Polished, Fast Moving Salad Days at Buxton

02/08/2013

 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

Cast:

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

Comments are closed.

Recent Reviews

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music at London’s Southbank Centre in 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music in 2017-18 at London’s Barbican __________________________________
  • NEW! 2017 50th Blossom Music Festival season in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio __________________________________
  • NEW! The Carnegie Hall 2017-2018 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Preview of the LA Opera 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Grange Park Opera’s 2017 Season in its New Opera House __________________________________
  • NEW! Garsington Opera’s Extended 2017 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2017-18 Barbican Classical Music Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Symphonic Soundscapes: Cadogan Hall and RPO Announce Exclusive Collaboration with Digital App Octava __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2017 Aldeburgh Festival is from 9 to 25 June __________________________________
  • NEW! The Grange Festival’s First Season in June and July 2017 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! PIANIST ALEXANDER KARPEYEV IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • UPDATED IN MEMORIAM NICOLAI GEDDA (1925-2017) __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • NEW! Reviews of Opera in Mumbai: A Gala and La Bohème Revisited __________________________________
  • NEW! FIVE YOUNG SINGERS JOIN THE JETTE PARKER YOUNG ARTISTS FOR 2017 __________________________________
  • NEW! THE SOPRANO ELISABETH MEISTER: FIGHTING BACK FROM WHAT LIFE THROWS AT YOU AND INSPIRING OTHERS __________________________________
  • NEW! REVIEWERS OF SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL PICK THEIR BEST OF 2016 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Mastersingers Celebrate Wagner Past and Present with the Rehearsal Orchestra __________________________________
  • NEW! MARTYN BRABBINS IS ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA’S NEW MUSIC DIRECTOR __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H