What can you find here? Reviews of new and not quite so new Sherlock Holmes novels and collections. Interviews with authors, link to blogs worth following, links to where you can purchase my books and some reviews of my work garnered from Amazon sites. Plus a few scary pics of me and a link to various Lyme Regis videos on YouTube...see what we do here and how....and indeed why!!! Next to the Lyme Regis Video Bar is a Jeremy Brett as Holmes Video Bar and now a Ross K Video Bar. And stories and poems galore in the archives.

Monday, 27 June 2016

The Tempest of Lyme...Rehearsing

Rehearsals are marching on apace and everything is beginning to fall into place. And, most importantly, we are having enormous fun into the bargain. Last week was built around the Wedding dance (a jig in fact although extraordinarily unjig like from some of us!) and the music and cacophony of sounds required for the storm scenes. We are good it seems at making a noise! Some pictures below courtesy of Peter Wiles. (

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Tempest- An Interview with Maya Pieris

Maya Pieris takes on the character on the Boatswain in the forthcoming production of The Tempest of Lyme. A busy woman, but she found the time to answer a few questions:

         What made you want to get involved in this production?

       Well it’s all Declan Duffy’s fault! 2 years ago I did a physical theatre weekend with Niki McCretton at Bridport Arts Centre and he was on and suggested I might want to do some amdram so I joined Encore who were about to do Oh What a Lovely War which was a fab experience. Then got a part in a first play written by Lorraine Parnell who lives in Bridport and was hooked! I then joined up for the Dorchester Community Play and saw then saw the ad for this production and decided to give it a go and audition. Clemmie was brill at the audition and flexible over time and put me utterly at ease. I said I would be happy with anything and landed the part of the Boatswain, one of the lesser known gems of the play, and in the chorus so was “well pleased”! so far all the rehearsals have been fun joined to hard work.

     And how are you enjoying the rehearsals etc?       

   So yes I am enjoying the rehearsals and being part of a group-we all start together and end together with gentle and quiet leading from the front. And everyone’s fun and friendly and supportive.

      Have you a theatre background?

          I definitely have a theatre background- I played a cat aged 6, one of a group, dressed in pyjamas with a tail who were all doing a “turn” to What’s new Pussycat and having been terrified about going on I then had to be lifted off the stage as I was really enjoying it! I was then the wardrobe mistress for my 3rd year primary school nativity play in charge of T towels for the shepherds, wrote my first play in turquoise ink, a whodunit, aged 12, was in Dido and Aeneas and then a brief break of 20 years before doing 2 more Baroque operas, another break and then Bridport and Lyme. One needs to rest!!

           You have been heavily involved in food since moving down to Dorset. How did that come about?

       My life as a “foodie” is in the past!! I did run Four Season Preserves, an apparently award winning preserves business though not much business and had 2 brushes with TV in the form of the Hungry Sailors and the Hairy Bikers one of whom I used to know “well” at college when we both had more hair and hair colour! I started the business back in Hertfordshire from where we moved in 2010 but for various reasons couldn’t regain the momentum. But everything has a season!! Like a cat I’d used up my 4!

      You are also known for your writing including a recent play. Can I twist your arm to tell us more?   
        Since moving here I have regained my writing “mojo” and had some success over the last 4 years with publications and not always self-published. I used to write with Story traders in Bridport who provided a great chance to get back on the chair and sit at the desk and continue to attend Annie Freud’s poetry group in Cattistock and various courses run by the Bridport Arts Centre and others. And yes amazingly I’ve just won a Page to Stage award with the Tacchi Morris Arts Centre in Taunton- the prize was having the play performed and I had just over 2 weeks to get the actors etc! It was a scripted performance but was the first time I’d had to do production/direction too! And it went brilliantly with interest shown by a Lincolnshire community playgroup for me to take it there! The play is in 3 acts but it was the middle one that went forward for the award and it was about a strike by girls at Gundry’s net factory in 1912. The outer 2 acts are Punch and Judy shows! Hopefully the whole play will be done next year with Bridport Museum advertising it.The idea was inspired by research and writing undertaken by Carlos Guarita and a re-enactment of the strike by the Bridport Wildcats.
                                                                         WATCH THIS SPACE!    

          If anyone is undecided whether to come and see The Tempest of Lyme, how would you convince them?

          And as for coming to the play –well be there or miss one of the best events of the year in the area! Will be the best of community play working. I’m hoping to have a Hertfordshire group come down.

 Thanks Maya.           

Thursday, 16 June 2016

GiveMe5 for The Tempest of Lyme

 With so many (wonderful!) local people involved in The Tempest of Lyme, the costs are going to be quite high for costumes, set and props. So we need some extra help to make it happen, and make sure it looks brilliant (to match the brilliant performances!)

Today and only today we have the chance to get every £5 donated to the cause match-funded by Local Giving. Please donate if you can, and share to friends and family and on social media. We need to raise around £1000 ie 200 x £5 donations. If you can help....please do. Thank you. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The Tempest of Lyme....An Interview......

