24-26 November 2014
Reviewed by Lucy Lowndes
We arrived in Buxton at around 6.30pm giving us plenty of time to park up and collect our tickets before the production of The Holly and the Ivy started at 7.30pm.
The opera house is very easy to find from the main road and well sign posted. We managed to park outside the park which is only a minute’s walk to the opera house doors. Parking was free as we had arrived after 6pm. If you arrive before then you will have to buy a pay and display ticket.
We entered the opera house and went up to the ticket desk, the lady behind the counter was very friendly and sorted out our tickets straight away.
As we had arrived quite early we decided to go and get a quick bite to eat.
When we arrived back at the theatre, it was about 7.10pm and more people had started to arrive. We went to locate our seats. We were sat in the dress circles on row G, seats 27 and 28.
The opera house is a magnificent building with a wonderful décor. The view of the stage was perfect from where we were sitting. As we still had a bit of time before the production started we went up the stairs to the bar. We purchased a bag of sweets to share during the performance. These cost a very reasonable £1.50.
After taking our places again, the play began. The scene before us was amazing… The whole stage was set up like a 1940’s vicarage, including fireplace, sofa, chairs, rugs, ornaments, old photographs, finished off with Christmas decorations. At the back of the stage was a very large, floor to ceiling window with a snowy church scene behind it.
As the play begins, Jenny the vicar’s daughter (Rachel Waters) is talking to her secret boyfriend David (Tom Roberts) whilst decorating the vicarage in preparation for the arrival of her family – Aunt Bridget (Sally Sanders) a working class Irish woman, Aunt Lydia a middle class widow, Mick (Dean Smith) the vicar’s son and Jenny’s brother who is on leave from the army for Christmas, Margaret (Sally Day) the vicar’s eldest daughter and cousin Richard (Alan Leith).
Once everyone arrives secrets from Jenny, Margaret and Mick are all revealed, making the vicar (Stuart McGugan) ask if he has failed his family as well as his parish, and making Aunt Bridget very upset!
There were two short intervals during the production, each one lasting approximately ten minutes. During the first interval we went to pick up a programme which cost a very reasonable £3 and also an ice cream! (It has to be done!!).
From the moment the play began I was en-captured by it all. The actors were brilliant and all played their parts very well. The two aunts and Mick were hilarious.
In summary this is a wonderful, festive play, which makes you feel all warm in side. I would certainly go back and watch it again.
I give the Buxton Opera House and The Holly And The Ivy production a 5/5.
Tickets cost from £18 to £20 (plus £1 online booking fee).
The Holly and the Ivy is at the Buxton Opera House until 26 November 2014. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0845 127 2190.
Buxton Opera House, Water Street, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 6XN | 0845 127 2190