For the demands and directions of relatively new producer Becky Gregson-Flynn and new musical director Graham Thorne resulted in one of the most energetic, animated and delightful productions of Ruddigore being staged at Batley Town Hall last week.
The society has long been home to some great musical skills but this production so successfully welded outstanding vocal and acting talent to superb lighting, stage settings, dance numbers and inventiveness that it resulted in a five star spectacular.
The players used their voices, their bodies and most noticeably their eyes to wring every last delight out of this story of a long standing family whose leading male members are bedevilled by a curse to commit an evil every day or face an agonising death.
Sounds sordid but the way in which the cast threw themselves into their parts it brought laughter, intrigue, sustained applause and, for some, a better understanding of the whole quirky plot.
The standard of singing was absolutely superb especially from leading soprano Anna Trent whose dalliances with leading men, Malcolm Parkinson and Leon Waksberg were governed by a book of etiquette.
The talented leading men spearheaded a whole parade of unforgettable male characters including Robert Thurman as Sir Despard Murgatroyd and David Parker as Sir Roderic Murgatroyd , who proved to enchanting and amusing and whose clearcut voice capabilities were a delight to hear.
The wide variances in female roles were exploited to the full by Liz Blount as a remarkable Mad Margaret, Stephanie Roe as a determined Dame Hannah and Deirdre O’Shea as enthusiastic Zorah.
But equally responsible for a captivating evening were the talented members of the chorus who displayed impressive vocal ability and great dexterity in movement as they enthusiastically embraced and exploited their characters whether as members of a professional but underemployed band of bridesmaids or a censorious group of ghosts.
The full scale orchestra, conducted by Graham Thorne, and accompanist John Hall sensitively supported the singing and helped increase the drama or delight whenever necessary.
In short this was yet another amazing production from the society currently celebrating its 65th anniversary. Long may it continue.
Other characters were played by Kelvyn Waites, Catherine Roberts, Peter Sugden, AJ Jno-Baptiste, Chris Hall, David Hall, Fintan O’Shea, Eoin O’Shea, Tony Johnson, David Parker, Ali Burton, Clive Daniel, Jennifer Day, Lyndsey Hall, Margaret Hanson, Joan Hinchcliffe, Tracey Hook, Debbie Moores, Martina O’Rourke, Carol Parkinson, Caroline Pringle, Marie Sugden and Kathryn Thurman.