THREE CHAIRS & A HAT

 
Don’t get me wrong, I love West End glitz as much as anyone. My infatuation with musical theatre started in earnest at the age of 12, watching Fred & Ginger movies and Busby Berkeley extravaganzas on the TV. A good, old-fashioned, no-expense-spared show can still make my heart beat faster. But when it comes to staging my own work, my passion is for creating stories and situations using only the bare minimum of set, props and costumes, along with maximum imagination.
Just as well, too: my budget doesn’t stretch to anything more. So Three Chairs and a Hat seems a fitting way to describe the small-scale musicals I’ve written and staged, with the help of a massively talented group of performers and backstage magicians.
 
The Three Chairs and a Hat team have so far staged Verity, Daddy’s Girls, and my verse play built around the music of Kurt Weill, Smoke & Mirrors, and in 2019 we introduced MELODY, a one-act musical with a cast of two creating a world of characters. Melody Smart is a cheerful hotel receptionist who wins a singing lesson in the staff raffle—and finds her carefully constructed life unravelling to reveal secrets, passions, and more than a few buttered digestives. MELODY has played in Oxford, Abingdon and Ross-on-Wye.
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AUDIENCE FEEDBACK: 

‘Brilliantly written and superbly executed’
‘Moving, funny, fascinating, absorbing’
‘Flawlessly performed’
‘Poignant, funny, painful, uplifting and deeply human’
‘Amazing story-telling’
‘Utterly engrossing’

PRESS FEEDBACK:

‘A really compelling piece of theatre’
‘Nia Williams is a gifted and imaginative storyteller’
‘Poignant, thought-provoking and utterly engrossing’
‘Amazing storytelling, clever lyrics and music’
‘Moving, funny, fascinating, absorbing’ 
‘Well written, well directed, well acted—loved it’ . —Nicola Lisle, Oxfordshire Classical Music.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s uncertain whether the Edinburgh Fringe 2021 will go ahead. If it does, MELODY will be there, at the Space on the Mile (Space 3) from 8 to 12 August. 

And in the meantime … 

Online@theSpaceUK has hosted two virtual fringe festivals for Edinburgh Fringe performers. The summer 2020 festival featured four contributions from Three Chairs and a Hat, and two are running as part of the winter season until the end of January. Click the titles to see our videos:

HAGS — two songs from forthcoming musical Lady M, with cartoon animation

THREE STAGES — an exploration of loss, love and friendship in verse and song; featuring Matthew Allison
Reviews:
‘Poetic, musical meditations on the experiences of loss and ageing, they are meditative and honest.’—Donna Kaye Speaks
‘Evocative, reflecting the confusion and sense of life’s fragility … a gentle sense of rueful regret and puzzlement … very moving’—British Theatre Guide

HAUNTED—a dramatised version of my short story about isolation and obsession. Do you believe in ghosts?
Awarded an Honorable Mention for Best Mobile Short, Independent Shorts Awards, Los Angeles 2021; semi-finalist, Indie Short Fest April 2021
Reviews:
‘A strong script and imaginative use of technology make “Haunted” compelling viewing—British Theatre Guide
‘Nia Williams deploys a poetic knack for helping the audience visualise the frantic, whirling colours of her character’s fixations’—Broadway Baby
‘Lyrical in spades … Williams’ presence alone is enough to ensnare viewers’—The Wee Review

THE SINGING LESSON—Guy Brigg and Marilyn Moore as Evangeline Gibson and Melody Smart in an extract from Melody. Can one Zoom singing lesson help Melody rediscover her voice? Directed by Wayne T Brown.

LADY M—Susanne Hodgson is the life coach you ignore at your peril: a 21st-century Lady Macbeth, issuing online advice and confessions. Directed by Alice Evans.
Review:
‘This is a snippet of a future show … and if this trailer is anything to go by … then Lady M certainly promises to deliver’—Broadway Baby

PAMELA DRYSDALE’S LOCKDOWN—Three Chairs performer Jane Hainsworth demonstrates her writing talents for writing in this one-woman comedy of errors about the unintended consequences of Lockdown on a naughty weekend away.
Review:
‘The quirky approach makes going for a walk on the wild side with Pamela worthwhile’—British Theatre Guide

VERITY is a 90-minute musical about one woman’s ordinary disasters. After playing to full houses in Oxford in 2014 and again in 2018, Verity made her debut at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019, where audience feedback was wonderful and we were rewarded with a four-star review from The Mumble! 

Here are some quotes from that review:
‘…a  veritable modern masterpiece’ … ‘an extremely talented bunch’ … ‘Nia’s piano playing … pretty much perfect’ … ‘she rhymes like a rapper’… ‘A fabulous piece on so many levels’
And here are some audience reactions:
‘I loved it! Such great performances from everyone, and fab music.’
‘I really enjoyed the story, the fantastic singing and the slick presentation – very humorous, with some comical dance moves …’
‘A brilliant show—really enjoyed it’
‘It was absolutely bloody brilliant!’

To hear some songs from the show click here — or see video clips of the live performance on the Three Chairs and a Hat Youtube channel.

Scores and scripts of DADDY’S GIRLS, VERITY and MELODY are available for hire. If your group or society would like to stage one of these shows, go to the Contacts page and drop me a line for more information.

For more details about Three Chairs and a Hat you can:
– our Facebook page and give us a Like
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– take a look at our YouTube channel
– sign up for our occasional emails about current shows, forthcoming shows and shows that are as yet just a twinkle in the eye …