This was my first community theatre project in a year, but I couldn’t resist the project. The budget was bigger than I’d ever worked with before, the period was one I had always wanted to explore, and I was sure we’d have wonderful exposure. All in all, it was everything I’d hoped for, with the added benefit of a cast and crew that demonstrated a superb level of camaraderie and teamwork.
The show was a lot of fun, despite its outdated concepts, and the costumes were a blast to research and build.
John Harris played the role of Mr.Squeezum, the corrupt judge who uses his position to extort money and the favours of young ladies. However, due to an illness, John ended up sharing the role, at the last minute, with our director, David McIntosh, who, while several inches shorter, managed the role with panache. Squeezum uses the psudonym "Mr.Jones", a rather more flamboyant character, when pursuing his seductions.
Nancy Ebert stole the show as the lusty and irrepressible Mrs. Squeezum. This was my first attempt at a sackback gown, and I'm actually rather pleased at how it turned out. She did an entire number in just her underwear, including her panniers but missing her farthingale, which meant building her entire costume from the inside out, which I love.
The lovely songbird Camille Johnson played the not-so innocent heroine, Hillaret, who frames corrupt Judge Squeezum in order to rescue her lover and his friend from the gaol. This posed a bit of a conundrum for me, because, in order to do so, she had to do a strip tease on stage, and then get herself dressed again, in a period where ladies did not dress or undress themselves! My solution was this red mantua, which laced over the stomacher, and took the rest of the scene to lace back up, but at least she got the point across!
The ever-so handsome Cayley Tkach played Captain Constant, Hillaret's lover, who is falsely accused of raping her maid, Cloris, when he was actually trying to save her. Never try to fit a uniform jacket on a body builder. That's all I'm saying.
Kirk Smith was a last minute replacement for Constant's friend and lover-of-women, Ramble, but he was absolutely wonderful in the part, and he and Nancy Ebert were a theatrical match made in heaven during their duet, "When Does the Ravishing Begin?"
Here Ramble and Constant are joined by their drinking buddy and partner in crime, Sotmore, who has learned that hangover is preferable to a broken heart. He was played wonderfully by Dana MacInnis.
Meghan McGuinness played Hillaret's faithful maid, Cloris, and her lovely alto was the perfect match to Camille's soaring soprano.
Evan Llewellen played Hillaret's father, Politic, a man more interested in whatever's printed in the newspaper than what's going on in his own house, and David Powell played his sidekick, Dabble.The ancient, deaf old butler, Faithful, who still manages to be more on top of things than his master, was played by Anthony Dodd.
The corrupt watchman, Staff, was played by Barry Duffus, and his sidekick was played by Ray Langcaster.
The honest judge who helps save the day, Justice Worthy, was played by Clive Sanders, and the hilarious, downtrodden clerk, Quill was masterfully potrayed by Michael Morabito. For some reason, our wig designer, Bill Dingwall, decided to leave the only stark bald man without a wig, and he was absolutely right.
And, at the inn, we have the corrupt barkeep, Brazencourt, played in a ridiculous wig by Bill Lawrie, the lovely and slightly slutty bar wench, Claire Brown, who was a little bit too sweet for the role, and our lovely accompanist, Chantal Jolly.
Some cast pictures.
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