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July 2008 Articles:

Putting on the Style in Paphos
The ballroom at the recently refurbished Annabelle Hotel was the setting for the classiest event this summer, The Friends' Hospice English Afternoon Tea Dance. This event was probably a first for Paphos and certainly a first for the Annabelle.

A sumptuous tea, which included all those old tea-time favourites of asparagus rolls, crustless sandwiches of egg, cucumber or smoked salmon, fruity scones with strawberry jam and cream as well as a selection of pastries and cakes, was elegantly arranged on tiered stands. Waiters were kept busy rushing more hot water to accompany the choice of teas as the level of chat caused thirsty tongues.

The Paul Woodhall duo (keyboard and drums) hit just the right note with their gentle music which was perfectly pitched for the kind of dancing where men and women hold each other and sway seductively in time to the music. How long is it since we have seen this attractive sight? Applause greeted each set in admiration of the whirls and swirls of the dancing couples. All the women looked magnificent, and the men had made gallant efforts to complement their wives, some even wearing ties!

No raffle was held as it was thought too intrusive in such a relaxed atmosphere to pester for money, even for such a worthy cause as the Friendís Hospice. Instead one of the therapists from the Friends' Hospice gave Readings from the Heart in private consultations She had a steady stream of eager truth seekers.

Well over EUR1000 was raised for the only working Hospice in Paphos. The Hospice thanks sponsors Atlas International. Fairways Motors and the Evangelismos Hospital for their support of the only Hospice caring for those in last stage malignant disease or other life limiting illness.


June 2008 Articles:  

Spotlight on The Odd Couple at Stage One in Emba

By Ann Non (Nee Muse)

Shhhh! Come closer, I have to whisper. I'm going to tell you, my dear, lovely new friend all about Stage One Theatre Group's latest success "The Odd Couple (female version)". Saw it Thursday and it was hilarious. Did I mention I'm reviewing my friends? I've been spying on them for months just to bring you - yes, you this secret report. I might be looking for new friends, after this, eh?

The trouble with the plays at Stage One is this: you know that it's all volunteers, but at some point, they get you to think they're a professional company. We must be reminded we are seeing real people do their best to improve. That's more entertaining than a slick production handing you a packaged product, isn't it?

"The Odd Couple" was first a play then became a popular, very long-running American TV show. In "The Odd Couple (female version)" Neil Simon revisits familiar faces and places. The first act lets the audience gasp delightedly as Oscar, now Olive, and Felix, now Florence - tell a familiar tale. Director Caroline Harman Smith couldn't rely on the guffaws that come from recognizing the characters and current pop culture references, mind you, from the US and from the 1980's, could she? This one had to tell a good story and stick with it.

Lights up revealed a New York apartment so disordered you'd think thieves had just vacated. A lady in front of me whispered, "They've copied my decor!" The action takes place in Olive's apartment and she's an absolute slob. Four women are playing Trivial Pursuit in this pigsty. The connection between Sylvie, acted by Gail Stokes and Renee, by Sue Crawshaw immediately drew us in for a closer look. Each maintained a sparkling physicality throughout the evening and they wisecracked just like New Yorker's do. Vera, played by Dawn Charman hooked us into caring about these new people. Vera is not very bright, you see and when bullied, Dawn goes all turtle, pulling herself into a reflective shell as if sorting out what that last insult meant. Chrissie Jackson rounds out the ensemble as sensible Mickey, a cop who's a bit of a coward. Chrissie uses her eyes to great effect in reaction; two giant blue moons rise to meet the audience when she's alarmed. She also herds these kittens with the unflappable calm of a crossing guard.

Liz Pearce plays slovenly Olive, in her debut with Stage One. Clearly she's done this before and can be trusted. Great at timing and all other physicality but the smile leftover from her musical experience slipped in, so she wasn't a grouch although she certainly was sloppy. We meet Olive's opposite, Florence halfway through the first act. Now  - between us - I once feared that Janet West was determined to keep her lantern under a barrel. Guess what, darlings? She's set fire to that barrel! Jan constructs obsessive, compulsive clean freak, hypochondriac Florence the way you'd have liked your house built, solidly, with no shortcuts. She's so wonderfully irritating as Florence, the audience ground themselves shorter teeth.

Along came two furry Spanish gents. Behind caveman toupees and beards dwelt 'The Gazpacho Brothers', Peter Sandwith and Ian Morson. Ian crafted his character, Jesus (pronounced Hey-Zeus) with a balance of broad slapstick and realistic nuances. His brother Manolo, played by Peter, also proved more than a sight gag in a fabulously too big wig! Rather than chew the scenery, Peter cements connections between himself and first his brother, then later, Florence. This furthers the relationships Caroline wisely forged all along.

Ann Non


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