Epsom Light Opera Company

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2016 Mame

Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman
Book by Jerome Lawrence & Robert E Lee

Based on the Novel by Patrick Dennis and the Play AUNTIE MAME by Lawrence and Lee

at the Epsom Playhouse
Autumn 2016

Director - James Fortune
Music Director - Francis Griffin
Choreographer - Charlotte Thompson 

Cast List

Main Characters

MAME: Lisa Scott
YOUNGER PATRICK: Freddie Wilson
VERA CHARLES: Charlie Hoddell
BEAUREGARD JACKSON PICKETT BURNSIDE: Chris Evans
AGNES GOOCH: Caron Ireland
ITO: Dilip Patel
OLDER PATRICK: Rick Qureshi
PEGEEN RYAN: Emily Evans
DWIGHT BABCOCK: Andy Robson
LINDSAY WOOLSEY: Stephen Chalkley
GLORIA UPSON: Jenevieve Phillipson
MRS UPSON: Sandra Zeffman
MR UPSON: Paul Hyde
MOTHER BURNSIDE: Monica Turnbull
SALLY CATO: Rebeca Cenamor
UNCLE JEFF: Alex Land
COUSIN FAN: Rachel Yelland
RALPH DEVINE: Charlie Blencowe
MADAME BRANISLOWSKI: Monica Turnbull
GREGOR: Max Marchesi
PETER DENNIS: Freddie Wilson
DOORMAN: Daniel Crego-Bustelo
ELEVATOR BOY: Max Marchesi
MESSENGER: Simon Ferrier
ART MODEL: Rebeca Cenamor
ARTIST: Rachel Yelland
DANCE TEACHER: Louise Laithwaite
LEADING MAN: Russell Thompson
STAGE MANAGER: Daniel Crego-Bustelo
JUNIOR BABCOCK: Russell Thompson
BISHOP: Alex Land
FRANK: Paul Hyde
EDNA: Lucinda Banton

Dancers

Helen Pennicard (Dance Captain), Lucinda Banton, Melanie Beggs, Kat Callow, Emma Clandon, Emily Evans, Rose Verrill, Hannah Wade, Daniel Crego-Bustelo, Simon Ferrier, Tyrone Haywood, Russell Thompson

Chorus

Helen Ash, Anthony Black, Charlie Blencowe, Rebeca Cenamor, Stephen Chalkley, Sarah Farley, Jill Howlett, Paul Hyde, Louise Laithwaite, Max Marchesi, Julie Parker, Jenevieve Phillipson, Jane Platts, Rick Qureshi, Monica Turnbull, Imogen Wallis, Karen Wilson, Ruby Wilson, Rosalind Wright, Rachel Yelland, Sandra Zeffman

Show Synopsis

ACT ONE
Thrust into the noisy Hell of 1928 Manhattan, newly orphaned Patrick Dennis, age 10, and Agnes Gooch, his faithful nanny, try to find his only living relative, a certain Mame Dennis of No. 3 Beekman Place (St. Bridget). In Mame's penthouse apartment, a wild party is going on as an astonished Patrick and Agnes arrive (It's Today). Mame, a hard-drinking bon viveur, is introduced to her new ward and immediately undertakes his care in the only way she knows how, to the horror of bank appointed trustee Dwight Babcock. Mame and Babcock disagree about Patrick's schooling; she wants him to experience life to the full. (Open a New Window). Babcock is appalled and finally sends Patrick away to school as Wall Street crashes and the Great Depression begins. Mame is now penniless and accepts any job she can, including being the Moon Lady in a musical which stars her friend Vera Charles (The Man In the Moon). Of course, it's a disaster and Mame says she is a failure. "Not to me," says Patrick. "Never to me." (My Best Girl). Mame then becomes a manicurist and meets Southern gentleman Beauregard Jackson Picket Burnside, whom she immediately likes but she damages his hands so badly, she is fired again. To lighten the desperate mood, Mame proclaims instant Christmas, though it's early December. Patrick is home for the weekend, and Mame brings out presents for him, Ito and Gooch. When Beau appears and takes them out for a meal, happy days are here again (We Need a Little Christmas). Beau wants to marry Mame but must first get the approval of his family, particularly his mother, Mother Burnside. He takes Mame to Peckerwood, the Burnside plantation where his horsey ex-fiancé, Sally Cato, manoeuvres Mame into declaring herself a horsewoman and who obligingly equips her with riding togs, side-saddle and a mount, Lightnin' Rod, known to be completely mad. Mame surprises everyone by staying on the horse and even bringing the fox back alive! Beau proposes and the South rises to welcome her to Dixie (Mame).


