A musical that brought the well-known cartoon figure to life. Combined with Alan Price’s music, this production was both hilarious and entertaining.
This production was entered into the Gloucestershire Drama Association’s Full Length Play Competition.
Full GDA adjudication:
GENERAL PRESENTATION AND PRODUCTION
To spend the evening with a beer-swilling, wife-battering bore was not something I looked forward to! I did not know the play/musical so I had only the script to give me some idea of the content. I wondered why this had been chosen? Did it fit all the available characters in the society? Ambitious scene changes throughout would have made this show impossible for some of the smaller stages; however the TADS have the marvellous facilities at The Roses so enabling them to use interesting levels and designs.
No! you have not convinced me that this is a great or even good play/musical, and indeed I have great reservations. Having said that, the production completely bowled me over! I was very impressed by the ensemble work of the company and the slick scene changes. The casting worked extremely well, and the arrangement of the dance sequences although not strictly choreographed came across with energy. The interest never faltered, and most of the songs emerged organically as part of the scene in which they appeared.
SET DESIGN & LIGHTING:
The set conveyed the red-brick claustrophobic world in which the characters carried on their daily existence well I liked the swift change to the Rose and Crown interior. How did that royal name manage to survive in those streets I wonder! The dim lighting worked well for all except the Scrimmett household where I think it would have been interesting to have squeaky clean everything just for a contrast – I’m sure Mrs would have had five different toilet cleaners in her 100!
Richard Hughes’ direction was excellent. The blocking worked well throughout – I did have one problem in the Hermione sequence with the split focus I personally would have included the girls in the scene with Andy and Elvis. The ‘numbers’ were full of energy and disciplined in focus, I found some of the songs too self-indulgent – in particular the legs’ number which was far too long! For a song of that length you have to something ‘very interesting with the 2nd & 3rd verses. The actors worked very well together it gave the impression of a real piece of ensemble work, not a vehicle for the principals. A controlled hand was at work here!
It was lovely to have such an accomplished band, and the addition of the sax. gave a great quality to the sound. I imagine Alan Price had a few more instruments in mind, but in fact more would have been too much for the numbers. The singing was adequate. I say this because there was no feeling that the singer took precèdence over the speech; I’m sure this was part of the concept. Some of the accents needed attention and were rather generalised.
ANDY CAPP: John Davidson.
John did a good job of this rather unsympathetic character! I would perhaps have wanted him to be bigger from time to time, especially after a “skin-full”. He worked well with Flo, and their sad little scene together at the end of Act. 1 brought a tear to the eye.
THE STRANGER: Jon Benns
A great start to the show! Jon communicated well with the audience, and brought a nice touch of professionalism. Can I just niggle a bit? Don’t tap your foot when accompanying a group! It’s fine to do so as a solist, but distracting when with others. Jon has a good stage presence, and linked all the scenes smoothly.
FLORENCE CAPP: Pat Goodger.
I liked this character. Pat has a good stage presence, and she was totally believable. The Flo and Andy scenes had a nice balance, although I don’t think she would have bent under his will too often!
ELVIS AND RAQUEL: Philip Davis and Sarah Dolphin
We followed the love story of these two with great affection. The dreaming, gormless Blvis bonded to a smart girl in love in spite of herself. I did think it must have been a blessing to get away from that dreadful mother! A nice piece of casting.
THE SCRIMMETTS: Paula Brooks and Graham Aston
Paula had the strongest singing voice, and made the most of her songs. As Ma she was rightly bossy and awful which certainly accounted for the poor little silent husband. Wonderful when he came into his own in ACT 2.
LINDA, OLGA, PAULINE, RUBY: Janet Lines,
Dolores Habgood, Jane Hughes and Jane Amherst
The girls did a great job of closing ranks around Flo when necessary, yet maintained their characterisation throughout. I liked Pauline’s bit of crumpet! padding from man to man looking for the big break! The girls were well balanced by the opposition in the shape of PERCY, CHALKIE & JACK: Fred Habgood, Geoff Guy and Peter Lines.
THE VICAR: Peter Brown was suitably avuncular! and I loved HERMIONE, the pigeon
This was a very good production and the company should be very pleased with the work, and with that of all the back-stage crew who made it possible. Thank you also for my coffee and welcome!