Monday, 9 May 2016

Merry Widow Cast

We now have a cast for our October 2016 production of The Merry Widow!

The trouble with auditions at PBGS is the high level of excellence which makes the job of the panel a difficult one. It's a tough but welcome challenge to face!

As usual the auditions brought out the best in our performers and we're very grateful for all of you who attended and came to support.

The cast for PBGS Merry Widow 2016 is as follows:

Male Roles
Camille de Rosillon - Joe Emler
Baron Mirko Zeta - David Crew
Count Danilo Danilovitch - Stephen Hoath
Raoul de St. Brioche - Roy Bride
Njegus - Barny Shergold

Female Roles
Valencienne - Elizabeth Bottone
Anna Glawari - Bryony Reynolds
Praskowia - Sue Wookey
Grisettes - Victoria Rehm, Katherine Crew, Emma Crew, Nicole Santelmann, Rhiannon Gibbs, Stevie Gibbs

There are a number of character roles which are still to be announced.

Our thanks once again for all the performers for delivering such high quality auditions and making our job very hard indeed!

Friday, 6 May 2016

Merry Widow Auditions


Audition Information

It's almost time for auditions! You've all done very well at rehearsals and we hope most if not all of you will try out for a part. The auditions will be held between 3pm and 6pm on Sunday the 8th of May at:

Shillington Village Hall,
High Road,

We begin at 3pm promptly so please be there by 2.50pm so as not to disturb those auditioning. We hold open auditions which means anyone can turn up, fill in a form, pay their fee and audition. We encourage this so spread the message around if you think there's someone who should try out.

Auditioning is a fraught process for everyone 'up there' regardless of how many times we've all done it so please support the brave souls before you!
The Panel
Richard Syms - Director
Jane Stott - Musical Director
Paul Kerswill - In support of the Director
Khushil Dep - Committee representitive
T.B.D - In support of the Musical Director

What you will need
  • If you haven't already done so, please bring the audition form to hand into Khushil Dep.
  • Make sure you've put the dates during the rehearsal period you won't be available on that form.
  • If you aren't a member you'll also need to pay your £20 audition fee.
  • Your best foot forward!

How it will work

  • The order of auditions is decided on the day when we know the full list of people auditioning. If you need to leave by a certain time on that day please let Khushil Dep know and we will make adjustments where required.
  • You maybe called back to perform with various groups as the audition panel sees fit in order to determine you fit within a particular group.
  • While there is no official libretto audition you maybe asked to throw a few lines around from the lib.
  • You are allowed the use of your scores during your audition.
  • After all auditions are completed the panel will deliberate in private to create the official cast list. Those who have been selected for a part will be contacted directly and offered the role
  • Once all those offered the parts have accepted, a cast list will be circulated by e-mail as well as posted in the Membership group on Facebook and on our website.
  • There is no official feedback mechanism but feel free to politely enquire for feedback from either the Director or Musical Director at the next rehearsal you attend.


  • Please remember to turn off your mobile phones or put them into silent mode.
  • Please don't enter or leave the audition room during an audition as it's very distracting.
  • The hall is NON SMOKING which also means NO VAPING within the building please.

Break a leg everyone!


Review of Princess Ida

As you know, we regularly have our performances critiqued by Nova Horley our local NODA rep. We now have the Princess Ida crit and it's very complementary. If you'd like to know more about Nova and what she does in her capacity as our NODA rep, you can visit her website
PUTTERIDGE BURY G&S SOCIETY “PRINCESS IDA” 7th April 2016 Director/Choreographer: Alison Gibbs Overture Choreography: Gordon Hodges MD: Margaret Johnson

I really enjoyed this production, the overture was put to good use with a nicely thought out and executed ballet choreographed by Gordon Hodges, which got us into the mood of the production. 

Alison Gibbs brought out so much humour, it put the production on another level for me, and I chuckled my way through, with the many topical references and different characterisations.

Being in 3 Acts made it quite a long evening, and it would have been nice to have had a note in the programme as to how long each interval would be – then the audience could have decided which one they wanted to avail themselves of, as there was some confusion to start with, and I think that made the interval unnecessarily long. 

Costumes were very colourful and looked good – a small note for the men – their first costumes would have benefitted from them wearing the tights they wore with their second costumes, as short black socks did not look good! I liked the ladies wigs and hairstyles with their first costumes, and the headdresses with their second, creating a very different look – which helped the plot along. I was a little perplexed by Princess Ida’s dress, it seemed very plain and not in keeping with the style of the other ladies dresses, and just struck a rather incongruous note, it looked much better with the green tabard in Act 3. 

The backdrops were almost fantasy-land in look, but were very pretty and I particularly liked the single blue lighting used in Act 2 Finale, and for Princess Ida’s song in Act 3 which changed the colouring of the backdrop completely, along with Ida being in a spotlight, creating a very good atmosphere, as did the pink lighting in the opening of Act 3. Lighting generally from Alan Bailes was nicely conceived and enhanced the production look and feel. I liked the lighting for the fight too. 

Sound is never a problem at the QM – as no visible mics are used, and the band is heard as is, with no additional amplification that I could see. 

Margaret Johnson had worked well with the cast to get some nice harmonies, and different expressions into the music, which helped make it seem fresh and interesting. 

Paula Fraser again showed her accomplishment and understanding of G&S with her portrayal of Princess Ida – good relationships with the other cast members, and moments of tenderness with Hilarion, which contrasted well with her rather warlike tendencies otherwise. 

I loved Hilarion as played by Gordon Hodges, I am aware that he was working under some difficulty, but it didn’t show, and he couldn’t have done more to bring this character to life. The slightly camp and balletic interpretation worked well with Florian and Cyril, making them a nicely diverse trio. I thought Gordon also showed his very good singing voice off extremely well, with expressive elements and good phrasing. 

Florian was the more mature and robust member of the trio, played very well by Stephen Hoath, trying to curb the eagerness of Hilarion and Cyril – I enjoyed his interpretation and singing.

Joe Emler was a super enthusiastic Cyril, such energy, which added so much to what could have been a rather insignificant character – a good all round portrayal, delivered with gusto. 

David Crew played King Hildebrand, bringing his usual gravitas and understanding to the role. Beautifully sung, and well-acted. I liked the movement in his first number with the chorus.

Paul Kerswill gave King Gama an almost Shakespearean Richard III look – and a very mean character – which sat well against Hildebrand’s very upright stance – again creating good diversity. I loved the trio of soldiers, played by Ian Boughton, Barny Shergold and Peter Johnson – it must have been such fun (although a little restricting in the suits of armour) to have played the parts, and their first song was particularly funny. Their chains needed sorting so that they actually looked is if they were being restrained, but otherwise it all worked well. 

Jo Bigg created a lovely Lady Psyche, soft and interesting, whilst Margaret Snape was the strict and conniving Lady Blanche – I loved the way she manipulated her cloak so that she exited with a flourish after her Act 2 number, the tin hat with the a sparkling ornament also created a good look! 

Lovely to see Emma and Katherine Crew on stage with their father, and creating two charming but different characters in Melissa and Chloe. I liked Katharine’s very warlike facial expressions, and Emma’s delightful smile. 

Nicole Santelmann maintained a good accent as Sacharissa, whilst Ketina Orriss was an appealing Ada. 

The ensemble including the dancers, were very well rehearsed, and their faces showed their enjoyment, which isn’t always evident in G&S, with Alison Gibbs creating simple but effective choreography for the cast. 

Overall a very enjoyable evening – a good production with loads of humour and interest. My thanks to PBGS for their hospitality, always good to catch up with society members.
© Nova Horley