ACT TWO
Young Patrick regularly writes to his aunt and new uncle wherever they are in the world on their extended honeymoon. The years slip by and suddenly Patrick is grown. He is tall, shaves and goes out with girls. Only his typing is the same (The Letter). There comes harsh news, brought by old friend Babcock Junior, Dwight Babcock's son. Beau has slipped off the Matterhorn and been killed. Mame calls Patrick on the overseas telephone and is comforted by him (My Best Girl – Reprise). Back in Mame's apartment, Vera and publisher friend Lindsay Woolsey prepare to organise a new life for the widowed Mame, now wealthy again, deciding that she is to write her memoirs. Mame accepts, and she and Vera remember old times. (Bosom Buddies). Mame and Vera decide to remake Gooch as a swinger. With a shot of whiskey, red dress, no glasses, her bust freed, high heels, lipstick and perfume she is sent out into the world to Live! Live! Live! Six months later she returns looking much as she did before but bigger; she's pregnant! (Gooch's Song). Gooch's Gloria Upson, who is very prejudiced and square and would be shocked to see properly meet the Gloria's parents at an engagement party in their revolting inedible canapés, plus an assortment of the Upsons' young ones when the oldies' backs are turned (That's How Young I Feel). house plot next door, thereby keeping out the riff-raff. Mame takes domesticity. Patrick says, "Yes," and he and Mame have a terrible row. Walked Into My Life). With her apartment newly redecorated by Upsons are coming to dinner, as are Dwight Babcock, now tent-sized, comes down for her calcium pills, the own disgusting canapés and the Upsons, including become attracted to pretty Pegeen and thanks engagement. Some years later (World War II has Peter, son of Patrick and Pegeen. Mame is off again Peter with her. At first, Pegeen won't hear of it but is starting all over again. Mame is, after all, completely presence at Beekman Place provides a problem for Patrick; he has a new girl, his aunt sheltering a "Fallen Woman". Patrick consents to have Mame palatial barn. Mame is served daiquiris made with strained honey and unsolicitedprejudices.Mame,irrepresibleasalways,danceswiththe The Upsons want Mame to buy the engaged couple the 'restricted' Patrick aside and asks him if he's sure he wants this kind of hidebound He storms out leaving Mame to wonder where she went wrong (If He pretty Pegeen Ryan, Mame hopes for a reconciliation. The Vera and an assortment of Mame's cronies. When Gooch, engagement is threatened. Mame calmly serves her Gloria, storm out. But it is not all bad as Patrick has Mame for getting him out of his previous snuck by), there is a new male child in the house; for another round-the-world trip and wants to take persuaded to relent by Patrick who realises that it's incorrigible (Finale).

James-Fortune JAMES FORTUNE - DIRECTOR
James has been writing and directing all his life including feature films both in Europe and Hollywood such as 'Olympus Force' starring Christopher Lee, Joss Ackland, Linda Thorson, Richard Todd and Linda Lusardi. Shows in the West End include 'Prisoner Cell Block H' starring Lily Savage, 'Stand By Me' starring Grace Kennedy and 'Troubadour' starring Kim Braden. On television, James wrote and directed 'To Be Perfectly Frank' starring Michael Crawford. Semi-professional theatre productions have included 'Kiss Me Kate' for BANAOS, 'Calamity Jane' for the Lyric Players and his hilarious and unique production of 'HMS Pinafore' for Leatherhead Operatic Society. This is James's fifth show as director for ELOC, the previous ones being 'The Witches of Eastwick', 'Titanic - the Musical', 'Parade' and 'HMS Pinafore'. Two of these won the coveted NODA award for Excellence, our equivalent of the amateur Oscars. He also won two NODAs for his version of 'Sweeney Todd' for WAOS. James is a Member of the Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star, one of only 200 in the world, and is a four times Surrey Magic Champion! James is a professional performer and a magical consultant to the entertainment industry.
Francis-Griffin

