24th November 2017
Type of Production
Author: Eddie Regan
Peter Quilter is a West End and Broadway Playwright whose works have received critical acclaim across many countries. “ Glorious” had its debut production in 2005 at the Birmingham Rep. Theatre and then transferred to The West End. This story of Florence Foster Jenkins “ the worst opera singer in the world” was nominated for an Olivier Award as Best New Comedy.
The Anonymous Players had asked the experienced and talented Director and Actor Ian Rowe to assemble a cast, which would do justice to this excellent script, based on a true story. The six strong cast did just that and we were treated to a memorable evening. There were no weak links at all in this Production and all the actors played their roles with sensitivity and commitment always bearing in mind they were recreating a true story.
Set in New York in 1944 we were reminded of that period in time as projected images of the era appeared, setting the scene and creating the appropriate atmosphere. Sound and Lighting personnel played a very important part in this particular production and certainly helped to make the evening an undoubted success. Set design and construction together with relevant props were first class and the stage crew ensured there were no interruptions to the flow of the piece. Properties and Costumes had obviously been well researched. The Wardrobe Department provided some excellent outfits, mirroring the era, some very elaborate and some very amusing.
The central role of the legendary New York heiress and socialite, was played by Sarah Jane Stone, who gave an outstanding performance. I know Sarah has a lovely singing voice and she and her vocal coach and repetiteur Michael Hall, must have worked hard to eventually achieve the desired delivery of operatic pieces which, to say the least, were “ slightly” off key. This effect is not easy to achieve but the end result was just what was required.
Huw Rose as Cosme McMoon gave a sensitive, poignant performance as Florence’s pianist who also achieved his dream of playing at Carnegie Hall. I found his final speech, when recounting her story, very emotive. Jeff Redfern as St Clair was Florence’s constant admirer and confidant played so well by this consummate performer.Mandy Hall, Dorothy and Caz Thompson, Maria were two delightful characters played with great enthusiasm and stage craft and I enjoyed their every entrance. They ensured that the pace of the piece never faltered. The small but very important role of Mrs Verrinder-Gedge, was played with just the correct amount of haughty disdain by Kirsten Burnet. This proves the point that all roles are so important to the success of the whole.
Another great evening, with the Anonymous Players. Thank you for making my wife and myself so welcome.