RECORD KEEPERS REPORT
Snow White - Harriet Flitton
This was a bright debut for the Totternhoe Players by Manshead Upper School Year 11 pupil, Harriet Flitton, who took on the lead role as the teenage heroine. She established a good rapport with her 7 diminutive housemates and sang her solo ‘Goodnight My Someone’ beautifully. Also showed grim determination to get through her and Prince Eric’s troublesome duet ‘Love Is All Around’.
Young Snow White - Siobhan Cook
Siobhan gave a delightful performance as the young Snow White. She sang confidently in the chorus scene and also reappeared in ballet costume as a Spirit of the Forest along with Nadine Watkins and Leander Moore. Well done to all three!
Queen Medusa - Julie Morrey *
This year’s star act* - by the common consent of my friends, at least - was Julie’s deliciously vampy portrayal of wicked Queen Medusa. Neither the temperamental mirror technology nor the ferocious Friday-night hecklers could throw her off her stride. The performance was quite simply out of this world: and so was the accent! It certainly wasn’t from any part of the world I’ve ever visited. “What are you, an estate agent now?” she demanded in a deep South African rasp.
Smee - Catherine Grieff
At last a role for Catherine to get her teeth into as the evil Smee, who eats children and dresses like an extra from the Rocky Horror Show. She proved an excellent foil to both Julie and Joan as Medusa and ad-libbed well when required. Pink highlights definitely suit her!
Ada - Ashley Steer
After a suberb debut last year as Widow Twankey in Aladdin, it was time for Ashley to don his frock once more as one half of the comedy duo Cis and Ada. He may lack the natural grace to ever be a truly convincing woman but, by God, can that man fill a bra! Flippin’ Ada!
Cis - Joanne McBrearty
A solid display, as ever, from Jo as the wise-cracking housewife, Cis. But, of course, it was her skill as Director that really made the show what it was. Or should I say, her skills as director, producer, choreographer, nanny, peacemaker, set-painter…and so on. Bravo!
Old Queen Medusa - Joan Gardner
Poor Joan! She was booed throughout; forced to wear a painful, and frankly ridiculous, false nose; and then pelted with rocks as she left. Still, as she was the author and co-director she doesn’t really have anyone to blame but herself! This was a typically strong performance as Medusa in “crone mode” and kept the second act ticking over nicely.
The Mirror - Joyce Brown
High technology came to Totternhoe this year as Joyce’s image was projected directly onto the mirror while she delivered her lines off stage. Joyce coped with this novel situation well and refused to get flustered, even when the microphone stopped working. (Credit to Mark and Simon for their technical assistance.)
King Charles of Patronia - Lindzi Hayward
An unchallenging role for Lindzi as the mesmerised King, and not just because he had to sit for long periods of time staring blankly into space! A juicy role as chief villain would make better use of his talents next time, I think. Unusually for him, he experienced some problems with his solo ‘Yesterday’. Once when he forgot the words and once when the Butler interrupted him by entering during the opening chords. Whoops!
Jack - David Freeley
It’s hard to believe that Dave is an absolute beginner on the evidence of this confident performance as the humble woodsman, Jack. He showed no fear of a difficult accent or of a song, sharing two duets with Karen: ‘Goodbye’ and ‘All You Need Is love’. Dave never stopped ad-libbing, even during the songs!
Mary - Karen Williams
Karen took on the role of Jack’s wife, Mary, with gusto and showed her musical ability in the duets ‘Golden Slumbers’, ‘Goodbye’ and ‘All You Need Is Love’. But that was nothing compared to her karaoke performance at the after show party! Her efforts as seamstress were greatly appreciated.
Prince Eric of Kardonia - Jonathan Goodson
A smaller role for Jonathan this time after taking the lead in last year’s production of Aladdin. But he did get to kiss the girl and wear a Spandau Ballet cast-off jacket, so he was quite happy. When it came to the final duet ‘Love Is All Around’, Jonathan and pianist Derek were completely in unison: but only in the sense that Jonathan insisted on coming in whenever he felt like it, and Derek also insisted on coming in whenever he felt like it. Poor Harriet just tried to come in whenever she could.
Sir John - Leander Moore
Leander gave a fantastic comic turn as the thigh-slapping Sir John, friend of Prince Eric, in what was her debut performance for the Totternhoe Players. The Year 13 pupil from Queensbury Upper also choreographed and lead the brilliant Spirits of the Forest ballet routine. And she was in charge of the cast’s makeup. Bravo!
The 7 Dwarfs
Declan Morrey is a fast improving young actor and used his phenomenally loud voice to good effect as Bossy, the leader of the gang. Bernadette Cahill showed good stage presence as the show off, Hammy, and got better with every show. Alex Cahill, Luke Stroud and Timothy Marshall all earned a laugh as Greedy, Boozy and the gastrially-challenged Windy, respectively. Jamie Hayward continued his good progress as Kindly, and worked well with his young charge Gormless, played by Nicholas Marshall, who didn’t miss a single cue. Well done all.
Queen Helena / Queen Katrina - Carol Richardson
Carol took on two small roles here, starting as the doomed and delicate Queen Helena before sweeping in right at the end as Queen Katrina. Her ‘Golden Slumbers’ duet with Karen was very nicely done, and we look forward to seeing more of her in future productions.
Hagrid - John Morrey
After years of complaining that he always ends up playing mute stooges and monsters etc, John finally got his wish of a scripted part this time round as the giant wizard, Hagrid. Despite missing almost all the rehearsals he made a pretty decent fist of it in the end, and even got the hang of the accent. Apparently JK Rowling wants him for the next Hogwarts film should anything happen to Robbie Coltrane.
Harry Potter - Joshua Grieff
Another confident debut performance, this time by young Joshua Grieff as Harry Potter. Josh did remarkably well to not be put off by the terrible hamming - and even more terrible accents - of Jack and Hagrid.
Butler/Town Crier - Geoff Brown
This was a below-par performance from Geoff in his usual panto role. Interrupting Lindzi’s solo and accidentally introducing the royal couple as “King Charles and Prince Helena” were particular low points. But this is rather churlish, of course, given that without his primary contribution at front-of-house and as set builder the show could never have been staged in the first place.
The Doctor - Simon Perkins
A mere cameo for Simon this time, after last year’s star performance as the baddie in Aladdin. But he still managed to squeeze a big laugh from his two lines with the aid of an uncontrollable toy stethoscope. As with Geoff, his highest praise came for his work on the scenery and set.
Musical Director - Derek Bird
Many thanks to Derek, once again, for his excellent accompaniment on piano to the singers. His ability to improvise during long scene changes is also greatly appreciated.
Lighting and Special Effects - Mark Elliot (M&M Promotions)
Mark provided all the usual electrical expertise and also provided the best heckle of the show. When Medusa is transformed by the potion, Joan enters (in Julie’s place) in full hag costume and says: “God, that’s strong stuff. But it worked though.” To which Mark replied: “Oh no it didn’t!” Cheeky!
Prompt - Dorothy Levens
Although not overly worked during the shows, Dorothy was far more than just a prompt. Her duties also included: starting the applause, retrieving dropped sheet music from under the piano; and basically anything else that the Musical Director ordered. Derek’s right-hand woman, as Mark would say!