Book By Ron Cowan & Daniel Lipman

Lyrics By Anthony Drewe

Music By George Stiles

 

For those outside of musical theatre circles, this is a show people may not have heard of but they may remember the film on which it was based, A Private Function. We were due to tour this to Abergavenny and Penarth but due to the outbreak of Coronavirus and subsequent lockdown, our second week in Penarth had to be cancelled. As you would expect, this was a great disappointment to our cast and audiences alike but was the right thing to do. Luckily we had got to perform the week in Abergavenny whose audience gave us a great reaction, including a standing ovation, which showed what a great little show this is.

The story centres around Gilbert, a chiropodist, new to town with his socially ambitious wife Joyce. these wonderfully funny characters were played with the just the right amount of humour and pathos. Paul Buckle bravely sang his moving Act 2 song "What Kind Of Man Am I?" in his underpants by which time the audience was firmly on his side, rooting for the unsung hero (no pun intended). Cat Bailie as Joyce portrayed a headstrong character, striving for a better life who stunned the audience every night with her gutsy, bravura performance in the show-stopping number "Nobody". This formidable couple were joined by the greedy Mother Dear, played by Helen Windsor who had the audiences cackling in appreciation of her antics.  A mention too for Bethan Scholes, who as the spoilt brat Veronica, is a star in the making we are sure.

This show is such an ensemble piece and it really should be done more by the amateur circuit as everyone had great lines, songs and characters to play. The baddies were led by Richard Thomas as Dr Swaby, ably assisted by Steve Hopkins as Lockwood the solicitor and Gareth Tilley as the loveable but hapless accountant Allerdyce. Allerdyce's love for a pig, whom he names after Princess Elizabeth, knows no bounds as the finale revelations make clear. This trio is joined by meat inspector Wormold which was given life by Kristian Zgorselski in an over-the-top melodramatic, and somewhat camp fashion, that was just right for the part. Yet another show stopping number was his Painting by Heart song.

Direction was by Ruairidh, who again created a simple but effective set and wrung all the laughs out from the written page. Chris Fossey wonderfully wielded the MD's baton ensuring that notes and accents were pitch perfect. The cast were drilled into choreography perfection by Richard Thomas, who surpassed himself with the dance numbers, bringing joy and pace to each of them as well as an amount of hard-earned sweat. All the cast rose to the challenge and danced their socks off.

And let's not forget the star of the show, Betty, who was a patchwork picture, all pretty and pink. Paul's design and constructions skills with the help of Helen and others, ensured that there were "Oos" and "Ahhs" every night when she made here appearance. The show was topped off with excellent backstage work. Sound management was expertly under the guidance of Laura and, a new comer to us, Fred, and lighting by Ruairidh and costumes led again by the "Producer with the most-est", Paul . We are not sure how he fits everything in to his schedule.

We pride ourselves on our talent, vigour, and company ethos and this show just went to show that we have it in spades. And what more do you want from a show - humour, love, royalty and a pig - this has it all!

 

 

The show was full of showstopping numbers, most notably "Nobody"

Kristian as the meat inspector Wormold was suitably camp and creepy

Helen played Mother Dear to batty perfection

A true emsemble piece

Wormold was not kind to the butchers of Shepherdsford

"Another Litte Victory!"

Meanwhile down at the Primrose Ballroom...