Downton meets Eastenders in Duns

DDAOS preparing for 'Me and My Girl'
DDAOS preparing for 'Me and My Girl'

Get ready to enjoy high tea with the aristocracy and enjoy a knees up with the not so well to do as ‘Me and My Girl’ comes to Duns Volunteer Hall next week.

The thespians responsible for bringing the quintessentially British musical to the local stage, Duns & District Amateur Operatic Society, proved they had a real knack for a an old school favourite last with ‘High Society’ but this year they’re taking the action from Philadelphia to the Hareford Estate where the Maria, Duchess of Dene, rules the roost.

Rounding her vowels as the lady of the house is Genny Dixon. The society performed the musical back in 1999 and back then Genny was a member of the chorus but is enjoying the step into the Duchess’ expensive shoes.

“I’m hearing all sorts of new things in the script that I didn’t pick up on first time around,” she commented.

“I’ve really got a feel for the part; it’s a great one to play.

“She rules her family with an iron rod and they all look up to her despite the fact they all call her a dragon, old trout and witch behind her back!”

The Duchess’ confidante is friend of the family Sir John, who will be played by Euan McIver.

Playing all manner of roles from Fagin to Widow Twankey via the King of Siam in the past decade, Euan is no stranger to taking on a different persona and he told ‘WOW’ he was enjoying the show’s eclectic musical score.

“I think it’s a show that really suits us as a society. It’s very feel good and even if people aren’t too familiar with the show they’re bound to know songs like ‘Lambeth Walk’ and ‘The Sun Has Got His Hat On’.

“I’m enjoying playing Sir John and as well as having a terrific humorous side, he has given me the chance to interact with people I’ve not really worked closely with on stage before.”

The Duchess and Sir John have some important decisions to make in the show as Cockney sparra Bill Snibson is found to be the long-lost Earl of Hareford.

Dougal Affleck is the geezer the Duchess thinks she can mould into a refined gent but she has little time for his brassy girlfriend, Sally (Holly Thomas).

‘Me & My Girl’ is Dougal’s first musical with the Opera in a few years while Sally is Holly’s first musical leading role with the society.

“It’s been a good laugh so far,” Holly told ‘WOW’.

“We’re going for more of a ‘Carry On’ cockney approach than ‘Eastenders’. There has been quite a lot of rhyming slang to learn but some of it doesn’t rhyme which makes it all the more confusing!

“The script was revised by Stephen Fry in the 80s and it has some really funny innuendo.”

Dougal last appeared at the Volunteer Hall in Duns Players’ intense and edgy ‘Glengarry Glenross’ and said whilst he enjoyed the experience, felt much more at home in a musical.

“I’m more comfortable doing this. It’s a completely different challenge but I get to throw myself around the stage which is always good!”

Producer Eloner Crawford admitted it took her a while to get a feel for ‘Me and My Girl’ but was now doing the Lambeth Walk with the best of them.

“As soon as this lot get the hands on it it came to life and I’ve had an absolute ball.

“I now eat, sleep and breathe the show so much so that I wake up singing the songs!”

*Me and My Girl begins its four night run on Wednesday,