Jack the Ripper

Date 24th October 2011
Society Hayling Musical Society
Venue Hayling Community Centre, Hayling
Type of Production Musical
Director Tony Dart
Musical Director Michael Balston
Choreographer Lydia Thorne


Author: John E Thomas

The audience were seated as if they were attending a Victorian Music Hall and the cast in their period costumes mingled freely amongst them. The lamps on the tables glimmered against a backdrop of authentic period photographs. The atmosphere was heightened as Vic Briscoe, a sprightly 90 year old, opened proceedings with a cheery rendition of “Trafalgar Square”. This was the start of a truly enjoyable evening in which everyone was made to feel part of the proceedings. Chairman, Mike Gilbert, ably controlled events and sang with his silver-tongued vocals. The actual storyline was quite difficult to follow. Nevertheless, there were some excellent characterisations e.g. Bill Wallage as Montague Druitt, and individual performances within this mixture of ballads and comedy. Lucy Summers was brilliant as she declared “Daddy wouldn’t buy me a bow-wow.” The audience chuckled as the three different cats appeared gradually increasing in size. She was equally hilarious as Queen Victoria as she sparred with Sir Charles (Mike Gilbert). I particularly enjoyed Kerry Lebhern’s portrayal of Marie. Her solo “Half a Dozen Pints” in which she describes her circumstances, was very touching. Kerry knows when to use movement on stage and when to use stillness which can be so effective. Her duet with Lucy entitled “Step Across the River” was for me the highlight of the evening. It was a difficult song to master but the harmonies and balance were superb. Everyone agreed, that despite difficulties in continuity and in following the dirty deeds of Jack the Ripper, it was a fun night out.