Betty Blue Eyes

Date 30th September 2016
Society Glenrothes Amateur Musical Association
Venue Rothes Halls, Glenrothes
Type of Production Musical
Director Graeme Shield
Musical Director Robert Nee
Choreographer Fiona Gallacher Stewart


Author: Roger D. Buist

Deputising for my NODA colleague, Mike Pendlowski (on his happy hols!), I realised that the society I was about to see performing on stage, was celebrating their 50th Anniversary production! The show was also the Scottish Premiere, which was quite appropriate for this anniversary year! I have heard of this show, but this was my first experience of seeing the show performed. It is set in 1947, and post-war Britain is suffering stringent rationing. Town Councillors are feathering their nest and manage to acquire steaks and sweets, while poorer people make do with Spam and marmalade. Princess Elizabeth’s forthcoming wedding is a cause to celebrate, and when the “poorer people” learn that the town’s elite is planning a “private function” and, that certain councillors are raising a pig to provide a feast for their celebratory banquet, then events get out of hand! The show opened with the town’s ladies queuing outside the local butcher’s shop, empty baskets in hand, desperately trying to buy meat. Joyce Chilvers is one of them and resents doing this in her attempt to feed her and husband, chiropodist Gilbert. Stamina – that is what is required from these two players who are seldom off the stage! Joyce, superbly played by Laura Spence, as the always-in-control wife, turned in a strong performance and, when it came to her “Nobody” number, the stage was transformed from a drab post-war setting into a glitzy, sparkle and feather routine! And I am still trying to work out how Joyce changed costume from dowdy apron to sparkling evening dress in a split second! As her husband, Gilbert, Craig Spence was at his excellent best dashing around the stage as the meek chiropodist who had great plans to open his chiropody shop business on the Parade but, in order to keep in his wife’s good books, decides to steal the pig – Betty Blue Eyes – and hide it in their home, which leads to chaotic comedy situations! His “Kind Of Man I Am” was a calming interlude in all the chaos. There was a great supporting cast and Margo Imrie headed this as Mother Dear, the elderly, cantankerous, old lady with a twinkle in her eye, who lives with Joyce and Gilbert and has many a barbed wit comedy line. Then there were the three conniving councillors – who all worked extremely well together - Dr James Swaby (Alan Woolley), Henry Allardyce (Glen McGill), and Francis Lockwood (Callum Stott) who get their eventual come-uppance. The “baddie” goes under the name of Meat Inspector Wormold, who thrives on brushing green paint on confiscated meat! Steven Smith revelled as him and with his black leather coat and “limp” had a touch of the “Herr Flick” about him! A “goodie” Police Sergeant was in the shape of a cheerful Michael McLean; and “high falluting” Margaret Mackenzie was Mrs Allardyce, a really nasty piece of work! And what of Betty Blues Eyes herself? Well, the pig did appear – as a puppet, thanks to various “brains” behind the scenes. Think “Lion King” puppeteers and Liz Browne was a dab hand at that! GAMA, you captured the post-war era and times perfectly and the “Another Little Victory” number found the stage awash with Union Jack flags bringing a riot of colour. Yes, the Society definitely brought the bacon home!