NODA REPORT FOR WITCHFINDER 9-14 APRIL 2018 

The simplicity of the staging and the use of imaginative lighting set the scene for this story of when, in 1612, witchcraft was suspected in the Lancashire village of Pendle.  These were frightening times and suspicion and hysteria quickly grew.  We were taken from Pendle to the royal court, where decisions were made to root out this supposed witchcraft, and to various other locations.  Each place had its own designated lighting.   Usually, scene changes are best if they are swift and do not slow the flow of the story,  but this called for a different approach.  At each scene change there was a pause with a darkened stage, giving time to reflect and absorb the magnitude of the events of those dreadful times.  Depth and interest were added to the visual effect by the clever use of different levels provided by the steps at the front, and the raised platform at stage left.

This is a dark story and the director had ensured that this strong cast was able to identify with the people of those times.  There was a great deal of honesty and emotion in the portrayal of the characters.   Some actors had a greater input than others but all contributed superbly, there were no weak links.

 CODS is blessed with some lovely voices which enhanced the exciting score. The songs were beautifully sung and the choral singing was exceptional. Choral singing is a part of this society's regime and that training was apparent in the clean way each musical phrase ended.   The band was excellent and the sound balance was right.  The lighting was clever and exciting.    Costumes appeared to be historically accurate and were attractive.  It was nice to see an apparent absence of makeup for the folk of Pendle.

It is noticeable that where good diction is the norm for a society they tend to have full, or almost full, houses.  Audiences do not always know a show and, even if they do, they like to hear the words both spoken and sung.  Many in the audience did not know Witchfinder but thanks to the first class script, excellent direction, and, very importantly clear diction, they were able to follow and appreciate the story.  Although Witchfinder is not yet a well known musical there were full houses for the week and on the evening I was there the audience stood in respect and appreciation at the end of the performance.

CODS is to be congratulated on a superb production, the success of which is in a great part due to the very talented director and the musical director.

Witchfinder left me with a buzz which, at the time of writing, is still with me. 

Joyce Pomeroy 

 

Comments from our audiences .....

Well done to everybody involved with Witchfinder. A polished professional performance on all levels, very moving & brilliant singing. Best of luck for the rest of the week! & looks like another award?
Carol and Bill Rimmer

A standing ovation well deserved for CODS production of Witchfinder!! Fantastic score and every member putting in so much effort to this show. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it moving and also funny! So so very proud of Stephanie starring as Sarah Owen! The music was fab too and great to hear Frazer playing. Mum even won the hamper in the raffle! What a great night out.  Congratulations Emily. You've excelled again!
Alyson Peta Johnson

Huge congratulations to all the cast, crew and orchestra, for CODS marvellous show last night!! Brilliant acting and singing. Sensitive musical directions. Superb costumes. Really became absorbed into the retelling of a true historic event. Well done, everyone.
Maggie Chave

Wow wow wow! Another incredible show (Witchfinder) from these amazingly talented people. The singing, the acting, everything was just AMAZING. Promised myself I wouldn’t cry but failed epically come the end. Well done everyone involved, you should be so so proud of yourselves. Roll on the next one! 
Chelle Weeks

Brilliant show. Really well cast - powerful performances by all and a real treat. Well done to everybody involved both on and off stage. Fab fab show. Well done CODS for taking the risk and doing an unknown show. Also for turning a school hall into a studio theatre. I have total respect for you.
Julia Green

Fantastic performance tonight, well done to all cast and crew. Could of easily of been on stage in a major city. Loved seeing Tasha Currie on stage as leading lady, well done you superstar. Highly recommended!! 
Victoria Hatfield

Witchfinder. Fantastic,amazing,moving,there are not enough words to describe CODS production. Everyone of you deserve the praise. Fantastic job Dean Emily Morgan.
Pam Swan

Watching the Witchfinder, and what a magnificent, and very very moving musical, we enjoyed every minute. Last year I said “How do you top Made in Dagenham?” You just did with Witchfinder, by raising your performance to another level of excellence. Please keep up the great work. 
Dave Cooper

I'm so glad I came. The show was fantastic. Great acting, a great set and some awe inspiring vocal performances. The band, sound and lights were as slick as the onstage work. BRILLIANT. I don't know what I did to deserve the best seat in the house, but thank you. I loved it. 
Rick Rugg.

 

I would just like to say how much we enjoyed your performance last night. It’s the first time we’ve managed to see one of your shows and it was absolutely brilliant. So professional and we really felt completely drawn into the story. Congratulations to everybody concerned, Looking forward to our next choir practice 
Hilary Pook

Mr. Potts - my thanks to you and CODS for a brilliant production. I hope that, over time, you'll learn to live with your part in the story. I accept that you are a decent, good person and probably kind to animals; you were just crushed by the creeping steam-roller [yes - the early 1612 model] of corruption. I'm just sorry that Mr. Wickham couldn't, apparently, sell you a decent pint of Guinness - but maybe the wine was on special offer ! - it was certainly effective.
Hugh Vincent

Just wanted to say how much Christina and I enjoyed the show last night we thought it was fantastic, great singing, acting, costumes and settings. A terrific evening out thank you.
Nick Findell

Wow!  What a performance!  I didn't expect anything like that - I was mesmerised. Very well done to everyone involved.
Pat Rich

WOW. What performance that was. So professional. And powerful. Please pass our praise on to all the cast. Every one of them totally in the zone every minute. I was very well impressed. Loved every bit. Reduced me to tears.
Sue  Latham

Sheer brilliance.
Graham Liverton - NODA South West Councillor

To everyone at CODS:  Thank you so very much for a fabulous evening.  Witchfinder has such poweful music and is written with so much feeling.  As they say you did it proud !  I loved the setting, the emotion and the wonderful singing.  Brilliantly done, you deserve the full houses you are having, and the standing ovation.  Thank you also for the great CODS hospitality, the lovely warm welcome you gave David and myself.  It was great to meet the author and also to catch up with  David Waters. I will send on my report as as soon as it is prepared, in the meantime I send you  my very best wishes for the last few performances. I look forward to seeing you again in the autumn.
Kind Regards  Joyce Pomeroy

NODA Regional Rep, District 5

CODS would like to record their sincere thanks to our sponsors for Witchfinder. Staging our Musicals costs a great deal of money and our expenses rise every year. There is inevitably a big difference between revenue from ticket sales and the final show budget. Our sponsors are a great help in narrowing this gap, and we are very grateful to them and to our programme advertisers for their continuing support.

THIS YEAR OUR SPONSORS WERE ...  Hedgerow Print:  Crediton Dairy : Veitch Penny Solicitors: Gilbert Stephens Solicitors: Todd Lettings: The Bike Shed & Ashgrove Kitchens.