As their Summer Production this year EADS decided to put on two one-act comedies which allowed two of the younger members of the Society to direct and both did a very good job.
“Acting, It’s Not Plumbing” written by Cheryl Barrett
The setting for this play is a morning Drama Workshop run by leader Jilly, played by Janice Hyndman, where a group of six disparate people come together. Fay (Bronte Cooke) is a shy young veterinary nurse looking to boost her confidence in interacting with people; Amy (Naomi Bunyan) is a confident young woman into taking lots of different classes; Sandra (Natalie Munro) is a young mother and housewife looking to do something only for herself, rather than others; Chelsea (Katy Rodway-Swanson) is a young, “look-at-me” type used to getting everything she wants handed to her; Paul (Tiarnan Clarke) is a young “glass-half-full” kind of guy not afraid to say what he thinks and Bob (Andrew Sutherland) is a confident young man – the plumber reference in the title and a former child actor – keen to rekindle his interest in acting. All of the actors played their roles convincingly but their acting ranges really shone through when acting out the vignettes tasked to them by Jilly but particularly in playing the characters in their two versions of “Little Red Riding Hood” from Paul’s camp Wolf to Sandra’s rebellious Red to Amy’s Posh Wolf on trial for his misdemeanours. The set was very simple with a semi-circle of chairs, a couple of tables and a few simple props all of which were used well. This play elicited lots of laughter from the audience (many of them fellow thespians) who obviously recognised someone they knew – or even themselves – in the characters.
“Gosforth’s Fete” written by Alan Ayckbourn
The setting for this play is the opening of a village fete somewhere in England when, as one would expect, everything starts to go wrong. The curtains opened to reveal the Tea Tent where Milly (strongly played by Jenna Shea) is bustling about setting up when she is joined by Councillor Mrs Pearce (grandly played to much comic effect by Janice Anderson) who is there to open the fete. Gosforth the larger-than-life landlord of the village pub (played by Milky Milkinson in his acting debut with EADS) is trying to organising things including the PA system which he doesn’t realise is still switched on when Milly tells him that she is carrying his child (after a one-night fling) even although she is engaged to the local Scout Master. The announcement is heard by everyone at the fete including the Scout Master Stewart (shorts wearing Aidan Hyndman) who bursts onto the stage intent in fighting Gosforth. Milly and Gosforth try to placate the normally tea-total Stewart by plying him with sherry and his antics as he descended into drunkenness had the audience hooting with laughter. Adding to the humour was Lindsay Knight’s portrayal of the bumbling Vicar. This was a hugely enjoyable play – bordering on farce – with strong acting from all concerned. Congratulations to Dom on his directorial debut.
Dick Whittington 2022
As sure as Christmas falls on the 25th December, you could guarantee that Elgin Amateur Dramatic Society’s production of Dick Whittington directed by Lindsay Knight, choreographed by Allwyn Valentine and musical direction by Angus Hull was going to be something special.
Of course, with the name Dick Whittington, you already knew there was going to be some tongue-in-cheek jokes to keep the adults chuckling and we were not disappointed with the perfect sprinkling of double entendres throughout.
“Life’s A Happy Song” was the big festive opening number that set the pace for two hours of traditional family fun, which had both children and adults cheering and booing from the off.
A strong cast including Andrew Sutherland as lovable Dick, Kim McIntyre as his sidekick Tabby Cat, Aidan Hyndman as the comic Idle Jack, Tiarnan Clarke as wicked King Rat, Katy Rodway-Swanson as beautiful Fairy Bluebell, and Amanda Craib as The Sultan tell the classic story with great energy and detail. It’s said, ‘There’s Nothing Like a Dame’ and Ben Mortimer as Sarah the Cook brought comedy, glamour and cheeky womanly prowess to his performance. Other stand out performances included Naomi Bunyan’s sultry and sinister portrayal of Regina the Rat, Robyn Lean’s kind hearted and feisty performance as Alice Fitzwarren and Dominic Myers bombastic, larger than life Professor Fitzwarren were superb. The chorus shone throughout, a highlight being their rendition of ‘Baggy Trousers’ which got rapturous applause. Mark Stitt, Connor Doyle and Alisha Griffiths showcased great comic timing and ensemble work as the dastardly Rat Gang.
A huge amount of work must have gone into this Christmas cracker of a show, from colourful and creative costumes, polished and professional choreography, detailed and imaginative direction and fantastic musical direction supported by an exceptional band that had the cast bringing the songs to life with finesse and aplomb. Other musical numbers included ‘Reach’, a minor re-writing of ‘I’m on the Way to Amarillo’ as the cast set off to the rat’s lair on Skull Island, and ‘The Music Man’ all got the audience joining in on the fun too. There were plenty of opportunities for the cast to show off their musical talent throughout the show with the numerous musical numbers.
The modular scenery allowed for many scenic options in a lovely simplistic way, which was great to see as pantomimes can often be of a ‘more is more’ mentality. Special effects and pyrotechnics added extra sparkle to the production. They provided a sparkling entrance for Fairy Bluebell and the puffs of smoke provided great punctuation for King Rat and also Regina’s song.
As expected with all opening nights, some cast nerves and navigating scenery posed a few sticky moments but cast and stage crew must be commended on their sterling work throughout the show.
This was community theatre at its best – a pantomime that excels on sheer community spirit, talent, magic and continued outstanding dedication rather than celebrity names and big budgets. A Christmas treat for the heart, families and Moray.
By Geanie McLeod-Young