Comedy, jazz and dance make up intoxicating stage cocktail

Hebden Bridge Light Opera Society cast in  the Drowsy Chaperone.
Hebden Bridge Light Opera Society cast in the Drowsy Chaperone.

From the opening chorus to the final curtain, this latest production by Hebden Bridge Light Opera Society pulls out all the musical stops.

A toe-tapping evening of slick comedy, good jazzy numbers and great dancing, all complemented by beautiful costumes, the story is one of a lonely man, occasionally suffering from “the blues”, who reminisces about his favourite musical, one which he has never seen as he only has the record - lo! in his mind it comes to life in his drab apartment.

Tales of mistaken identity take the audience on an entertaining flight of fantasy.

The part of the Chaperone is a tour de force for the magnificent Sara-Jo Cooper, who is more than a match for Elaine Paige on the show’s theme tune “As we stumble along”. Sara-Jo is superbly matched by Michael Keegan as the lusty Latin lover Adolpho.

Michael has also stepped into the part of Man in Chair (narrator) at the last minute, providing much additional fun in the role.

Marilyn Mitchell shines as the delightfully ditzy Mrs Tottendale, ably supported by her long-suffering underling, played by Peter Thomasson complete with very stiff upper lip and drinks tray permanently at the ready.

The young lovers Robert Martin and Janet van de Graaff are David Wilson and Emily Thornton, perfectly cast and singing their hearts out.

Dire disasters loom large for Mr Feldzieg the producer and his young girlfriend Kitty, played in Twenties “Follies” style by the commanding Mike Holdsworth and the chirpy Pippa Wilson. They just can’t get away from the local Gangsters, the laugh-a-minute Luke Moorhouse and Ben Drury, masquerading as pastry cooks and ending up as backing dancers!

Worth the price of the ticket alone is an early show-stopping number which includes some great tap-dancing. Step forward Ashley Davies, playing the Best Man.

The show ends on a gloriously uplifting note, with the experienced Patricia Brennan soaring through the skies as Trix the Aviatrix conducting wedding ceremonies in her airship.

Neatly and bouncily choreographed by Tamara Swan and produced by John Eastwood, the show benefited from the superb musical direction of Giselle Herbert, who led a note-perfect swinging band which had the audience tapping its feet from the word go.

l TICKETS available at Harold Crabtree’s, Hebden Bridge, or the ticket hotline 01422 842371. The show runs at The Little Theatre until Saturday, including a matinee.