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

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! 2018-2019 Geneva Grand Theâtre Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Hallé Season in Manchester __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 CBSO at Symphony Hall, Birmingham __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 BBC NOW in Cardiff and Swansea __________________________________
  • NEW! The Twelfth English Music Festival Coming Soon in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Kenneth MacMillan’s The Sleeping Beauty at the London Coliseum in June __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018/19 Birmingham Classical Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe Star in The King and I at the London Palladium __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 BBC Proms __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera Celebrates its 25th Anniversary with Nicolò Isouard’s Cinderella __________________________________
  • NEW! Pop-Up Opera’s 2018 Mozart Double Bill __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera in 2018/2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Let’s Dance International Frontiers (LDIF) 2018 Celebrates its Eighth Year __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Chess at the London Coliseum from 26 April for 5 Weeks __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Abandoned Liszt Opera Sardanapalo Premieres in Weimar in August __________________________________
  • NEW! THE TENOR RUSSELL THOMAS IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • NEW! RAFAL BLECHACZ IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! The London Orchestra Project’s Metamorphosen on 27 May at LSO St Luke’s __________________________________
  • NEW! MARKUS POSCHNER IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Chelsea Opera Group Perform Massenet’s Thaïs at the Cadogan Hall on 23 June __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Carly Paoli Sings for Chelsea Pensioners, at Cadogan Hall, and Signs for Sony/ATV __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • NEW! A First Charity Classical Music Concert at Finchcocks on 27 May __________________________________
  • NEW! MICHAEL SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • NEW! Trinity Laban Moves to Abolish All-Male Composer Concerts __________________________________
  • NEW! ARABELLA STEINBACHER IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! THE CONDUCTOR LAURENCE EQUILBEY IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month