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A Melodrama and a Comic Opera


12 - 13th May 1972


A R Taylor & W Ernest Cossons, W S Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan


Roy Venables, Roderick Henley



The Parish Players produced a most attractive double bill in the Parish Hall on the 12th and 13th May. Packed houses on both nights took every opportunity to hiss the villain in a conventional melodrama "Foiled and Counterfoiled". Aided by most ingenious sets constructed by the stage carpenters, a cast of seven made the most of the pathos and the best of the happy ending. Michael Newton, the villain, and the suffering wife played by Sheila Holden, led a most capable cast whose words and actions were clear and convincing. John Ashworth played appropriate cinema music on the piano throughout. The piece de resistance was Trial by Jury. It involved a cast of forty and was a roaring success, from the moment when the jurymen and public entered through the hall doors and made their way on to the stage, to the triumphant ending with the newsboy carrying the placard "Judge gets the Bird". This was the first time the Players had tried an operetta of this kind and it was really first-rate. Roderick Henley, the producer, has a wide experience of amateur operatics. He brought in all the excellent gimmicks worked out down the years by the D'Oyley Carte companies and added a few more of his own. The result brought the house down. The willing helpers backstage produced another excellent set and the wardrobe mistress cajoled not only eight fully fledged brides-maids' dresses and bride's attire for the plaintiff, but a really splendid array of late Edwardian attire for the jurymen and the ladies. Margaret Jessard accompanied most competently and the whole cast not only knew the words, but sang them and acted them out like professionals. Prize for the best voice must go to Richard Eve as the Defendant, a really fine tenor voice. He was closely followed by Lesley Mortley as the Plaintiff, Jack Tivers as the Judge, John Gout as Counsel, Nigel Horrocks as the Foreman and Graham Derriman as the Usher, who sang and acted their parts with great spirit and humour. Altogether a delightful evening. The Players' policy is to give every-one their chance and the two producers, Roy Venables and Roderick Henley, and all behind the scenes are to be heartily congratulated. 

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