Thursday, January 26, 2012

Shows and Musicals 1960 - 61

These reviews are taken from The Boarder - School Magazine Issue 4 July 1961

MUSIC HALL

Tension mounted during the two weeks preceding the performance of the first Music Hall. The idea was put to the Entertainments Committee by Mr Lovatt and it was decided that each house was to provide a number of Variety acts and Mr Thomas and Mr Cox were invited to produce a complete show from the available material. A Minstrel Group was formed to provide a theme for the show and to help link the acts. They were given the traditional black faces and straw hats, all of which was aimed at obtaining the proper atmosphere. Basically Olde Tyme Music Hall. The staff also added to the atmosphere by their presence in the auditorium.
Nor did the staff content themselves with being in the audience : we had Mr Cox as Master of ceremonies, complete with white tie, tails and outsize mustache - the latter at lest for some of the time - and he had the audience in fits of laughter between the acts. Mr Foy and Mr Cox sang Underneath the Arches or at least made an effort at doing so. Wearing battered trousers, ragged raincoats and with drooping cigarettes, their appearance was reminiscent of  Flanders and Allen, the significance of which was, for the most part, lost on their youthful audience. Needless to say they were a hit as was Mr Chopping with his lecture on present day pop music.

From the boys was had Yates and Graham topping the bill as Mr Lockiter and Mr Bones indulging in Soft-shoe  and from Dudley we saw a rio of roof-raisers in Smith, Hodkinson and M. Brown. They were dressed as policemen and sang The Bold Gendarmes. This was extremely comical because Brown and Smith are both about six feet tall and Hodkinson who stood between them was about three feet tall.

During the interval the Red Robins under the direction of Mr Foy, excelled themselves, playing for the audience to sing with them such old tunes as You are my Honeysuckle, Just like Ivy, Lily of Laguna, Don't Dilly Dally, and others. Our thanks are due to Mrs Oxendale for playing with the orchestra and helping with the accompanying of various acts, and to the Bursar and domestic staff for providing  refreshments in the form of Hot dogs and cordial which were eaten at the tables spread across the room.

It would be impossible to mention all those concerned in this production, but I am certain the audience were all extremely grateful. For a school of our size the show was a notable achievement and there would be no lack of support if another were suggested.

R. Lucas Form V

THE BELGRADE THEATRE PERFORMANCE OF MACBETH

On March 21st Coventry Education Authority organised a matinee performance of Macbeth to be held at the Belgrade theater, Coventry for all GCE Literature candidates in Coventry schools. Mr Partridge agreed to take the five candidates and, after a pleasant journey, we arrived at the new theatre.

The play was produced by George roman. Michael Atkinson gave an excellent interpretation of the leading role. In the murder scene he held the audience spellbound by the eerie atmosphere he created by his dramatic gestures and fine voice control. he was well supported by Sheila Keith as Lady Macbeth.

Michael Rothwell as the Porter added to the play's enjoyment by giving the Porter's scene a distinction of its own and in more than one line of his long speech he had the audience in fits of laughter; this made a pleasing contrast with the rest of the play.

From our privileged position in the front box we had a superb uninterrupted view of the stage. the whole day was enjoyed by all who attended and they showed their appreciation of an excellent production by giving the cast four curtain calls to thunderous applause.

K. Moyle Form V

THE GREAT BELL OF BURLEY

This year's production differed from that of previous years in one major respect. Whereas in previous productions the accent had been on either humour or fantasy or both with music, lyrics and plot all sharing equal roles. "The Great bell of Burley" has an essentially simple plot, but the music, requiring complex choral work as an intrinsic part of its execution, was all important. This can perhaps be termed our first venture into the realm of opera.

As a first venture, the play was a success, as all plays must be when the major part of the audience belong to that least critical group of people - parents and friends of the actors. The music upon which so much depended in this production was more effective in the choral work than in some of the solos, largely because of the difficulty of finding well-developed bass voices among boys who are only sixteen years of age.

R. Graham and R. Yates sand their sometimes difficult songs very well and were ably supported in their performance by M McAvoy, J Batts, J Bolster A Fields and D Wharmby B Warman, leading his group of very aged bell ringers, once again managed to bring an air of comedy into the production.

No small part of the success of this production was due to the colourful costumes and to the excellent scenery and lighting and stage effects. the costumes were designed and made largely by Mr Thomas, Mr Elkins-Green and Mr Place, and we are very grateful to the Parents Association for their gifts of the canvas from which we were able to construct some much needed scenery flats. Mr Chopping was responsible for the very effective lighting. The training of the soloists and choruses was done by Mr Lovatt and Mr Thomas, who also played the musical accompaniment on two pianos, while the production was in the hands of Mr Cox. No small tribute must be paid to Mr Warman whose services in the make-up department are very much appreciated and most invaluable.

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