The video features Julian Harries as Inspector Jessop and Pat Marlowe as Miss Murgatroyd. Alongside them are Deborah Hewitt, Sam Martin and Emma Finlay. Music by Pat Whymark. Filming by Steven Dorrington, (@sdorrington) and editing by Peter Linnemann of Kinura (@kinura).
Lots to update on the buzz blog today. First of all the Times review is in – and it’s a cracker, with four stars to boot. Of course it’s hidden behind a pay wall but you can read the full review on our web site here. Under the title Murder most Merrily Mirthful Libby Purves says #DialM is ‘an energetic satirical treat‘ ‘a blissful cross between a Round the Horne parody of The Mousetrap and old fashioned revue‘ with ‘daft physical jokes chucked in at speed, never milked …and ‘ some fine Kenneth Hornery‘ but above all ‘the tight writing and sheer discipline shine‘.Not to be outdone in Wednesday’s Ipswich Star you could read how Georgina (@debshewitt) went hunting for her monkey in the Ipswich Museum. The full story is online here – dare you to read it without giggling!. If you’ve not seen the show yet you’re missing out on the funniest hunting song ever! Last heard the monkey was still missing!
And on Tuesday cast members Sam Martin and Emma Finlay joined Foz on his BBC Radio Suffolk drive time show for a chat about costume changes, singing Delilah for Children in Need and all things Dial M. You can listen in below – or for the next seven days follow this link to listen to it on the BBC listen again service.
Twitter continues to be alive with lots of great #dialm commentary. Vicki Lee (@Imnotposh) said ‘”Dial M for Murgatroyd” was just brilliant tonight – you simply keep on getting better – fantastic !’, Keely Taylor (@keelyktss)has obviously been to our Christmas shows before – she said ‘Dial M For Murgatroyd is hilarious, every actor playing 4/5 parts. And Mrs Giblets made a cameo appearance!’ @Dave_hannah said ‘Great night at #dialm tonight! @easternangles you guys are awesome! Thank you!’ and Henrietta Duckworth (@henriduckworth) said ‘Treat of a show. Great plotting and performances from Julian Harries, Patrick Marlowe @easternangles #dialm. Go to East Anglia to catch it.’
I reckon Agatha Christie will be chuckling away – wherever she is!
You’ll have to beg, borrow or even steal for a ticket for the last few performances at the Sir John Mills Theatre (the run ends here on Sat 12 January) but there are tickets available at the Seckford Theatre (15th Jan-26th Jan) in the beautiful village of Woodbridge. Available on line here. For its final week (28th Jan-2nd Feb) the show transfers to Vivacity’s (@vivacitypboro) Key Theatre (@keytheatre) in Peterborough – tickets are available here. But do hurry – those tickets are going fast too!
The Observer review is in. @ClareMBrennan writes ‘The spoof to end all spoofs, though, has to be @easternangles production of #DialM for Murgatroyd …if ever American tourists return in numbers to asset stripped Britain, this would make a great West End attraction’. You can read the full review here.
If you’ve not had chance to see the show yet there are literally a handful of tickets left across the run at the SJM in Ipswich. Availability is ok for the first week in Seckford, and good availability in the second. You can buy tickets on line here – or our Box Office is open on Christmas Eve from 10am to 2pm for those last remaining SJM seats. Or come and see the show at the Peterborough Key – tickets here.
21 December – National Coverage
The first sniff of national coverage for #dialm. In The Times on Saturday Libby Purves recommended the show ‘as it was so much fun’. Here’s what she said ‘Eastern Angles’ Christmas show is a blast this time: half spoof murder comedy, half Round the Horne, packed with vaudeville jokes and physical larks. Unpretentious but finely worked and never flagging. Sir John Mills Theatre Ipswich, 01473 211498 to 12 Jan; touring East to 2 Feb’ Hoping for some more national coverage of the show over the next few weeks!
And as luke warm reviews come in for the spice girls musical Viva Forever (‘cardboard mulch still tastes of cardboard’ writes @shentonstage whilst Paul Taylor writes (in the Independent) ‘oh for pitys sake cant we have a rest and have some Abba!) worth catching up on more notices for @easternangles #DialM for Murgatroyd.
