"If all the company
are really enthusiastic about their work, then the show is sure
to be a success," a famous actor-producer once told me in an
interview, and I think it's the enthusiasm which lies behind all
efforts to which the Marton Parish Church Operatic Society turns
its attention which has made such a success of their production
of Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado," presented at the
Church Hall this week.
In the very first place I want to point
out three very important factors in their success (in addition to
enthusiasm). There is a splendid stage made suitable
for the production by the society's hard-working men; there is a
wonder-balanced, and quite large, orchestra under the direction
of Mr. W. Hogarth, which adds warmth and coklour to the show. (I
must stress this particularly, as first impressions are important,
and the impression conveyed by the overture was decidedly cheerful);
and there were really beautiful settings for the show itself (and
again I have to refer to the enthusiasm of one member in particular,
Mr. Albert Howarth, whose efforts as scene-painter were most commendable).
The company had the advantage of a former D'Oyly Carte
artist as producer (in an honorary capacity) in Mr. Sidney King,
of St. Annes. With all the etceteras taken care of,
and with an enthusiastic set of players, he has achieved perhaps
the most brilliant show in the society's history.
The story of "The Mikado"
is too well known for me to labour upon it. Many of
its lilting songs and choruses are almost household ditties, certainly
The outstanding performance of the
evening was undoubtedly that of Mr Albert Howarth as Ko-Ko, Lord
High Executioner. Mr Howarth proved as great an artist
in costume as in painter's overalls. I think I was drawn
to his performance because I could hear every word he sang or spoke
- and inaudibility was at times a failing of a few of the players.
I was decidedly sorry to find Mr. Jack Spencer carrying
on manfully in the part of Nanki-Poo, despite a most severe cold.
I know him for a rather sweet tenor vocalist and a most
polished actor, and as I had been looking forward to hearing "A
Wandering Minstrel I" I was somewhat disappointed to find him
husky. As the evening went on, however, his cold seemed
to clear and , as his acting deserves every commendation, he fully
deserved the approval shown for his performance.
correctly maintaining the exalted pride of the Lord High Everything-else,
as Pooh-Bah, I am afraid Mr James Partridge could have been a little
more articulate. I missed some of the gems of Gilbertian
wit that fall to his lot - and so did most of the audience. As
he was much more audible in his songs I fancy some sort of chant
as in the church responses (sung rather ponderously, perhaps) would
be better and quite in keeping with the part.
Fowler Wade was most impressive and majestic as the Mikado, while
Mr. John Woolfall filled the part of Pish-Tush most effectively.
A FINE CHORUS.
Turning to the
ladies, Miss Jennifer North struck me as an actress of no little
experience and of considerable attainments musically. As
Yum-Yum she sang sweetly, and her acting in the love scenes with
Nanki-Poo was really delightful.
One of the tit-bits
of the show, by the way, was "Three Little Maids From School
Are We," and with Yum-Yum, Pitti-Sing (Miss Ruby Hill) and
Peep-Bo (Miss Eunice Whiteley), we had a most effective trio.
The part of Katisha, the elderly lady in love with Nanki-Poo,
was a triumph for Miss Peggy Cardwell. She was just
vixenish enough to put fire into the part, and she made the most
of the comedy side.
Master H. Spiby showed great
promise as Ko-Ko's attendant.
With reference to
the chorus of guards, coolies, townsmen and school girls, I have
to say that here was a large well-balanced body, with one of the
best male choruses I have heard in Blackpool for a long time. The
choruses did work hard, and gave the perfect backing to a very bright
show, which brilliantly mounted and gorgeously costumed, is one
which should long be remembered in the district...
opera was first given on Wednesday evening and was repeated last
night. I can recommend it as worthy of a visit either
to-night or to-morrow evening.