Items from the Evening Gazette and Herald about our second show...


The ladies of the chorus with Master Spiby and Master Washington as pages

The Marton Parish Church Choral and Operatic Society are presenting their numerous admirers with further light opera this week again under the watchful eye of Mr. Stanley Jenkinson, whose gifts as a producer have never been more successfully applied, writes "Musica."
  The commodious Parochial Hall, an enlarged stage, scenery painted by the members of the Society, an orchestra of real merit, and an enthusiastic audience provided all the essentials for success on Wednesday night - the opening night of a series of four, which closes to-night.  
  It was a pleasant experience to hear Edward German's light opera "Merrie England," in its proper environment, and with the players in the costumes of the period when the Earl of Essex and Sir Walter Raleigh roamed through Windsor Forest in the heart of mediŠval England, with the Thames flowing placidly by.
  One has become so accustomed to hearing this straightforward and thoroughly English melody in the concert version that a new freshness and vitality - due to scenic effects, the Mayday revels, the appearance of the dragon and Herno the Hunter - is given to the music of a man who, it is hard to realise, is now 70 years of age, and which was written so long as thirty years.
  They are a happy and industrious band at Marton - hard work and enthusiasm is second nature to them. They respond to the demands of their musical director - Mr W. Hogarth - with commendable zeal, and only very occasionally was the acton slightly held up on the opening night through misunderstanding: a real tribute to all concerned.   The team spirit is well upheld.
  The cast is generally good, with an attractive and vocally captivating pair of artists in Miss E. Whiteley (Bessie) and Miss R. Hill (Jill-all-alone), a dignified Queen Elizabeth in Miss P. Cardwell, employing a good voice and commanding presence, and a May Queen (Mrs. W. Calvert), whose experience counts for a great deal.
   A. Howarth and J. Gibson (players in Shakespeare's company) are successful in their infectious comedy parts as Wilkins and Simkins respectively.   Unfortunately, E. Rimmer is unable, owing to indisposition, to get as much out of the part of Raleigh as would otherwise have been the case.   Still, his happy personality makes his impersonation effective, while the Earl of Essex, played by J. Hitchen, has a great many points of interest.
  The Long Tom and Big Ben of F. Wade and J. H. Atherton respectively are characteristically successful, while the four industrious men of Windsor enliven the proceedings exceedingly.   They are well impersonated by J. Wade, W. Turner, W. Calvert, and F. Smith.
  R. Walsh, as the Queen's Fool, Masters H. Spiby and F. Washington, and Misses F. Sanderson, R. Cookson and P. Banham fill minor roles with adaptability.
  The well-drilled chorus moves naturally - there is no appearance of either haste or clumsiness, in spite of limited space, and they sing their choruse very well indeed: here is still another department where good training is apparent...
  The Masque of St. George and the Dragon, the Egyptian dance (very artistic), Elizabeth's song, "O Peaceful England"; Jill's song, "Where the deer do lie", Bessie's ballad, and the big brass band number are worthy of special mention.
  Mrs Oscar Howarth has been an invaluable help in matters of make-up, etc., and Mr. Charles Frost an exemplary stage manager and accessory to Mr. Stanley Jenkinson - a "Job" among producers.

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