.......with myself!!

While in limbo, waiting for some cast members to get back to me, I thought I would take on the task of interviewing myself. It's a dirty job...but someone has to do it!!

1. How long have you lived in Lyme Regis?

It will be twelve years in July. And very happy here.

2. What stage work have you done?                    

Very little. I suppose I always liked the notion of doing it, but never, ever envisaged in a million years that I would ever attempt it!

3. What then, got you involved?

Jenny Wiles had the idea to present Oh What A Lovely War in November 2014 and as I love the show, the songs and the message it puts across, I decided to take the plunge...and loved it. The Tempest of Lyme will therefore be my second foray into this strange world.

4. What are you enjoying most about this production?

I try to get to all the rehearsals because I enjoy seeing how each scene develops in the hands of an extremely talented director and equally talented local actors. I particularly like how everyone's input is considered, even if ultimately rejected! But really, the flow of creative ideas is quite amazing with everyone working hard to make the show a success.

5. What are your views on 'method acting'?      

Method? Acting? What?

6. You balance work and charity shop volunteering with your rather prolific writing. How do you do that?

Er....somehow. Although, believe me, I can be very lazy indeed. Often. 

7. Can we expect to see you on stage again?      

It's a possibility unless the public demand I don't!

8. And how come you look exactly like me?

Odd isn't it.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Tempest...Rehearsals Continue (as you would expect!)

Bit by bit, scene by scene, piece by piece, act by act, (you get the idea) The Tempest of Lyme is coming together. There has been much music this week, much singing, many Ariels, a weather-beaten Sea Venture crew and Thatcher's Gold cider although admittedly, that was only me... 

I am enjoying how the scenes evolve as we run them with new ideas, new angles being continually explored. A fascinating process and if that wasn't enough, I got to brandish a wooden sword at Brian! And not just new angles and ideas either, but last night, re-writes! Hey, we coped admirably I thought. One of the key words of the show will be ENERGY and we certainly got a feel for that yesterday evening: running around, yelling, shouting, pushing, shoving, verbally abusing others. I'll leave you to decide whether all that was part of the rehearsal! Some pics from Theatre Square:

'King' Stephano lording it over Lyme.

Ah, we have singers!

One of those quiet moments...

Lyme gives us a stunning backdrop.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Tempest of Lyme Rehearsals......

I know one thing for sure...I am in awe of the talent in this show. Now, I can't act for toffee (although make it a cider and I'll give it my best shot)but these guys go from an initial read-through to full blown performance in the twinkling of an eye (well, ninety minutes or so anyway). And the evolution of each scene is satisfying to see, how the characters themselves evolve depending on each actor's interpretation. Clemmie is quick to involve everyone in the dynamics of how each scene enfolds. Everyone has an input. Love it. The Tempest of Lyme is going to be very special indeed.

Here is Prospera (Nicca) looking up to one of her Ariels (Melissa).

We have five Ariels in the show. Why five I hear you ask. We thought with multiple Ariels we will be sure to get a better reception from the audience!

Mark those dates: 19th - 24th July.

Marine Theatre

Be there.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Tempest of Lyme...An Interview with John Simpson

John Simpson will play the part of Stephano is the upcoming and eagerly awaited local production of 'The Tempest of Lyme' and he is here with me now. Well, not literally, I might have to buy him lunch!

1. In ‘The Tempest of Lyme’ you play Stephano who spends most of his time drinking. Is there an element of typecasting there?!

1.     No absolutely not. I rarely drink alcohol now. Once had a drink during the interval of a show and almost fluffed my lines in the second act. Never again! The director and I did agree though that for Stephano I should get very drunk one night and recant my lines, just to get the feel of it. 

2.      2. What are the challenges of playing Stephano?

 Stephano is a classic comic relief within Shakespeare's play. He must entertain and provide a pleasant diversion from the main storyline and create a subplot which must weave back into the narrative. It's about creating a character with a low status accent, limited use of syntax and almost pantomime like gestures without going overboard. Comic timing is important as is the relationships he has with Trincular and Caliban. He also has to morph into a pretentious like man where he is punching well above his weight when he thinks he rules over the Isle. It's all about rhythm volume of voice as well as spatial awareness. These are just some of the challenges, oh yes he also has to sing.

3.Have you always been bitten by the acting bug? Or is it a recent thing?

. The first time I appeared on stage was at the London Coliseum at the age of 12 for English National Opera. I performed with them throughout my early teens as well as with Handel Opera Society. Also sang with Barnet Schools at the Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall. After my first degree I took voice lessons and won a place at RWCMD in Cardiff where I studied acting and singing. I have sung for D'Oyly Carte as well as many other small professional companies. I've also toured pantomime extensively throughout the UK where there was more drama offstage than on it. I've performed most of the G&S Operettas and Ive been part of four world premieres, done some TV extra work, voice overs and you can hear me as part of the opening chorus for BBC's 'Merlin' This is the second time I've worked with Andrew Dickson the first being 'Running Still' for the Dorchester Community Play Association in the 90's.          