FRANCIS GRIFFIN - MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Francis Griffin studied the horn at the Royal College of Music. He started conducting shortly after leaving college and has worked with Operatic Societies and orchestras throughout the South East and has appeared in the South Bank and Barbican centres. His repertoire is varied, ranging from Classical Symphonies and Operas through to Musicals. Performances have included Carousel, Me and My Girl, Man of La Mancha, Iolanthe, as well as Operas such as Cosi fan Tutte, Turandot and Aida. He is also a noted arranger, particularly of Opera, and his arrangements have been performed all over the world. Future conducting plans include The Magic Flute with Opera at Bearwood and Siegfried in San Francisco. For more information
see www.FrancisGriffin.com.

Charlotte-Thompson

CHARLOTTE THOMPSON - CHOREOGRAPHER
Charlotte joined ELOC in 2004 and has performed with them ever since, some of her favourite shows to date include Half a Sixpence, Follies and Guys and Dolls. Charlotte trained in dancing at the Laird Academy of Dance and Drama and then continued to dance alongside doing her degree. This included competing in the Cambridge University Rock 'n' Roll Team, joining many dance societies and performing in 42nd Street at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. This is Charlotte's first time choreographing for ELOC and it has been great fun! Charlotte has previously choreographed for her University performances including for the UCL Dance Society show at the Bloomsbury Theatre. Outside of ELOC, Charlotte is a doctor working in Surrey and is training to be a GP. She has enjoyed being involved in a show with her husband, sister and some great friends!

Promotional Photos - By Charlotte Thompson

Photos for our promotional photo shoot are available for viewing - click here

Dress Rehearsal Photos - By Andy Carter

Photos from the MAME Dress Rehearsal are available for viewing - click here 

"What a fantastic production last night. Amazing music, singing, dancing and casting - a feast for the eyes and ears, in fact, quite a banquet!" "What a superb show, I loved it! There just wasn't a weakness in the whole thing, a truley impressive and thoroughly entertaining evening." "WOW, absolutely wow, we couldn't clap loudly enough.  Can't wait to see your next show in April."
Sneak Peak Video
MAME Trailer
Mame Thank You Presentation

NODA Review - By Jon Fox

Reviewed on Wednesday 19th October 2016

This sparkling, energetic and touching musical began life on Broadway in May 1966 and ran for over fifteen hundred performances winning several Tony awards for the leading players. Its genus was however from the 1955 novel by Patrick Dennis and the 1956 Broadway comedy "Auntie Mame" and 1958 film of the same name. Because of the necessary cost of fabulous costumes, big sets and large orchestral sound, it is rarely staged now by amateur companies, more's the pity.

Director James Fortune's spirited production had all the necessary ingredients: talented players in great depth, magnificent staging and stage sets, sumptuous costumes, fabulous dancing and choreography backed by a vibrant and brassy band. The show had energy enough to satisfy the Duracell Bunny! It had pace, emotion, pathos and some memorable songs, not least the title song "Mame". However, for my taste one of the most heartfelt and moving songs ever written for the musical stage is "If He walked into my Life" sung hauntingly by the indefatigable and richly talented Lisa Scott as Mame. It would be incorrect to say Lisa carried this show, as so many others were also top notch but without a stunningly charismatic lead like Lisa this show could not possibly succeed.

Set in brash and bustling New York shortly before the 1929 Wall Street Crash, this production featured over fifty people hurrying to keep up with the Big Apple's busy schedule. There was even a Lithuanian Bishop! Crossing the stage busily in both directions all New York City life was represented. Young Patrick played with a rare confidence by eleven year old Freddie Wilson (one to watch!) and his nanny, Agnes Gooch, the richly gifted Caron Ireland, opened the show by looking for his Auntie Mame's address. Both were
somewhat perplexed by the goings on around them. Freddie later played his own son Peter Dennis at the end of the production! In theatre anything is possible.

