The Merry Widow

Date 9th November 2012
Society Winchester Musicals & Opera Society
Venue Theatre Royal, Winchester
Type of Production Musical
Director Tony Ayers
Musical Director Derek Beck
Choreographer Suzanne Hall


Author: John W Barnes

A plain black background for Act I enhanced the classical staircase and the two white upholstered chaise longue’s which were used well. Act II conveyed us to the Parisian home of Anna for a Pontevedrovian evening suitability decorated and cleverly changed to become “Maxims” for Act III. The sets for each Act had been well designed by Sue Alken and congratulations to everyone in the construction team.

The costumes chosen by Katie Hickson and supplied by the Costume Workshop were stunning for all the settings but particularly the ladies’ gowns and the “Pontevedrovian” national costume. The gentlemen in their evening suits were very smart, except not all wore dress shoes which I felt detracted slightly from the overall effect.
Sound balance was one of the problems with some of the vocals occasionally disappearing beneath Derek Beck’s talented and enthusiastic orchestra.
Alison Bradley (Anna) with her superb singing was a joy to listen to, being well matched with Adrian Hickford (Count Danilo) with both solos and duets beautifully executed. Tony Blackshaw (Baron Zeta) was every inch the Ambassador who with Graham Light (Njegus) provided some amusing moments with excellent facial expressions. Katie Hickson (Valencienne) and Dan Hickson (Camile) played and sang their parts to perfection and provided some wry smiles in the audience. Steve Young (St Brioche) and Hamish McDonald (Cascada) sparked off each other well and provided a good contrast because of their ages. All the other cameo parts were done well with good clear diction from all the cast.

The Grisettes from Winchester School of Performing Arts were very professional in their execution of the “Can-Can" and the men’s dancing in “Women!Women!Women!”was done with aplomb finishing with a rear-view mimicry of the “Can-Can”.

Overall this was a well directed, first class production and a delight to watch.