‘It may look and feel different from your traditional festive offering’ writes Glen Pearce over on his theatre blog ‘but for laughs per line it would be hard to beat. Where else can you sit and suddenly find a giant monkey sitting on your knee? Judging by the enthusiastic audience response, one suspects the phone lines to the Dial M For Murgatroyd Box Office will be red hot’.
Ben Sharratt of The Stage calls #dialm ‘ fresh, madcap comedy gold….a show packed with cracking nonsense’. ‘Carry on, Ealing, Holmes, Christie (naturally) and the kitchen sink are thrown into the mix to provide the framework for a dashed silly tale about growth serum experiments and underhand tactics at the village vegetable show’. (fellow members of the Wivenhoe allotment society please note I’m not taking inspiration from our Christmas show)
Whilst over on BBC Radio Suffolk Glen (again) talked about #DialM in glowing terms. Here he is in full flow ‘I didn’t stop laughing from the moment the show started right through until the final number’:-
I’ve mentioned before that Ipswich has a fair old flotilla of Christmas shows this year something also echoed by @markfizzwig who tweeted ‘ Anyone who complains there’s nothing happening in Ipswich. How about great theatre from @newwolsey @easternangles & @red_rose_chain. Special mention then to Red Rose Chain whose own offering ‘The Magic Fishbone’ had it’s press night a few days ago. So far two five star reviews one from Whats On Stage and one from Public Reviews – which might just be from the pen of a certain Glen Pearce to bring us full circle!
4th DecemberReview wise first out of the blocks was Michael Gray with his **** for Public Reviews. Michael described #DialM as ’the plum pudding to the panto’s turkey….two hours of madcap fun….delivered with wild-eyed relish, irrepressible energy and a mischievous sense of fun’
Next out of the blocks was Lynne Mortimer of EADT. ‘A couple of lines in’ – Lynne explains – ‘the audience is laughing…Honestly? By the end my face was aching from variously smiling, chuckling and laughing out loud as I watched this fabulous concoction of silliness’. Steve Hawthorne of Grapevine put it another way – describing #dialm as a ‘chortle fest of ridiculousness’.
What’s On Stage followed Public Reviews with another **** review ‘If the thought of yet another pantomime fills you with horror, then the seasonal frolic which makes up Eastern Angles’ Christmas entertainment is the one for you.’ Reviewer Anne Morley- Priestman sums up with just one word ‘hillarious’..
@ipswich24mag calls the Eastern Angles Christmas show as much of a Christmas tradition as the panto, mincepie and crackers….the cast of five are superb and multi talented taking on twenty characters [requiring] lightening on-stage costume and character changes that are worth the ticket price alone….one of the best pieces of original drama that I have seen this year‘
For ticket and availability info see here but be quick – 13 shows already sold out and another 8 are close to selling out.
Over on twitter @markfizzwig said ‘if you want laughs this Christmas without fairies and wicked queens there is no better than #DialM. Agatha Christie meets Carry On. Superb!!!!’ @ipswich24mag added ‘Fun, laughter and some of the quickest costume changes Ipswich has ever seen #DialM for Murgatroyd is a must see’ @glenpearce1 described #DialM as ‘manic, mad and marvellous. Forget The Mousetrap, this is how whodunit’s should be done!’. Wonder if @beckypennick (cast member of Margaret Catchpole who has just spent time in The Mousetrap on the Westend) will agree with Glen on that one!!
Talking of Glen make of this RT what you will ‘@DebsHewitt RT @easternangles: @Glenpearce1: Not often you get sat on by a monkey in the theatre! #intervaltweets” ha ha! Love it!” you found my monkey?’