4.   Are you looking forward to the challenge of playing in the open air, competing with seagulls, buses and crisp packets being opened?

 Open air performances are no problem. The main challenge is making sure that the audience can hear and the second is that of rain. Not because of the audience but because it ruins the costumes and expensive instruments. If dry it can be a great experience and as for other interruptions seagull pie is very tasty at this time of year.

5.   If you could pick an ideal role for yourself, what would it be?

 I'd pick any of the Verdi Baritone roles as they usually play the bad guy and there are some great arias. I've played Papageno which is an actor singing role as well as Wilfred the jailer in The Yeoman of the Guard. I feel Stephano is in this mould which is probably why I've been cast as him.                                                                       

6.     6.  Have you ‘played’ Shakespeare before?

. I played Peter the Fisherman in Verdi's Otello and in 2013 I played Antonio in 12th Night with The Greek Theatre Players which has it's own Greek Ampitheatre right in the heart of Walthamstow. 

Thanks very much, John.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

The Tempest of Lyme: A Poem...

Clemmie in the theatre one day
Decided she must stage a play
But which play? Aye, there’s the rub
She thought about it some more at the pub
She danced with delight as she had a notion
(Just think of Little Eva or Kylie doing the Locomotion!)
‘Ah,’ she cried, ‘it must be the Tempest!’
‘For Lyme’s very own Shakespearefest.’
She set out to find a cast so true
Or failing that, any old motley crew
How about telling the story of Sir George Somers of Lyme
Brilliant idea...and all before tea-time.
Clemmie was now in desperate need of a writer
She had an idea. True, he was a bit of a blighter
But she was happy to offer the task to Andy
After all, he would do it for ten bob and a bottle of brandy.
Ah, but there is music and the occasional song
To delight the expected throng
A musical director must be hired
One universally admired
Or maybe just Mr Dickson
As unimpeachable as Richard Nixon!!
We were all invited to audition
And this of our own volition!
We learned to breathe, we learned to laugh
While Clemmie plotted it all on a graph.
And now begins all the hard work
From which we cannot shirk
Not even for a minute
O Brave new world that has such people in't

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

The Tempest of Lyme...An interview with Fred Humphrey

Fred Humphrey has been trying to act since his schooldays, (mainly as the women (!) as Lady Macbeth, Lady Bracknell, Mrs Noah, and others) and then with numerous local societies in Wimbledon, then in Norfolk, and Surrey. He worked mainly backstage at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, for touring productions whilst at University, and combined his love of theatre with his profession in stage equipment engineering, lighting and broadcasting. Since moving to Lyme thirteen years ago, he’s appeared in LRDS productions such as Dad’s Army, Allo, Allo, Outside Edge, Party Piece, Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime, Ghost Train,On the Razzle, A Murder has been Announced, Make Way for Lucia, Dad’s Army, Tons of Money, Local Affairs,A Christmas Carol, Black Comedy.
He was a trustee of the Marine Theatre for 7 years.

1. How long have you been ‘treading the boards’? And what got you involved initially?

Acting since aged 11, at school and in local SW London societies. My father was a keen thespian, and that was how my parents met.

2. What have been the highlights for you?

Any great parts - the Ladies Bracknell and Macbeth (at school), Scrooge at Lyme, many others.

3. And the lowlights?

My sword (an essential prop for the scene) being struck out of my hand to the second row of the stalls in Southampton.

4. You play Sir George Somers in ‘The Tempest of Lyme’, what are your feelings on the character?

Interesting to play a real character from history, but I do slightly miss the Shakespeare!

5. What does living in Lyme mean for you or do for you?

It has so much going for it - the harbour, the sea, the gardens, the theatre (and eventually) the cinema, and loads of interesting people.

6. Is there one play you would like to be involved in given the chance? Or a particular character you would love to play?

The Emcee in 'Cabaret' , or anything Shakespearean at the Minack.

7. If you could describe the upcoming production in one word (yes, I know...impossible!) what would it be?


Thanks Fred!

Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Tempest of Lyme...Early days!

You may think, looking at the above photograph that we were just having fun. Not a bit of it; we were working very hard. Notice how Declan (left foreground) is working extremely hard to levitate. Or maybe auditioning for 'They Shoot Horses Don't They?' It's a wonder we had any breath back for the read-through!

Here we are pretending to be a Magic Circle (or was it Stonehenge?) except it wasn't a true circle, nor indeed was it magic although it did make some of our nerves disappear.

Ah, the read-through. All of us looking very intense with great concentration etched on our faces. Apart from those who were having a crafty nap...

The Tempest of Lyme will be performed from the 19th July to the 24th July at the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis. Performances start at 7pm apart from Thursday the 21st which will be an 8pm start due to The Red Arrows doing their thing.

More news and interviews etc to follow....

The rehearsal images are courtesy of Peter Wiles. See more on his website HERE