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The Merry Widow


It was lovely to see The Merry Widow again, a very traditional operetta, which in the main was performed well.


The set was a little disappointing – the piece lends itself to opulence, which was shown in the costumes and hair, but not in the set, which I felt let the production down.


As always the sound was good, because PBGS do not use mics, so everyone has to project, and apart from a couple of places, one where the underscoring was a little loud, and one when Anna was completely surrounded by the male chorus, which deadened the sound, everyone was heard.


The opening number was very lively, as indeed were most of the numbers where the chorus were included.  Vikki Rehm did a good job with the choreography.


Costumes were on the whole good for the ladies, and whilst certain of the men looked very smart, there were several that needed a bit of attention.  


David Crew was a very debonair Baron Zeta – David always gives us a beautifully sung, well-interpreted performance, whilst really looking the part.  This part relied more on David’s acting skills, but he acquitted himself well.  I liked his relationship with Valencienne.


I enjoyed Bryony Gowdon’s interpretation of Anna Glawari, the widow of the title – very light and coquettish, with some nice meaning in the words.  The part seemed to be placed really high in her register, in fact the whole show was in the higher part of the voices.  


I thought Elizabeth Bottone sang Valencienne with great assurance, but would have liked more projection and expression in her lib.  She came to life in the dance number with the Grisettes.


Elizabeth interacted well with her young suitor Camille, played nicely by Joe Emler, who always gives energy and interest to the part he is playing.


Stephen Hoath gave a good portrayal as Danilo – plenty of wry asides, and well sung.  


Barny Shergold as Njegus gave us a very proper secretary, with a little glint in his eye. I liked his interpretation of the part.


I liked what Teresa Newham gave to the part of Olga, plenty of expression and flirtatiousness.  She also sang the part really well.  Peter Davis played her husband Kromow, and they looked comfortable together, despite Olga’s reputation as a flirt!!


Ian Boughton was an expressive Cascada, I enjoyed his portrayal. The underlying charm and humour showed in his face.


Sue Wookey as Praskowia and Claire Moore as Sylviane completed the main principal line up.


Paul Kerswill as Pritschitsch, Clive Wheeler as Bogdanowitsch and Roy Bride as St Brioche made up the contingent of men attached to the Baron.


The ensemble and Grisettes added to the general liveliness of the production.


I was interested that the Director had brought out much more humour in this version, which gave it dimension and interest.


The cast sang well, and the ensemble numbers were lively.


All in all an interesting and energetic version of an old favourite, with some well-sung performances from the various cast members.
















Putteridge Bury Gilbert & Sullivan Society

“THE MERRY WIDOW” review date: 6th October 2016

Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin

Director: Richard Syms

MD: Jane Stott

Choreography: Vikki Rehm

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