog.

Loads of love

M x


Audition Announcement: March Play

It gives me great pleasure to announce that the March play of 2018 will be The 39 Steps. This adaptation of John Buchan’s novel and, more notably, Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller has been a popular favourite in the West End for many years winning numerous awards including the Olivier Award for Best Comedy. It has long been a desire of mine to direct it but when the time came two years ago the rights were unavailable. In the interim the rights became available once again and both Bromley Little theatre and Theatre 62 have staged it.

Now it is the Matchbox’s turn.

In the tradition of ‘The Compleat Shakspear (abridged)’ and ‘All the Great Books’ this Matchbox Sized Shakespeare Company production will have 4 (possibly 5 actors) playing all 150 parts. As one would expect it will involve a lot of physical performance from all actors who are pretty much on stage all the time. Timing and speed will be essential as well as the ability to perform this spoof with the sincerity it needs to be truly funny. The cast is as follows:

Richard Hannay (male)– playing age 30ish, tall, dark and handsome, British orphan, involved in international espionage and intrigue

Pamela, Annabella, Margaret (female)– playing age 30s, played by same actress, love interest, secret agent, Scottish wife, also involved in espionage and intrigue.

Clowns (2 or 3 – any mixture of male or female, age is open): These actors play all other supporting characters. They include spies, commuters, madmen, vaudevillians, policemen, Scots, innkeepers, heavies. Must be fairly versatile with dialects and accents and be willing to be take on a lot of physicality.

Auditions will be held on Wednesday 3rd January with the intention of doing the read-through on Monday 8th January and beginning in earnest on Sunday 14th January. Performance dates are 15th-17th March. Rehearsals will be most Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays.

If you are interested in auditioning but unable to make that date then please let me know by email or on 07940495474 and I will arrange an alternative time. They will start at 8:00 at St. Francis Church Hall, Ravenswood Ave, West Wickham.

If you wish to get involved in a backstage capacity then please let me know as and when is convenient, there will be plenty to do.

Audition pieces will be available within the next week and will be sent out upon request. Please let me know if you would like to read the play and I will send a copy to you.

As always, if there are any problems,  queries or issues then please let me know and if you think there is anyone who would be interested in this and who is not on the mailing list above please forward accordingly.  I look forward to seeing many of you there and adding another hugely successful show to the Matchbox repertoire.

Best wishes

Mike x

THE MATCHBOX PANTOMIME 2017 (and an important request)


As the year begins to draw to a close, thoughts turn for many to the festive season and a chance hopefully for some rest and reflection. As always it is a quieter time in Matchbox Theatre land…

…Oh no it isn’t!

Oh yes it is!

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is the closest  we will ever get to a pantomime. Though I personally would love to channel the inner dame – can’t you tell?

Nonetheless even with this being the case thoughts are turning to next year’s productions and a notice will be going out about auditions for the March play in the next few days. We also have the AGM to start the year on 7th January and we would be VERY grateful if as many people as possible could come to this meeting as there are some important matters to discuss regarding the future of the group; the more people who turn up, the more ideas and suggestions might be forthcoming regarding the issues currently being faced. We hope the promise of cheese and wine will be enough to entice.

So, though this isn’t quite the last post of the year, I do sincerely hope you are gearing up for a suitably restful/exciting/quiet/decadent/debauched (delete where applicable) festive season. Take care and will catch up soon and, remember…


Until next time,

M x


Life Begins at Fifty?

And so ‘Jumpy’, the 105th Matchbox Theatre production has come to an end. A departure in terms of tone and subject matter but undeniably a successful run that entertained, amused and provoked much thought throughout its three day run. Presented with minimal set, the piece flowed slickly through the crises of Hilary and the various characters with whom her mid-life intersects. Adultery, teen pregnancy, the waywardness of youth, feminism and belly dancing (obviously) were amongst the themes on show and there is no question that the audience enjoyed the strength of cast performance alongside the fluidity of the set transferring from bedroom to beach, coffee shop to cottage. Very much an ensemble piece, there was a great camaraderie within the company and crew, though there is no question that K’s dynamic, engaging, nuanced performance as Hilary was the glue that held the storytelling together – that, and her lightning fast skill at slipping in and out of different costumes for virtually every scene. This, along with beautifully apposite sound and unflashy but perfect lighting, ensured that this would be a soiree to remember. I have said before that Vicky Pearce brings a holistic vision to any plays that she directs and that was very much the case with ‘Jumpy’. Having worked on it from the very beginning the concept remained firm and, despite  challenges, remained so even if a short cut was prompted here or a rethink there.

