Author: Eddie Regan
Ruddigore or the Witch’s Curse was the ninth of fourteen comic operettas written by Gilbert and Sullivan and it has seen many changes and alterations since 1887.Following the end of copyright restrictions in 1963, companies have been able to restore material and also put their own spin on various aspects of topical interest.The specially invited Orchestra, after an untidy opening, treated us to a rousing version of the Overture to this piece.
The curtains opened to a well constructed, designed set with the addition of a bollard to be used for tying up boats but this one had the word Fishergate painted on it. The opening chorus of Bridesmaids entered through the auditorium distributing business cards printed with the words “Bridesmaids for Hire”. The address on the cards was Zora and Ruth, Fishergate Cottage and from that moment we became aware that this would be a Production, very much, “ tongue in cheek”.Director, Philip Walsh and Producer, Sue Hurrell, together with Musical Director, Merle Winstanley and Choreographer, Jade Milner had clearly put many hours of rehearsals into this production. Jane Milner’s Choreography was imaginative and it certainly enhanced the performances of both Principals and Ensemble. Projection and Diction were particularly good in the dialogue but sadly enunciation was lacking in many of the musical numbers.
The Act 2 Set was spectacular, depicting the Family Picture Gallery and the Ancestor’s costumes and lighting effects drew applause from the audience.
There were some excellent performances from some of the Principal Characters.Rowena Perry as Mad Margaret gave a sensitive and original portrayal and as she entered for her first appearance she knocked over the aforementioned bollard with her pram, much to the delight of the audience. This was a local reference to a recent happening in Preston.Angela Lee as Dame Hannah gave a flawless performance, showing her experience and complete understanding of the role.
I enjoyed David Twizell’s performance as Old Adam Goodheart. He has a splendid voice, both spoken and musical and he certainly appeared to be enjoying the character.
Amy Louise Hardy reprised her role as the demure Rose Maybud and played her part with confidence especially when being wooed by Robin Oakapple, Robert Feeley and Richard Dauntless, Peter Bowden who both showed their vast experience.
All in the Production, were impeccably dressed and this together with very good lighting and sound helped to provide a very enjoyable evening. Many visiting G. & S. Societies were in the audience tonight and appeared to have enjoyed their visit, as did my wife and myself. Thank you for your warm welcome.