The Golden Years

Date 26th March 2015
Society Felling Stage Society
Venue Caedmon Hall, Gateshead
Type of Production Concert
Director Bea Atkinson
Musical Director Jonny Winter
Choreographer Helen Wilson


Author: Ian Wells

One would have to go a long way to find four more talented performers than those who sang in this concert in aid of Society funds and cancer support charity FACT – five if you count superb MD/accompanist Jonny Winter, and you certainly should not ignore his input.

Bea Atkinson had organised this evening featuring herself and three friends, Claire Wharton, Michael Geddes and Wayne Shellard, with support from a chorus of society members.  Bea was celebrating fifty years in amateur theatre, which was good enough reason to look back to songs from shows she had performed and/or directed.  She demonstrated her vocal skills with material as varied as ‘Romance’ (The Desert Song) to ‘Losing My Mind’ (Follies) in which also showed us her acting skills.  Claire Wharton showed her brassy side with ‘I’m Still Here’ also from Follies, sung by the character she had played in a production of the show (nine lines and a killer song), and her more gentle side with ‘The Rose’ in which Bea also shared.  Michael Geddes showed his range with numbers such as ‘The Impossible Dream’ (Man of La Mancha) and a couple of Tyneside songs by Eric Boswell, and  Wayne Shellard showed himself to be the consummate artist, completely inhabiting the character he was portraying in ‘Mr. Cellophane’ (Chicago) and ‘This Is The Moment’ (Jekyll and Hyde).  All were sympathetically accompanied by Jonny, who also shone in his piano solo.  The chorus sang well in its numbers, especially in the finale ‘Ever After’ (Into the Woods).

This feast of music was interspersed by reminiscences and light-heated banter from the four principals, which created a pleasant informal atmosphere.  The audience, many of its members friends of Bea come to celebrate and wish her well, loved it, and so did I.  The society’s next major production in October is to be ‘Gypsy’.  That should be worth seeing!