IT is the 75th anniversary year of the Witham Amateur Operatic Society and last week's show, Anything Goes by Cole Porter, is set almost that long ago. The orchestra, under Brian Brown, zipped through the overture and set the atmosphere, maintained throughout the production, of the devil-may-care 1920s. Set mostly on board a transatlantic liner, the show is a vehicle for humorous one-liners and lively songs delivered in a variety of styles.
Pat McLeod was the star of the show. A sexy evangelist she had the best songs. Making full use of her brassy tones in Blow Gabriel Blow she had set the show off to a fine start with I Get a Kick Out Of You. Sue Rogers as the elegant Hope, the other leading lady, was a delightful contrast with her soft sweetness. David Holman, the hero, sang well with both the leading ladies; equally at ease singing the original words of You're the Top with Pat McLeod as he was with Sue Rogers in It’s De Lovely.
Pamela Adams was a fine American grande dame looking for a suitable hus¬band for her daugh¬ter Hope. She thought that she had found one in the foppish Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Stewart Adkins was foppish until near the end when he let his hair down and combined with Pat McLeod for probably the best number of the evening.
Michael Dunion was public enemy number 13 and Nicholas Clough the ship's captain. There were two excellent cameo roles. Kathryn Adkins full of vitality was a gangster's moll and Geoff Coverdale, a shortsighted, drunken tycoon.
A most enjoyable evening.
COLE Porter's Anything Goes still has two days to run this weekend at the Witham Public Hall. If you need cheering up, then hurry down there for an evening of great songs, witty dialogue and an endearingly hammy plot, most of which takes place on board a luxury transatlantic voyage.
Knock-out of the show is Pat McLeod giving another of her gutsy performances, this time as the sexy nightclub singer, Reno Sweeney. Reno is in pursuit of handsome (but poor) Billy Crocker who is in love with Hope Harcourt who loves him back but is betrothed to wealthy, naff, English Lord Evelyn Oakleigh for his money so that her Mama can live in luxury again.
Sue Rogers breathed life into the rather insipid character of Hope and Pamela Adams sharply depicted her money-minded mother. Stewart Adkins was an amusing presence as the raucous upper-class idiot. Mike Dunion is very funny as Moonface Martin, failed gangster. Good cameo performances are given by Ashley Saunders and Len Howard as the two Chinese converts.