No, not for the Society quite yet, but 50 years on the stage for our founder member Robin Ożóg. Robin is pictured here receiving his 50th Year Award from NODA Scotland Councillor, Stuart McCue-Dick.
Admittedly “that happened some time ago”, to quote Nanki-Poo – it was reported on in the November NODA magazine at this link, and we missed it at the time – but when better to catch up than on Frederic’s 41st birthday? After all, that was a role that Robin played in Dunfermline way back in 1974.
Next week Robin will be playing the part of Don Alhambra with Kirkcaldy Gilbert & Sullivan Society in The Gondoliers. NODA tells us that this will be his 122nd show; our own programme reveals that it also marks what must be a record, for Robin will then have played every single male principal part in the opera, from tenor to baritone, and romantic lead to ‘undertaker’, via a certain “Castilian hidalgo of ninety-five quarterings”! Well done, Robin, on this richly-deserved recognition of your contribution to amateur theatre.
Our HMS Pinafore quarter-deck had five happy cast members after the Saturday matinée. To find out who they are, and why they are happy, go to this link!
NODA awards were presented on-stage after the matinee performance on Saturday 22 February by Stuart McCue-Dick, Councillor for NODA (Scotland), with two other NODA personnel in attendance – Dorothy Johnstone, Regional Representative for District 6 (Edinburgh area) and reviewer for this show, and our very own Mike Pendlowski, appearing as his alter ego, the Regional Representative for District 7 (Fife).
These awards recognising service to amateur theatre went to:
- Joan Bell: 30 year Silver Bar
- Geoff Strong: 30 year Silver Bar
- Morag Riley: 25 year Long Service Medal
- Mary Alexander: 20 year Badge
- Clare White: 20 year Badge
This post will work its way down the page, but you can see all the recent presentation history at this link.
Dorothy Johnstone attended our Saturday matinée and reported on behalf of NODA:
An open stage revealed a stunning set with a group of sailors setting the scene meandering across the quarter deck of HMS Pinafore. These sailors then danced throughout the overture treating us to hornpipes and more balletic styles of dance. A novel concept which worked really well. The multi-level set with its many barrels and boxes strategically placed was used to great advantage. Although stylised in many ways in the manner of Gilbert and Sullivan there was a real freshness and originality about this production, especially in the use of props. Everything Little Buttercup sang about in her opening number was produced from her basket, inflatable ice cream cones and unicorn life belts appeared in the ever-popular “Never mind the why and wherefore”, and particularly impressive were the ever-changing hats worn by Sir Joseph Porter corresponding to his status as he climbed the ladder from office boy to ‘Ruler of the Queen’s Navy’. Clever!
The raucous group of sailors were in fine voice in the opening number and were disciplined and light-footed in their moves and routines using their hats. An appealing and sparkling Ralph Rackstraw (Geoff Lee) immediately gained the sympathy of the audience as he sang of his hopeless love for Josephine (Gillian Robertson), his captain’s daughter. There was a real rapport between these two, both convincing in conveying the turmoil of their feelings for each other in their duet “Refrain, audacious tar” and in Josephine’s aria “The hours creep on apace” which was wonderful and so effortless. Another clever touch here was the subtle setting left and right depicting rich and poor as Josephine weighs up the pros and cons of her future in matrimony. Josephine’s other suitor, Sir Joseph Porter (Robin Ożóg), gave a spirited performance with perfect diction and articulation in both spoken and sung word. Her father Captain Corcoran (Ross Main) looked well as a dignified upper-crust Captain, meaningfully expressing his emotions in the the lovely “Fair moon to thee I sing”. Good lighting added real atmosphere to this scene.
Buttercup (Liz Landsman) was obviously well loved by the crew and came across as a warm, caring woman who maintained her accent throughout and was quite mystical in her duet with Corcoran telling him that “Things are seldom what they seem” and finally revealing what she had done “A many years ago”. The motley crew members, the scheming almost loathsome Dick Deadeye (Nathan Macaulay-Dicks), Bill Bobstay (Jack Archibald) and Bob Becket (Willie Campbell), gave believable performances. Cousin Hebe doesn’t have a great deal to sing or say but Sinead Black injected real character into the part and looked quite charming.
This was a well-directed production with an accomplished principal cast and a very well vocally balanced chorus of sailors, sisters, cousins and aunts. There is certainly more for the men to do in HMS Pinafore than there is for women, but it is rare to see a bigger male then female chorus as was the case here. There was a real blend of voices in duets, ensembles and big chorus numbers, particularly in the finale of Act 1 and the rousing “He is an Englishman” where the part singing was most evident. A sympathetic orchestra supported the singers. The well-choreographed company movement and business using hats was well drilled and executed in a slick, confident manner. Colourful costumes and effective lighting enhanced this most enjoyable and well thought out production.
Thank you so much for inviting me along.
Our worthy bo’sun has given the production the thumbs up … as did everyone we spoke to after the show. One email we received said: “We thoroughly enjoyed the show yesterday – as always the performance was superb. It was good to see younger members performing. The backdrop as always was stunning. Well done to everyone. Next year will see … 20 years supporting the Dunfermline G&S. Book our usual seats!”
So, thank you to our loyal audience members, thank you to the cast (who will be missing their nightly intake of the goodies from Jack’s Caff!), and a special thank you to the Director, MD and stage staff who pulled the show together and made it something of which the Society can be proud.
We’ll have an archive page shortly, but don’t forget the next date for your diary, which is Friday 19 June, when our concert performance of The Mikado will have a very special guest in the role of Katisha! Watch this page for details.
… to see our HMS Pinafore team in action at Dunfermline’s Carnegie Hall. Rae put it well on Facebook when she said: “Loved the show last night! What a well-drilled crew and Porter family. Everyone was clearly having a ball, and that’s what I like to see.”
Your webmaster was also in the audience for the first performance of the Society’s latest production and was very impressed. Some fine singing, excellent characterisation, and a truly amazing number of moves for everyone in the chorus numbers – he was told later that one of the apparently simpler numbers had 60 moves – but, above all, great fun on stage, which came over very clearly to the audience.
We’re deliberately not showing any pictures of the set (appropriately nautical, and with some challenging changes in level, just like a real ship of the line), or the costumes (excellent to look at and, for the crew at least, claimed to be surprisingly comfortable), because we want to encourage you to ignore the present inclement weather, and head to Portsmouth harbour, where you will enjoy some splendid entertainment!
Did you see these guys in the Kingsgate Centre last Saturday? On stage right is Morag, our Chair; on stage left is Anne, our Finance Manager. Anne doubles as Ticket Sales Manager, so she’s the one who you need to speak to soon, to get your choice of tickets for what will be a great show! Phone our ticket hot-line on 07703 483083 or email ku.gro.ssagdnull@selastekcit.