Medstead Players - 'Old Time Music Hall' - November 2017
Compiled and Directed by Jenny Overy
The Village Hall, transformed into traditional theatre with period posters adorning its walls, filled almost to capacity on a cold November night with an audience in anticipation of a fun-filled evening taking us back to the 'good old days'. They were not disappointed. The show produced an evening of delectable delights full of surprises introduced by the masterful Master of Ceremonies, Peter Cox, never lost for remarkable adjectives.
We were encouraged to join in all the songs, most of which we could remember without much reference to the programme, exorbitantly priced at 6d, which shows your reviewers' ages! In between we were treated to monologues, mime and dance. Outstanding here were Ruth Morales with her 'Recumbent Posture', Keri Pullen's two-part story of 'Albert & the Lion' and Stan Whitcher's story of the Canal Barge. The 'Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter' involved six of the company in a dastardly act in a remote lighthouse had the whole audience quite out of breath with their realistic mime - up and down the lighthouse stairs. Julie Brown's cheeky dance of the Snake Charmer took everybody by surprise, as did her second half performance of 'Dance of the Seven Veils'.
Modern technology also played its part in the form of projected backdrops which provided realistic flavours of a bygone era.
We were treated to a feast of musical meanderings, delivered with the support of pianist Helena Hunt, ranging from Jean Penny's 'I want to sing in opera' to 'She was poor but she was honest' and 'Nobody loves a Fairy when she's forty', both performed by Brian Arrowsmith! It was good to see some younger participants and the gentlemen in the audience equipped with white handkerchiefs, waved them enthusiastically hoping to be Katherine Armitage's 'Boy I love is up in the gallery'. Plenty more songs kept the show rattling along, with so many of the old standards too numerous to mention. The remarkable ladies of Medstead looked very fine in their beautiful dresses of the period and the whole show ably directed by Jenny Overy and her team was a very enjoyable experience which must have brought back memories for many.
Let's hope that the Medstead Players continue to put on more performances like this and that the Village supports them in their efforts.
[Pauline & Dennis Church]
The 2017 Old Time Music Hall was generally considered by the audiences and everyone involved as outstanding. It was full of traditional songs, dances, monologues and sketches, with plenty of opportunity for audience participation. All the songs were accompanied by Helena Hunt's beautiful piano playing. The fourteen strong cast included many of our 'regulars', plus some new members and a small but enthusiastic group of youngsters. This show especially stretched the cast musically and the backstage team, through providing twenty five different backdrops and over fifty changes of costume. To complement the on stage action, the auditorium was decorated in Victorian style, with lace draped around the proscenium arch, some authentic posters and a lovely period chandelier hanging overhead.
Watch highlights from the show.
Master of Ceremonies: Peter Cox
Pianoforte: Helena Hunt
Anita Prior, Brian Arrowsmith, Carol Bedingfield, Clive Winchester, Heather Armitage, Jasmine Fuller, Jean Penny, Julie Brown, Katherine Armitage, Keri Pullen, Marion Rogers, Ruth Morales, Stan Whitcher and William Rouse
MC's welcome & 'It's a long way to Tipperary' (Peter)
'My baby has gorn down the plugole' (Marion, Heather & Anita)
'Oh what a beauty' (Clive)
Monologue - 'The Recumbent Posture' (Ruth)
Dance - 'The Snake Charmer' (Julie)
'The boy I love is up in the gallery' (Katherine)
Monologue - 'Albert and the Lion' (Keri)
'My old Dutch' (Stan)
'I want to sing in opera' (Jean)
Mime act - 'The lighthouse keeper's daughter' (Peter, Clive, Heather, Katherine, Ruth & William)
'When I take my morning promenade' (Anita)
Monologue - 'The biggest aspidistra in the world' (Carol)
'She was poor but she was honest' (Brian)
Nautical song medley: 'Beside the seaside', 'Hello hello who's your lady friend' and 'Ship Ahoy' (Ladies choir)
'Waiting at the church' (Anita, Carol, Heather, Marion & William)
'Where did you get that hat' (Stan)
Monologue - 'While the Going's Good' (Carol)
'Dance of the Seven Veils' (Julie)
Song medley: 'Daddy wouldn't buy me a bow wow', 'Consider yourself', 'She'll be coming round the mountain', 'My Grandfather's Clock' and 'Dry Bones' (Jasmine, Katherine & Ruth)
Monologue - 'The return of Albert' (Keri)
'Oh Mr Porter' (Marion, Heather & Jean)
Tongue Twister monologue (William)
'Nobody Loves a Fairy when she's Forty' (Brian)
Monologue - 'The day we saved the barge' (Stan)
Finale song medley (whole cast)