WITHAM's White Horse Inn meant a trip down memory lane for many local residents. The society's spectacular production of this most popular musical in 1957 was still remembered with affection and so some 2,500 seats were sold before the curtain went up.
But last week’s edition was economically staged although it probably cost ever so much more and melodious attack was too often missing in much of the principals’ work. Thanks, however, to their dancing mistress Cynthia Stead, the well-dressed and lively chorus saved the day. They sang well too.
George Flint, making a welcome return to the Witham stage, made us believe in Leopold's undying affection for Josepha, so gracefully acted by Patsy Doy. Ewart Cornfield scored as a pocket-sized North-country comic and if Jo Wood did not actually yodel as the postwoman she put over the idea in a most charming manner.
There were polished performances from Hilary Brunning (Ottoline) and Tim Sheppard (Valentine), a powerful impression of the Emperor from Peter Charters and a distinct find for the society in a new soubrette - Avril Milne as Gretel.
Outstanding among many well-acted smaller parts was young Adam Wood as Karl and Robin Deadman certainly deserves a mention for his professional-type lighting. Betty Blower produced and Ken Ferris directed the orchestra.
“White Horse Inn”.
Witham Musical and Amateur Operatic Society,
Public Hall, Witham.
A 19 PIECE orchestra made all the difference to this colourful musical trip to Austria for a light hearted tale of couples in and out of love. Occasionally the music proved too loud for some of the singers who were themselves stronger at acting, but by and large they could be heard quite well.
The show was at its best during the choruses but there were some pleasant duets. Hilary Brunning as Ottoline proved to have the best voice in the company.
Apart from some wavering strings occasionally, the musical side was a credit to director Ken Ferris. Betty Blower has drilled her cast to give a smooth-running well-timed performance and choreographer Cynthia Stead has opted for modest but attractive dance sequences which complete the show which has a one week run.
WITHAM’S White Horse Inn is a picture postcard musical with the message “ having a wonderful time!” There are no songs like the old songs and this well-worn favourite is full of them.
The principals in Witham Musical and Amateur Operatic Society’s production are, with one exception, fairly undistinguished vocally but make up for it with plenty of bright and lively acting. Colchester’s George Flint dominates the stage as Leopold the lovelorn head waiter and Patsy Doy is completely charming as Josepha, the light of his life.
There’s a big chorus of pretty girls and Tyrolean gentlemen who dance with a will, thanks to Cynthia Stead's expert choreography. Hilary Brunning sings delightfully as Ottoline and, Witham’s Jack Buchanan, Tim Sheppard makes sure tickets have already been sold.