Association of Community Theatre
Show Reviews 2017
The Operetta Company
Director: Allan Christy-Casson
Musical Director: Robert Aston
This version of Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus includes more music from the Waltz King, filling the champagne glasses with a lot more fizz, if that could be possible, while keeping to the original plot. However, this addition does extend the running time, and as beautiful as this adaptation is, I feel that perhaps not all the material needed to have been performed.
This musical presentation was also to celebrate ten years of The Operetta Company presenting semi-stage productions of now, rarely performed classic operetta.
In this presentation there were stage dressings, the principals were costumed and the story of the Bats Revenge was skilfully narrated by Irene Smith.
The overture is a musical feast and could be played at any musical gala. The fine orchestra, with the MD taking firm control, took us back to old Vienna. As we were not in a theatre, and there was not a pit for the orchestra, the question arose, will they drown out the singing? All concerns were put aside; the orchestra and the company worked in harmony and delighted the audience.
As expected from this company the principals could more than cope with the demands of the score. The story begins in the Eisenstein household. Gabriel should have surrendered to Frank, the governor of the local goal, to begin his sentence for disorder. There is his wife, Rosalinda, who has an admirer, Alfred, and her maid, Adele. Into this household comes a visitor in the form of Dr Falke who arrives to seek revenge for a wrong. Are you with me so far?
Eileen Reeves sang and acted the role of Rosalinda with relish, bringing all the aspects of character to life. Allen Christey-Casson charmingly portrayed Rosalinda’s husband, Gabriel. Would-be actress and maid, Adele, was portrayed vocally and dramatically by Jean Forrester. The ardent admirer, Alfred, played by Tony Meehan, gave a strong interpretation. Steve Brennan, as Governor Frank, showed all the necessary authority this role demands. Now, enter the manipulative Dr Falke, who was convincingly portrayed in fine voice by David Reeves.
Merriment and, of course, pink champagne flowed at Orlovsky’s Ball where guests take on false identities. The host of the Ball, the Prince, is always played by a female. Susan Bradley commanded the stage as the bored Prince Orlovsky. Attending with Adele are Ida (Kathy Rowell), Lea (Enid Magenty) and Lilli (Glennis Aston) who all made their mark.
From the ball the attention switched to the gaol, run by the inebriated, Frosch, comically portrayed by Colin Magenty. The untruths are revealed, all is forgiven, and the Prince is amused by the outcome. Falke’s machinations and the bat has its revenge.
The chorus provided depth to their musical involvement while the supporting principles added to the drama
A little long but very enjoyable evening, I am sure the sell-out audiences will be looking forward to next year’s production The Gypsy Baron.