“A Little of What You Fancy” 1 December 2012 Lingfield Hall
Thank you very much for inviting me to Wimbledon Light Opera Society’s (WLOS) production of “A Little of What You Fancy” recently at the Lingfield Hall. Thanks also to your front of house staff for making me so welcome at the performance itself and in particular John and Janet Huckle. Thanks also to Marion Barton for making the ticketing arrangements.
I always enjoy compilation shows in the relaxed atmosphere of a table format with the patrons encouraged to dress up relevant period costume. For this Olde Tyme Music Hall production, I had the pleasure of sitting with some lovely people who I believe are friends of Geoff Greensmith. Lingfield Hall was a new venue for me and I thought it had the perfect ambiance for what you wanted to achieve.
The show began with a fantastic ‘Opening’ sequence which all the cast members took part in on a relatively cramped stage. The numbers were bright, rapid and colourful with all company smiling and apparently enjoying themselves. This enjoyment was transmitted to the audience all evening. We were then treated to a seaside section which again was bright and energetic and allowed plenty of solo work but also plenty for the ensemble. Mr Sadler was in good form with his rendition of ‘Darling Mabel’ and Trudi Camilleri was ‘jaw-droppingly’ excellent in ‘Take me in a Taxi,Joe’ – what a beautiful soprano voice. ‘Burlington Bertie’ was tasteful and classy led by Candice Newton and well supported by the other ladies. The gentlemen impressed with nice harmony in ‘The Road to Mandalay’ – you could see the concentration on their faces. To end Act One, romance was in the air and I liked the soft tenor voice of Mikey Beard in ‘Honeysuckle and the Bee’. The company completed the act with a nice medley of well-known songs culminating in a lovely picture for the last strains of ‘My Old Dutch’.
By now we were flying along and Act Two was just as strong with some cracking moments of production, musicality and comedy. The gentlemen again had fun with ‘What I want is a Proper Cup of Coffee’ and this was followed by the titillating ‘Sand Dance’. ‘Nobody Loves a Fairy When She’s Forty’ was elegant and I loved the huge truncheons in particular in ‘Gendarmes Duet’. A sympathetic ‘Waiting at the Church’ was followed by a favourite of mine – ‘Henery the Eighth I am’ – it was lovely to hear other verses which are seldom performed. As we moved towards the interval, there was excellent choreography in ‘There’s Something About a Soldier’, a sentimentally touching ‘Break the News to Mother’ and a rousing ‘Goodbye Dolly Gray which could actually have benefitted from a final picture.
After some lovely bangers and mash the action recommenced for Act Three. The company were resplendent in evening wear. Strong number after strong number were much in evidence, it was clear that a lot of work had gone into this production. I particularly liked ‘The Lost Chord’ which was nothing short of excellent. A change in the cast of the Melodrama didn’t seem to upset anything, however I was surprised that the baddie didn’t get his comeuppance in the end. ‘Sempre Libera’ – simply wow – by the aforementioned Miss Camilleri. For the last section we were taken down the London streets with a medley of classics which brought a smile to every face. What more could you ask for.
My overall opinion was that this was a strong production which had some great moments and the beauty was that everyone got a chance to shine. Congratulations must go to a wonderful production team led by Marilyn McPherson as Director, Devisor, Choreographer, Janet Huckle as Assistant Director and the impressive Jon Mizler as Musical Director thoroughly in control of ensemble and pianists. For every serene swan on stage there is a team paddling like heck behind stage to keep the action to a high standard. I can’t mention everyone individually but technically, the show was well executed. Stage Management and crew were very efficient, the Lighting plot was excellent and operated with great skill. The costumes were magnificent – congratulations to the wardrobe team, there were plenty of costumes on view and every section was very well thought out with attention to detail. WLOS are very lucky to have such a great band of helpers who contribute in many ways and they should never be taken for granted. This was a true ensemble production and everybody contributed to its success.
The souvenir programme had an excellent layout and there was plenty of interesting society and production reading to be done. Photographs are always very welcome and these were beautifully arranged. There was also a nice NODA advert – thank you. I suggest you enter the NODA Programme Competition. Details are available on the NODA website – entries to be in by 31st March 2013.
Once again thank you for inviting me to the Lingfield Hall and best wishes for your next production in 2013 – the fantastic ‘Anything Goes’.
I look forward to seeing you again soon and if I can be of any assistance at any time, please do not hesitate to contact me.
London Area 3