Fraser Goulding entered the orchestra pit. Alan Riches walked on, said "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen", received a rapturous round of applause and disappeared. After the overture to "Patience", the curtain went up on the Act Two finale of "The Sorcerer" - with modifications! The curtain went down, curtain calls were taken and houselights went up. Company Manager Gordon MacKenzie then announced that the Company would give a 15 minute show with a two hour interval. He also announced he wanted to do his one man show, but had been unable to get a grant.
The curtain then went up on the opening chorus of "The Sorcerer". Beti Lloyd-Jones then played Mrs Partlet in Scouse and Lorraine Daniels played Constance in the refined accent of Mrs Thatcher. Kenneth Sandford came on as Dr Daly, looking almost as elderly as the Arts Council would have us believe. He was interrupted by a choir of Jill Washington, Lorraine Daniels, Peter Lyon and Geoffrey Shovelton. He had to shout to make himself heard over the Match of the Day theme while Alexis and Sir Marmaduke played tennis. Barbara Lilley as Mrs Mopp with a chorus of cleaners tapped through "I cannot tell what this love may be". Sir Marmalade (John Ayldon) in a pot of Savoy marmalade with Patricia Leonard sang a lament on the fate of the Company to the tune "Now wouldn't you like to rule the roast?" One memorable line was "We're in a jam and ought to be preserved". James Conroy-Ward sang the Sorcerer's song in top hat and tails. Clive Harre, Peter Lyon and Meston Reid sang the Rataplan trio from "Cox and Box". Sir Roderic (John Ayldon) sang "The ghost's high noon". Alexis sang "O love" above the din of the rest of the cast trundling trollies, blowing whistles and buzzers, and throwing streamers and balloons. Thus ended the first half.
After the Court Music from "Utopia Limited" we were transported to a Wild West saloon bar. Jill Washington sang "Little Maid of Arcadee". Kenneth Sandford sang "O why am I moody and sad?" He, James Conroy-Ward (Davy Crockett) and Peter Lyon (Tonto) discussed the Company's plight in dialogue from Act II of "The Mikado". Red Indians then heralded a more humane Sitting Bull (John Ayldon) with Patricia Leonard. "From every kind of man obedience I expect, I'm the Emperor of Cheyenne". And I'm his daughter-in-law elect!"
The Arts Council report (a death certificate on the Company) was read. Geoffrey Shovelton (Lone Ranger), Clive Harre and Meston Reid sang "Gently, gently". Wounded Peter Lyon sang 'Alone and yet alive". "Although of native maids the cream" was sung by Jill Washington and Lorraine Daniels.
The theme to The Magnificent Seven heralded a hoe down medley arranged by Paul Seeley: I am the captain of the Pinafore; This helmet I suppose; I have a song to sing O and Our Great Mikado. The men then danced "The jolly jinks of Pfennig Halfpfennig", a tour de force which was given a well-deserved encore.
As a reprise of "I have a song to sing O" was played, the curtain descended on Kenneth Sandford, alone on stage and holding the Arts Council report. Curtain calls and warm applause followed. Thank goodness this Last Night was not the last farewell of this young, enthusiastic and talented company.
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