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Wantage Stage Musical Company - Old Time Music Hall

On tour September and October 2006.

From the NWN.

Comedy in rude health

Wantage Stage Musical Company: Old Time Music Hall on tour, at New Greenham Arts, on Friday, October 13

Those who would mourn the death of British Comedy had better travel to the old capital of Wessex to see its resurrection at the hands of the Wantage Stage Musical Company, where it lives in rude health in every sense of the word.

The show was introduced by a Palace of Variety-style interlocutor Nigel Thornbory who not only made the evening go with crushed velvet and sardonic smile, but every now and again would disappear behind his pulpit to be seen rolling around on the floor behind in some unseen struggle. It emerges that he was changing into his costume as the Evil Duke in a truly hilarious and very crafty take-off of As you Like it.

Heading the campanology was Allyn Richardson, teaming up with the pouting Jenny Stickland in her most alluring negligée singing Let's do it tonight, a tribute to Victoria Wood. Jenny features also very prominently in the Shakespeare spoof, playing Deidre, only recognizable by her lover when she bends over (see what I mean by rude health?).

Not that this was just all knock-about; the ensemble singing was first quality and Georgina Hicks and the Georgettes, charming, disarming and far from alarming, were totally professional.

Congratulations too to Gill Morgan who did her own bit of show stopping despite loss of voice.

As for the audience, they had their say in no less than three invitations to join the chorus under the baton of Musical Director Michael Hurd and with the musical accompaniment of the admirable Roger Clarke. What really stole the show at these moments was a certain Chas Hart and the wondrously vivacious Anya Rollings, who kept up an immaculately coordinated comic commentary on the familiar songs as they rolled along.

Chas had already made his mark early on as "The Stage Manager" attired in nothing more than a cunningly knotted handkerchief and boots, chromium clasped, up to the knee. Such a spectacle had many male members of the audience asking questions about themselves until far into the night.

This very busy company are currently in rehearsal for Sweet Charity, on stage April 11-14th next year. Put it in the diary, because they are really funny, and incredibly well directed and produced by a self-effacing genius. Bring your fishnets, whoever you are.