PERFORMANCE OF 24TH APRIL 1998
WITHAM A. O. S.
THE PAJAMA GAME
Not performed too frequently nowadays, this remains a show with plenty of scope to entertain. In this production, directed by Cynthia Stead, sets were very effective and well managed on the small stage, with good costumes and hair styles matching the period. Ensemble work was sometimes appropriately energetic, but not always so. For instance 'Once a Year Day' had plenty of fizz, whereas 'Racing with the Clock' didn't really convince either in energy or volume.
Stewart Adkins was in good voice as Sorokin, torn between his attraction to Babe and his need to settle the pay dispute. Elisabeth Ladd's Babe was underplayed somewhat, with a resultant lack of tension between her and Sorokin, and her pleasant voice was sometimes no match for the orchestra. Paul Chittleborough was a suitably frenetic and unstable Hines; Kathryn Adkins gave us a glamorous and provocative Gladys, excellent with the men in an evocative Steam Heat; Nick Clough's Hasler was strong and uncompromising, and Pat Briggs, as Mabel, kept things running smoothly in the office. Michael Dumon's Prez was nicely comic, but a little subdued, presumably so as to maintain the right relationship with Babe as played.
Under M.D. Jill Parkin's baton the orchestra did not quite provide the degree of support which was needed, and too often was insensitive to the stage output.
Well received by a rather smaller audience than usual for Witham, a lot of work by the company was very evident, but nevertheless there were periods where more vitality and drive were needed. As usual, a highly informative, well laid out and often amusing programme.