Date 30th March 2016
Society Melody Makers
Director Caroline Ward: Val Bamber
Musical Director Eunice Parry
Choreographer Judith Jeffries


Author: Lyn Emmerson

This was a good choice of show for this Company to perform. It was pleasing, in these troubles times to be transported back to the beginning of the 20th century and enjoy this well-known piece.

The opening was bright, and established the situation in Mr Shalford’s Drapery Emporium with shop assistants Kipps – Geraint Roberts, Buggins – Steven Blankley, Pearce – Nick Blakeley, and Sid –John Bamber, ready on parade for inspection by ‘The Boss’ - Mr Shalford , played by Sean Sheehan who put his autocratic stamp on this role from the onset. Kate, Victoria and Flo, played by Ami Riley, Claudia Jones and Neave Harrison, respectively, completed the staff at Shalford’s Emporium with all the ‘staff’ giving creditable performances, blending well in all musical tasks.

The role of Kipps was in the capable hands of Geraint Roberts who was spot on with all his musical numbers and led the Company from the start in many chorus numbers including ‘Money to Burn’, ‘If the Rain’s Got To Fall’, and ‘Flash Bang Wallop’. I liked his ‘A Proper Gentleman’, ‘Too Far Above Me’ and particularly his poignant solo ‘What Should I Feel’. A dependable performance from this experienced actor. Gwenda Griffith was well cast as Ann, bringing out the demur character of the role. She particularly shone in ‘I Don’t Believe A Word Of It’, and blended well with Kipps in ‘Half A Sixpence’. Christine Peters gave us a blue blooded characterization of the aristocrat Mrs Walsingham and Amanda Lynch was pleasing as daughter Helen, but I think Helen should have had a change of costume in Act 1. Ralph Peters demonstrated his theatrical talent as Walsingham, whilst Andrew Jones had us in fits with his interpretation of the eccentric Chitterlow. All the minor roles were carried out with aplomb, the chorus numbers were well disciplined and their constant rehearsing certainly paid off. Good to see youngsters in the production who enjoyed every moment of the experience.

Lovely costumes and good lighting enhanced the production. One or two pauses from the cast but I am sure these were soon ironed out, and I think more use could have been made of the extreme down stage corners of the stage. Congratulations to Stage Manager, Set design and Stage Crew who did a fantastic job with smooth changes of scenery. All in all an enjoyable experience being transported from the troubles of the world, - Well Done!