Meanwhile @whatsonwayne ‘absolutly loved #dialm’ and the show has made it onto @jenniferraw ‘Shows I simply MUST see’ along with @theatreroyalbse Rapunzel, @mercurytheatre Jack and the Beanstalk and DIY Nativity @thejunctioncamb
More buzz. ‘Just spent a very pleasant evening at #Dialm for Murgatroyd. Great fun! With a seemingly massive cast!’ tweeted @eddieduggan. @davidjmgc said ‘had a great laugh last night at #dialm. Fantastic!’. This years sponsors of our spring tour Ipswich Building Society (@ipswichbuildsoc) could not have been more wholesome in their praise ‘Want a good night out?’ they tweeted ‘ Go to #dialm for murgatroyd. Very funny and entertaining. Will sell out fast…and they now serve @adnams’
29th November – Huge congratulations to the whole team behind #dialm – great first show tonight team murgatroyd!
First preview done and dusted (as @CGWAGLAND aka Greg Wagland – last years Miss Haversacks pointed out – one down er – seventy eight to go). It was a fantastic first preview. Greg went onto say ‘Lots of laughs and a big marrow… MIRTH and GIRTH, two ingredients for a great night out’ “The BBC’s Lesley Dolphin (@lesleydolphin) called it absolutely mad and fantastic whilst @glennccolm said ‘amazing night out. Go. Go. Go’ First time EA Christmas show attender @emmabrightmore added ‘ill certainly be going again!’.
If you’re interested in back stage twittering make sure you follow @debshewitt from whom this evening we learnt ‘Act 1 beginners but the audience are too busy getting ****** to get to their seats on time!’. Lots of very happy people in the audience but I didn’t see too many drunks though it was true the bar – freshly stocked with @adnams ale and wines was very busy! Also true that our five strong cast delivered a storming first night and the cheers and whoops at curtain call were VERY well deserved
If you’re up for a bargain there are still tickets left for the remaining previews on Thurs 29 Nov and Fri 30 Nov when tickets are just £9.50. The show opens officially on Saturday night – but let us know your views on twitter via the #dialm hashtag or the Eastern Angles face book page.
Christmas officially starts TODAY! Who needs advent when Miss Murgatroyd is about to arrive (in preview form!!) – does rather look as these three wise persons are already ready and waiting…
Here’s Wayne Savage (@whatsonwayne) piece for the East Anglian Daily Times – there are indeed strange goings on up at the Fitzall estate. The article goes onto quote co creator (and one of the Eastern Angles founder members) Pat Whymark describing the humour in the play as ‘a bit like the plays what Ernie Wise wrote with dashes of Monty Python, Carry On and The Mighty Boosh’
Having just seen the dress run (see this blog here) I can vouch for the accuracy of that statement! Pat though is far too modest to mention the simply brilliant original music she’s written for the piece which is performed with real vigour and skill by our cast of five going on twenty.
The article goes onto discuss the best Miss Marple. Margaret Rutherford – according to Julian – easily tops Joan Hickson. I suspect Julian and I are never going to see eye to eye on that one!
As ever tickets are available here
A few more updates as the pace hots up ahead of opening night (hence the pic of a post box being painted!!!).
#DialM is in @lyngardner ‘s Guardian tips of the week. She writes ‘Eastern Angles always have fun at this time of the year and the company’s country house murder-mystery spoof, Dial M for Murgatroyd, is at the Sir John Mills in Ipswich from next Wednesday’. Then in the December issue of @suffolkmag @artyclarkey writes ‘The @easternangles Xmas show is part of Suffolk’s modern cultural heritage”.
