Polished, Fast Moving Salad Days at Buxton


 Slade & Reynolds, Salad Days: North West Productions / Robert Owen (conductor and director), Buxton Gilbert & Sullivan Festival, Pavilion Theatre, Buxton, 29.7.2013  (RJW)

Salad Days Photo credit: Charles Smith

Salad Days
Photo credit: Charles Smith


Scott Payne … Tramp
Helen Mae-Rowan … Jane
Michael Bailey … Timothy
Vikki Earle… Tim’s mother
Benjamin Hamer… Tim’s father
Collette Hunter Aunt Prue
Hannah Hawkes … Lady Reaburn
Callum Stretton … PC Boot
Kieran Forbes… Sir Clamsby
Austin Roberts … Fosdyke
Harriet Frances Rosa … Margeurite/Lady/Slave/Dancer
Abbie Huxham … Fiona/Lady/Slave/Dancer

Choreographed by Rachel Saul

Slade & Reynolds wrote another musical five years later, Free as Air (1957), which is an appropriate description for this production, the third to be presented at the Buxton Festival. The show is a good choice for it was written at the Bristol Old Vic Repertory Company and although players took on multiple parts, here they have been usefully spread around to engage a larger cast.

From the opening, the performance had a lot of polish, was fast-moving and energetically played by the cast. Essential to the production’s success is the portrayal of its principal characters, Timothy and Jane, who between them carry the show. Timothy is scatty and frivolous, rather like Freddie in The Blandings while Jane is a down-to-earth commonsense type full of innocence who can handle people confidently. In their roles, the magnetic charm of Michael Bailey and Helen Mae-Rowan was spell-binding: they are both outstanding singers and fantastic dancers, even achieving a graceful double ‘splits’ at the end of one number. Set in the 1950s, Rachel Saul’s dance routines were elegant: they were appropriate for the period and looked good.

In Robert Owen’s production care has been taken to achieve good characterisations which gave added interest to the many inset scenes (originally conceived to allow scene changing). Only the “Hush, hush” scene is poorly written and seems to slow down the action but this is Dorothy Reynold’s fault, not that of the cast. Perhaps the most amusing scene was when PC Plot (Callum Stretton) trying to explain ‘Offence’ to the thick Sergeant (Ben Hamer). Amusing too was the sloppy maid with her inelegant walk and ungraceful mannerisms. (I think we have all seen this stereotype in reality.)

Accurate and lively-paced accompaniment was played by Robert Owen on a real piano, with the addition of percussion. And when I say ‘real’ I mean exactly this for the team struggled to replace the Pavilion Theatre keyboard substitute with proper piano to bring the best out of the score. Well done on another well-attended presentation at Buxton.

Raymond J Walker                        

Print Friendly


Comments are closed.

Recent Reviews


Season Previews

  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Forthcoming Schubert Song Series in Leeds and Sheffield __________________________________
  • NEW! Svetlana Zakharova and Bolshoi Stars Bring Amore to the London Coliseum in November __________________________________
  • NEW! Tom Green and Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife Premieres on 15 October in Cardiff __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Ballet’s 2017 – 2018 Autumn/Winter Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Contemporary Music from Manchester’s Psappha in 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! I Musicanti’s ‘Alexandra and the Russians’ at St Johns Smith Square, 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2017 Oxford Lieder Festival – The Last of the Romantics __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • NEW! Birmingham and Beyond: Ex Cathedra in 2017/18 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Opera’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

  • NEW! What is the Critic’s Job? A Review of A. O. Scott’s Recent Book __________________________________
  • NEW! English Music Festival in Yorkshire Lifts the Lid Off an English Treasury __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Philadelphia’s Inaugural O17 Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! A FULLY STAGED PILGRIM’S PROGRESS IN ORLEANS, MA __________________________________
  • NEW! JIŘÍ BĔLOHLÁVEK (1946-2017) AND THE CZECH CONDUCTING LEGACY __________________________________
  • NEW! JUSTIN DOYLE DISCUSSES MONTEVERDI WITH MARK BERRY __________________________________
  • NEW! Katie Lowe Wins the 2017 Elizabeth Connell Prize __________________________________
  • NEW! Opportunity for a Rare Composition Masterclass with Gavin Bryars in April 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! ITINÉRAIRE BAROQUE 2017: TON KOOPMAN TALKS TO COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House in Mumbai is Restored to its Former Glory __________________________________
  • NEW! iSING! – International Young Artists Festival in Suzhou, China __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H