Me and My Girl

Date 17th October 2015
Society Beaconsfield Operatic Society
Venue Phoenix Theatre, Blyth
Type of Production Musical
Director Peter Denton
Musical Director Susan Smith
Choreographer Kathleen Holdroyd

Report

Author: Ray Lowry

Me and My Girl is a musical comedy with music by Noel Gay and its original book and lyrics by Douglas Furber and L. Arthur Rose. It is set in the late 1930s and tells the story of an unashamedly “rough diamond” cockney gentleman named Bill Snibson  who struggles with his new-found status as the 14th heir to the Earl of Hareford , trying to balance his new good fortune with the social forces trying to prize him from his sweetheart, Sally. The production had a successful original run in the West End in 1937, and was turned into a film in 1939, titled The Lambeth Walk, named after one of the show's songs.  And thereby hangs a problem for any modern-day revival of this show - how do you produce a fresh production of very old material including dated and well-known comic lines? But Beaconsfield Operatic Society Blyth pulled it off with ability and determination. The principals cued up their solos precisely (difficult to do with their accompaniment out of sight) and clearly enunciated their words to the delight of the audience.  Congratulations to the principals and chorus  (and director Peter Denton, musical director Susan Smith) for crafting such an engaging theatrical experience including show stoppers The Lambeth Walk, The Sun has got his hat on and Leaning on a Lamp-post. The setting and staging ingeniously mixed projection and physical sets to create the right atmosphere.  The musical backing for the show deserves special mention: because the pit at the Phoenix Theatre is modest, the orchestra had to perform in the green room and manage with a two-way communications system. Everyone (cast, musical director, sound engineering) must have worked incredibly hard to make the set-up work which it did, splendidly. The programme notes hinted at the challenges companies like Beaconsfield face when trying to bring live musical theatre to local audiences. Thank goodness they keep on trying and succeeding.