Twitter buzz has started too. Over the last couple of days there has been lots of banter about the show. @sazajh said she would ‘travel from other side of world rather than miss an EA Christmas!’ Our sponsors @EnsorsAccounts are helping us keep a look out for the #DialM bus adverts in and around town – please do join in too – and tweet your pics to @easternangles. Meanwhile rumours have been started by @goodchildbyname about Miss M’s fondness for a certain brand of beer. ‘You watch that Miss Murgatroyd!’ she tweeted ‘One sniff of the @Adnams and she’s anybodys!’ ‘Ever since Miss M sojourned in Southwold, there’s a flagon of Broadside in her carpet bag at all times’. I’m now rather worried by the fact we’ve just started stocking @adnams in the bar! Talking of the bar I’ve been muting a ‘taste off’ between the @newwolsey mulled wine and the famous eastern angles punch…..watch this space
The @NewWolsey of course opened their own rock ‘n’ roll panto Sleeping Beauty on the 22nd. In fact the Christmas offering across Ipswich this year is bloody impressive – and anyone who gets to all five shows deserves a medal (or at least a sit down, pipe n slippers moment). Here’s whats on offer this year:-
Because I’m clearly biased we should start with The Eastern Angles alternative panto (celebrating its 25th year no less) ‘Dial M for Murgatroyd’
then there is the afore mentioned Rock n Roll panto Sleeping Beauty at @newwolsey directed this year by @crateoflearning
and of course new kids on the Xmas block – @Red_Rose_Theatre with their adaptation of @Charles_Dickens The Magic Fishbone playing at the magical Christchurch Mansion.
meanwhile BBE (@boyblueent) return to @Dance_East with Legacy the Return fresh from their success at the Olympic Opening Ceremony
and finally there’s another traditional panto over at the Regent – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – featuring ex chief scout Peter Duncan doing his duty to God, to the Queen and to all things panto
Never let it be said that Ipswich is lacking in choice…in the last six months we’ve had Margaret Catchpole, Dr Who, the tour of britain, @spill_festival, and now a stella line up of entertainment to help us celebrate the festive season. Dear old Scrooge would hate us all!!!
As we move towards opening night lots of updates today.
Venue magazine printed a lovely piece describing #DialM as a ‘sideways look at the country house murder mystery…a wacky alternative to the traditional Christmas panto…including quick-fire banter, catchy tunes and hysterical comedy performance from our team of actor musicians’
We’re front page on the @ipswichstar24 Event – the essential 16 page guide to how to spend your weekend. We of course start previews next Wednesday 28 November. Under the headline ‘DEAD GOOD FUN’ and flanked by a rehearsal picture of Julian Harries pocking his head out of a post box (as you do) @whatsonwayne tells his readers about the strange goings-on up at the Fitzall estate. From where I’m sat I can tell you they are very strange!
The piece also appears in todays East Anglian Daily Times under the headline ‘A mysterious beast, murder? Call Miss M’
More buzz – this time courtesy of the BBC Suffolk and drive time presenter Foz
Foz speaks to Deborah Hewitt and Pat Marlowe about Ipswich, age, working with Julian (‘we both bring out the worse in each other’) and drinking in the @theGreyhoundips. They let slip the fact that there are 20 characters played by the five strong cast – Pat plays 8 of them resulting in a number of ridiculously quick changes in the tightest spaces imaginable!!
The buzz on Christmas begins – and we’re not even out of October. Ipswich 24 are first out of the blocks with this preview ‘quick-fire banter, catchy tunes and hysterical comedy performances from the cast’ gets a mention – as of course do the SJM’s famous punch and mince pies.
Heres a little extract of what they have to say:-
‘Taking the mickey out of the British tradition for country house murder mysteries, Dial M for Murgatroyd will feature the impossibly posh Suffolk-based Fitzall family and a huge cast of characters (all played by five energetic actor musicians) including a pompous Major, his batty bohemian wife, Fenton – their spineless son, a domineering daughter and of course the super-shrewd Miss Murgatroyd’
Not to be outdone here is the preview from East Life – celebrating #dialm as the whacky alternative to the traditional panto!
Although I’ve already posted this here, for the buzz record, is Julian talking about Dial M
Which rather goes to show the Eastern Angles Christmas show is rather the epitomy of this Dr Seuss saying – “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” [avid twitter fans will already know the connection between the Dial M creative team and Dr Seuss – others will just have to guess!]
So if you fancy a bit of necessary nonsense click here now!
The Cast arrived on bonfire night – explosive!
DIAL M runs at the Sir John Mills Theatre Ipswich from 28th Nov to 12th January
and at the Seckford Theatre from the 15th January to the 26th January (with tickets for both venues available here or 01473 211498)
It then runs at the Key Theatre Peterborough until 2 February with tickets available here