So, another great show.

Nonetheless, to lour some clouds upon our house, it must be said that much of its success was ‘in spite of’ rather then ‘because’. These challenges thrown up are becoming increasingly problematic and this in turn throws up questions, questions that prompt some weighty discussion….

But that is for the near future! Suffice to say that the group’s reputation for quality and varied theatre remains safe, not because of my own subjective bias, but from the numerous positive comments and observations made by the exiting crowd across all three days. And, as is customary on such occasions there are many  memorable moments that made ‘Jumpy’ such a great night, some of which can be seen above.

M x

Leaping Back on the Bandwagon

Well, it’s not an unusual thing for me to apologise about being behind with bloggage but with a gap of nearly half a year…I have been remiss. Very remiss. So, much to catch up on then as you might well imagine.

Foremost is of course our upcoming December production, Jumpy, which goes up this Thursday (30th November). Indeed, I am writing these words as the technical rehearsal unfolds, the usual melee of pdychedelic light, random effects and the soundtrack of our lives!

The play is a bit of a departure for the group- keeping in with the recent trend of experimental, off beat and out of the ordinary choices of play, it provides something novel for cast and audiences. Debuting at the Duke of York in 2011 and written by April de Angelis, it enjoyed a great deal of popularity and critical success and is therefore a perfect choice for the Matchbox. Described as a tragedy played like a farce it takes at it’s heart the mid life crisis of Hilary and her struggles with a stale marriage, the threat of job loss and, not least, her 15 year old daughter Tilly’s provocative sexuality and utter contempt for her mother. Played by Tamsin Grieg originally, Hilary’s menopausal journey is a bittersweet series of encounters and misadventures that offers many instances of hilarity but also relatability.

The male mid life crisis is fertile territory for theatre, less so that of the woman’s equivalent and Jumpy therefore offers exciting challenge for the group. Directed by Vicky Pearce, well known for her creative staging, with K Isom as Hilary, this promises to be an excellent night of theatre. With a small but perfectly formed cast of young and old(er) it has unquestionably been rehearsed to a refined polish that brings out the very best of the humour, and the poignancy.

More mature in content than some recent fare it is nonetheless neither vulgar or crude and anyone over the age of 14 will be able to appreciate the various beats and moments at the heart of the play. It’s certainly a great one for the blog to return to after such a long hiatus, and we are looking forward to once again entertaining audiences with something a little different. Tickets are still available for this Thursday, Friday and Saturday so if you haven’t got hold of one yet, make sure you pick them up sooner rather than later.

So, hello again, thanks for having me back, sorry for the absence, it won’t happen again. Promise.

Until the next time.

M x

Talking and Trainspotting


So the curtain goes up tonight on The Matchbox’s Trainspotting Meets Talking Heads’ . If you haven’t got your tickets there are still some available for tonight, tomorrow and Saturday; I can wholeheartedly recommend the show as a splendid evening out.

As stated previously the evening comprises three monologues each with a healthy balance of comedy and the bitter sweet poignancy born out of both Alan Bennett and Stephen Dinsdale’s perceptive observational writing. I know everyone involved with the production has wholly dedicated themselves to the three characters portrayed throughout the evening. It goes without saying holding the stage for 25-30 minutes alone is no small feat but Helen, Zack and Dot have shown themselves more than able to draw an audience in  and give them a window into particular points at each of these distinct character’s lives.

Therefore, may legs be broken for all involved in the run and if you are able to get along to the church hall I sincerely hope you enjoy. I’ll be back with feedback and responses in the next day or so.

Until then keep well and take care,

M x



Of Lentils, Crackers and Thermos Flasks.

As promised I recently watched the dress rehearsal for the upcoming ‘Talking Heads/Trainspotting’ triple bill which runs from this Thursday to Saturday. All three vignettes promise laughter and poignancy in various measures with the brilliance of both writers’ dialogue delivered by a trio  of fine performers fully  deserving their opportunity  to strut and fret their hour upon the stage (although each is probably about half that length). If you haven’t got your ticket yet I can only encourage you to remedy  that and book sharpish – it’s going to be another cracking night of theatre for everyone!

Hope to see you there.

M x