Wed 9th to Sat 12th March 2016
- Director – Iain Waddell
- Musical Director – Austin Poll
- Rehearsal Pianist – Carol Griffiths
- Tommy Albright – David Steele
- Fiona MacKeith – Abigail Cole
- Charlie Cameron – Alan Hastings
- Jean MacKeith – Georgie Roberts
- Meg Brockie – Eleanor Peberdy
- Mr Murdoch – Stewart Vick
- Maggie Abernethy – Kirsty Hendry
- Mr McKeith – Russell Jones
- Jane Ashton – Helen Hastings
- Sandy/Piper – David Hill
- Stuart Cameron – Dennis Crowe
- Donald Ritchie – Marcus Brampton
- Frank (Barman) – J.J. Walsh
- Jeff Douglas – Steve Skinner
- Agnes McMonies – Melanie Hart
- Harry Ritchie – Elliot Mitchell
Brigadoon, Astwood Bank Operatic Society, Palace Theatre, Redditch, 9-12th March 2016
This happy little opera, with its funny one-liners, certainly brought a smile to the face throughout, while the Lerner and Loewe musical magic shone through from curtain up. Brigadoon tells the unlikely but quaint story of two tourists from New York who stumble upon a mysterious Scottish village which appears for only one day every 100 years before disappearing into the rolling mists.
One of the hunting pair, Tommy, falls head over heels in love with one of the inhabitants, Fiona, which presents him with somewhat of a dilemma! Tommy is played by the naturally gifted David Steele. His vast experience in the field of opera really showed through with his calm and easy approach to the part. And his partner on stage, Abigail Cole as Fiona, complemented the pairing perfectly with her crystal clear voice and calm and comfortable manner. And what about the experienced hand of Steve Skinner (he has been with ABOS for over 40 years – it says so in the programme!) as the second tourist Jeff? Steve’s puzzled facial expressions were perfect for the part from beginning to end, while his rather uncomfortable liaison with Eleanor Peberdy as the buxom and sex hungry Meg was beautifully executed. Eleanor herself, a relative newcomer to the society, has quickly gathered a reputation for her professionalism and singing prowess. Then we move onto Alan Hastings as Charlie Cameron and his bride to be, Jean MacKeith, portrayed by Georgina Roberts. Alan’s enjoyment for opera really shows through in his diligent performances, while Georgina, who likes to be known primarily as a dancer, proved she certainly has more than one feather to her bow.
A bit like an Oscar acceptance speech, it’s difficult and probably unwise to mention everyone who had a role in this large cast, but ABOS always put on a professional and most worthwhile show. One of the difficult parts about putting on a show such as this must be in maintaining the (mainly Scottish) and American accents throughout, and this aspect really did work as, while always there, it was not overpowering. Music for songs such as Almost Like Being in Love and The Heather on the Hill were led from the competent baton of musical director Austin Poll, and it should never be underestimated just what a pivotal and hard working role the orchestra plays in a show such as this. This was a really enjoyable show, so congratulations must go to all.
Brigadoon delight as the Highlands come alive to the sound of music at the Palace Theatre, Redditch
LERNER and Loewe’s wonderfully romantic tale Brigadoon was brought lovingly to life by Astwood Bank Operatic Society with a production that hit all the right notes.
The mood was created from curtain up: The Highlands of Scotland conjured up by a stunning set as the packed audience was magically transported back to 1746, the Jacobite Rebellion and a moment caught in time for ever.
Under the baton of Austin Poll, the orchestra never missed a beat, keeping the pace rolling and giving the leads just the backing they needed, and my how they shone.
David Steele brought his easy manner and warm rich voice to the role of the love-struck American tourist Tommy Allbright while the object of his eye, Abigail Cole’s Fiona MacKeith. had a voice that’s was clear and pure as a bell.
Supporting them was Steve Skinner’s wise-cracking Jeff Douglas and Eleanor Peberdy’s man-eating Meg Brockie who together kept the mood light and the laughs coming in.
A special mention too for the dance and ballet skills of Georgie Roberts’s Jean MacKeith and the big hearted open singing of her betrothed Charlie Cameron, played by Alan Hastings, while Helen Hastings did a great turn as Tommy’s nagging fiancee Jane Ashton.
However this was really a triumph for the entire ensemble and their director Iain Waddell. Roll on the next production!
Ross Crawford – Redditch Standard
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