Lend me a Tenor
12th April 2014
Priory Theatre. Tynemouth
Type of Production
Author: Jim Graham
Although a long-time season ticket holder for their many quality productions, I was pleased to be asked to write a report on this production. “Lend Me a Tenor”, written by Ken Ludwig, is a farce well suited to the Priory Theatre stage. The compact set placed in hotel suite was comprised of a living room and a bedroom, with facilities off-stage accessed by six doors. Full advantage was taken of the doors for perfectly timed entrances and exits. I found that the pre-show music was slightly loud, but it was obviously appreciated by the full-house audience.
The story line revolves around a world famous tenor singing at a concert in Cleveland, Ohio. Sadly the tenor goes “missing” and a substitute must be found. Tito Morelli (Il Stupendo), played by Richard Straw, who also happens to be an excellent singer, acts and dresses well as the world famous Italian tenor. Max (Ian Nugent) is very reluctantly persuaded that he could be the stand-in for Tito Morelli. His acting and stage presence were good and appropriate for the part. He, of course was persuaded to demonstrate his singing for which he was justly rewarded with ringing applause from the audience. David Moy played the part of Saunders well, and was masterly as the frustrated Manager of the Opera Company, needing to get the Concert underway as a matter of urgency. In his anxiety for progress he was aided and abetted by his daughter Maggie, played by Alex Heppell, who made full use of all the doors save once when she got squashed behind a door suffering, a bloody nose. She made full use of this opportunity with a convenient pre-prepared bloody handkerchief.
Other parts were played with gusto by Ann Leake (Maria, Tito’s wife), Lorraine Rudd (Julia the Opera Chairman) and Ali Broughton (Diana, a sultry soprano). Lorraine Rudd’s diction was very clear. Ann Leake and Alex Heppell’s many double entendres were a pleasure to listen to, and were well appreciated by the audience as was the delicious saucy strip by Alex Heppell and Ali Broughton towards the end. Particular mention must be made of Andrew Moy as the Bellhop, with his mischievous grin and ability to pop up at all appropriate moments.
This was an excellent farce and combined with Richard Straw’s grasp of Italian, and American accents from the rest of the cast, provided an excellent evening’s entertainment.