On what was a dreich night, Duns Operatic Society lifted the fog with a right cockney knees up of a show.
Celebrating all that’s great about British eccentricity, ‘Me and My Girl’ was the perfect fit for a group who always ooze loads of energy and enthusiasm.
Ruling the roost as the matriarch of the hoi polloi, Duchess Maria, Genny Dixon was a plummy voiced pleasure to watch.
With an accent to cut glass and a demeanour to match, Genny made the Duchess a force to be reckoned with but like many a selection box chocolate she also had a soft centre which paved the way for some great light: hearted scenes with Euan McIver’s Sir John.
With a voice that can go from Scottish granny to King of Siam in seconds, Euan has turned his talents to all manner of roles with Duns Opera and Sir John gave him another springboard from which to leap.
Although, not wishing to typecast Euan in the drunk uncle mode, he did a fantastic impression of one in ‘High Society’ last year and his high spirited John was also very convincing.
The crowd pleasing ‘Love Makes The World Go Round’ saw Euan duet with man of the hour Dougal Affleck as Bill Snibson, the unlikely Earl of Hareford.
With a suit Del Boy would either be wearing or trying to flog down Peckham market, Dougal was Duns’ own Cockney wide boy.
With a touch of the Alfie Moons about him, he made Bill a character you couldn’t fail to love.
The role suited his personality down to the ground and at no time did it ever feel like Dougal was forcing any of Bill’s boundless energy.
The Kat to Dougal’s Alfie was the fantastic Holly Thomas and as Sally I had nothing but praise for her after her stint as Marti in ‘Grease’ last year and once again Holly was absolutely fantastic.
Sally was a character with many layers and Holly got to the heart of them all.
‘Me and My Girl’ saw Holly in bright and breezy mode while ‘When You Lose You Heart’ really tugged at the heart strings, as did her touching scenes with Euan.
Two of Holly’s ‘Grease’ castmates also made the switch from flunking high school to mixing it in the upper eschalons of society.
Swapping his T: Bird jacket for a public school blazer and cricket jersey, Matthew Taylor looked like he was having a real hoot playing Gerald. In recent years Matthew has taken on all manner of roles in countless productions and once again he showed great versatility as the toff you couldn’t help but love.
The sultry chalk to Matthew’s hilarious cheese was Lizzy Lerpinere’s Jacquie. Lizzie had the glamour of a sophisticated socialite you’d spot quaffing a glass of champagne in Sloane Square.
The confidence that she had when she was playing Rizzo last year was there but Jacquie demanded a slightly more refined and mature edge which Lizzie brought in abundance.
The Hareford household was jam packed with interesting characters.
Jerry Ponder brought the laughs as Parchester; Kate Lester was tremendous as the stupendously snobby Lady Battersby, having her on stage husband Nigel Warren firmly under the thumb and Rick Mondeau was delightfully doddery as Sir Jasper.
At the other end of the social scale Rosie Daley made a brilliant Mrs Brown while Josh Bimson put it in an accomplished performance as the Hareford’s premier manservant Charles.
Director Eloner Crawford promised that ‘Me and My Girl’ would be the ‘happiest show in town’ and it was a promise that was most definitely upheld.
Bill Snibson: Dougal Affleck
Sally Smith: Holly Thomas
Jacquie: Lizzie Lerpiniere
Gerald: Matthew Taylor
Duchess Maria: Genny Dixon
Sir John: Euan McIver
Lord Battersby: Nigel Warren
Lady Battersby: Kate Lester
Parchester: Jerry Ponder
Charles: Josh Bimson
Mrs Worthington: Worthington: Sara Thomas
Mrs Stainsley Asheron: Cath Nicol
Lady Brighton: Alex Watson
Pearly Queen: Lynn Gray
Cockneys: Hannah Hay, Emily Drewery, Scarlett Hardy, Rachel Gray, Claudia Watson
The Ancestors: Mike Hedderwick, Bob Noble, John McEwen, Peter Lerpiniere
Bob Barking: Patrick Watson
Mrs Brown: Rosie Daley
Boy: Arron Lyall
Policeman/Barman: Ian Haig
Guests: Jane Blaikie, Rosie Laird, Emma Taylor, Janice Wilson
Producer: Eloner Crawford
Musical Director: Mike Hardy
Choreography: Sarah Aitken
Stage Manager: Jim McDevitt