Monday, 18 June 2012

Jack the Ripper Cast

We now have a cast for our next production of Jack the Ripper:

Marie Kelly - Alice Bridges
Lizzie Stride - Alison Gibbs 

Annie Chapman - Nicole Santlemann
Polly Ann Nichols - Stevie Gibbs
Cathy Eddowes - Gill Davidson 
Liza Pearl - Jo Bigg 
Martha Tabram - Louise Thonger 
Frances Coles - Justine McCreith

Druitt / Toynbee - Barny Shergold 

Chairman - Richard Fraser 
Sergeant - Peter Johnson 
Slop - Mike Costabile 
Lord Overcoat - Frank Banks 
Dan - Paul Kerswill  
Dinky - Kush Depp
Bluenose - Graham Gibbs

Congratulations to everyone who was successful after an evening of excellent auditions all round.


Monday, 4 June 2012

Yeomen at the Proms and G&S in Welwyn

 Grossmith as the original Jack Point

There will be a performance of Yeomen of the Guard on Sunday 19th August as part of the BBC Proms. It's semi-staged and looks like a terrific cast of singers:
Leigh Melrose Lt Sir Richard Cholmondeley
Andrew Kennedy Colonel Fairfax
Lisa Milne Elsie Maynard
Victoria Simmonds Phoebe Meryll
Felicity Palmer Dame Carruthers
Mary Bevan Kate
Mark Richardson Sergeant Meryll
Tom Randle Leonard Meryll
Mark Stone Jack Point
Toby Stafford-Allen Wilfred Shadbolt
BBC Singers
BBC Concert Orchestra
Jane Glover
Martin Duncan stage director
Full booking details are on the BBC Proms website.

There is also some local G&S coming soon to Welwyn:

This looks like a fun event for G&S fans. The World of Gilbert and Sullivan is on Saturday 23rd June, at St Mary's Church in Welwyn. This is a fundraiser for the Acorn Playgroup and Preschool and a chance to hear the Wandering Minstrels. If you haven't come across them before, there is more information here on their website.

'The Wandering Minstrels' is an highly accomplished group of six singers and a pianist who specialize in staging songs and scenes from the immortal Gilbert and Sullivan operas. Their concerts of Savoy classics, presented in period costume and performed in traditional style, are events to remember.'

Friday, 1 June 2012

Patience Review

Our thanks go to our Noda rep, Nova Horley, for this wonderful Review of our May Production of Patience. Well done everyone!

'A thoroughly entertaining production, the humour was to the fore, aided in no small amount by the adoption by Paula Fraser of a broad Brummie accent!

The story as always with G&S is slightly tenuous, but there were some lovely OTT character studies, and the ladies chorus singing beautifully, whilst the men’s chorus were strong and authoritative as befits the Dragoon Guards.

The set was nicely thought-out, very solid and well-used by the cast. There were no surprises with the lighting which was suitable for the show and sound was good.

Margaret Johnson had created exactly the right sound from her small band – they accompanied well, and the balance between singers and band was good, but they came to life in the overture which was lively, and extremely musical in quality.  I just feel it is a shame that the band had to be in the middle of the stage, with the MD encroaching on stage space – I wonder if there would be room to place the band slightly to the side, with the MD at the far side facing the middle, which would give an almost uninterrupted view of the stage – as with cast sitting, lying, kneeling on the stage the audience sometimes miss some of the action.

The placing of the ladies for the first number was a little suspect, we had ladies on the floor and on seats who were totally obscured by other ladies, the stage isn’t big, but there was plenty of room to place everyone so that they could all be seen.

Mostly the costumes were good, they looked fresh and the Dragoons all looked very smart.   I loved Bunthorne’s gold outfit and Grosvenor’s green number! The only two costumes that were slightly out of kilter were the Major’s grey velvet suit, which showed a large expanse of bare flesh, which could have been solved by wearing a white T-shirt tucked into his trousers under the white shirt, and the young Bunthorne’s green trousers were definitely in need of pulling up with a pair of braces, and his white socks/stockings were seriously creased – which spoiled the look of the ballet, as the young Patience’s costume was so pristine and charming.

Paula Fraser was a very funny and lively Patience, injecting the optimum fun into her musical numbers and lib.

Tim Sell again created a lovely OTT Bunthorne, the lusted after poet – his facial expressions were very good and added much to the performance.  He also moved well, and kept the bounciness of his character going throughout.

Richard Fraser as Grosvenor created a very saucy character, making use of his eyes to convey so much, a very telling portrayal.

The three officers of the Dragoons, Richard Dean as the Major, Graham Gibb as the Duke of Dunstable and Peter Davis as the Colonel, complemented each other well; although I heard some pitching problems at times.

Sue Wookey was a super Lady Jane – Sue always gives us a good portrayal, and this part suited her voice well, and gave her scope to be amusing as well; another person with a very expressive face.

I liked the three ladies, Angela, Ella and Saphir, played by Margaret Snape, Eve Rapley and Alice Bridges – they gave contrasting portrayals, and their voices blended well. Again they really brought out the humour.  I also liked the number with Patience and Angela, their voices sat well together, and were musically secure.

In the main the ladies wigs were excellent – I particularly liked those of Patience and Jane.

The ballet was nicely choreographed, and created a new dimension whilst not detracting from the song.  It was imaginative, and nicely danced, with one small comment to the dancers, look out for sickled feet in the lifts and jumps, however the arabesques were good from both dancers, and the lifts accomplished well.

I was pleased to see a full house, which is very unusual for these days, and everyone appeared to enjoy what was a fun and uplifting production, Alison Gibbs had done well, and injected her cast with enthusiasm which projected to the audience.

Thanks to PBGS for the hospitality and another good evening’s entertainment.'

Congratulations to everyone involved with our PBGS production of Patience, especially our Producer, Alison Gibbs and our MD, Margaret Johnson. A lovely end to on all that hard work (although it never felt like anything but fun!).


All photos © XMO4 PHOTOS