Patrick was duly taken into his Aunt's care and was quickly introduced to her unconventional life style. Talk about the University of life! Agnes was employed by the lavish spending Mame as she began her battle to educate Patrick in her way, and not in the conventional way that his trustee Dwight Babcock - beautifully played by Andy Robson -tried to instill. The chemistry throughout between young Patrick and Mame was highly realistic and real warmth was evident between them both.

As the story unfolded we met more fascinating characters; Mame's friend, confidante, and egotistical lead actress Vera Charles, played with superb presence and class by Charlie Hoddell; Dilip Patel was Mame's faithful servant Ito, a warm hearted character, skilfully played and integral to the plot; Lindsay Woolsey, a publisher, was given much veracity and style by Stephen Chalkley; Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside, was Mame's financial saviour and subsequent husband - doomed to an untimely death in the Alps - the paragon Chris Evans as Beauregard emanated charm, likeability and professional class. Beau's southern relatives were all wonderfully played with "awful people" hideousness by the following - Monica Turnbull as Mother Burnside (also a delightful Madame Branislowski) and her equally appalling family, beautifully played in snooty, arrogant style by Paul
Hyde and Sandra Zeffman as Mr and Mrs Upson, his parents, and the horsey, spiteful ex-fiancee Sally Cato, trying but failing to humiliate Mame. Rebecca Cenamor as Sally was
deliciously nasty, getting every ounce from this unpleasant character.

Rick Qureshi as the strong willed and charismatic adult Patrick, was introduced by the top magician director James Fortune in a stunning stage deception trick which completely fooled the audience (and this reviewer). Patrick, now at university and free from Mame's guiding hand was introduced by a now mature Junior Babcock, nicely portrayed by Russell Thompson to the ghastly Gloria Upson - a peach of a performance by Jenevieve Phillipson . Her own snobby relatives played in egotistical and overbearing style, caused the rift between Mame and Patrick. This was only healed when Mame got her own back by returning the invitation for them all to come to New York City , where her deliberate marriage saboteur tactics succeeded in opening Patrick's eyes to their ghastliness. His affections then turned thankfully to the lovely Pegeen Ryan, Mame's decorator, played with warmth and sympathy by Emily Evans. The horrible Upson clan included the redoubtable Alex Land as the awful Uncle Jeff and an equally skilfully played Cousin Fan, given snobby life by Rachel Yelland.

The dancers and chorus were too numerous to mention personally, but every person on stage played their roles with credit and this was a very special performance by the whole company. There was much top quality singing, well controlled by the very experienced director Francis Griffin. His eight piece band was of superb quality and was a major plus
point. I must credit the magnificent and often intricate choreography under the sure eye of Charlotte Thompson. This richly talented young lady is a regular on stage with ELOC, who would be crazy not to engage her again - and soon - as company choreographer. Her magnificent dancers with their splendid feather costumes brought deserved "Aahs" from a rightfully impressed audience.

I loved the crescent moon show scene where Mame upstaged and fell out with Vera. The fox hunt scene was also noteworthy, with yet more superb costumes, as was the richly comedic Agnes as a swinger and the hilarious bloody fingers manicure scenes. (Beau was the "victim"). In fact, costumes generally were the best I have seen in the amateur theatre since ...... well I can't remember when! Elizabeth Callow, Sally Dallosso, Monica Mickels, Costume Workshop, Triple C and finally WAOS supplied and co-ordinated by Elizabeth. Awe inspiring!

The Finales to both acts also impressed fully. Lighting and sound were very surely handled too, but the overall palm must go to marvellous show director James Fortune. He achieved a successfully balanced show with a host of believable characters, all well cast who provided a rich mix of all human emotions, carefully chosen to tug at and fully engage the heartstrings.

The production was by any standards a huge success leaving a privileged audience in wonder at the talent bestriding the stage. ELOC, please take a richly earned final bow!

A final praise for the comprehensive programme, with clear cast pictures and with a full page given over to NODA.

Jon Fox
NODA District 19 


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