ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

daughter awaits the arrival of the First Lord of Admiralty who is coming to claim her promised hand. His sisters, cousins and aunts who accompany him were delightfully presented by the ladies ensemble. Bobbie Greatorex played Sir Joseph Porter K.C.B with assured authority. The lass that loved a sailor, Josephine, was played by Eleanor Molloy. Eleanor displayed technique and timing; a little more vocal projection would have rounded out the performance. Eleanor commanded the stage; the relationship between Josephine and Ralph was believably played out. Ralph Rackstraw’s melancholy situation was captured by Daniel Metcalfe and there was dramatic intensity in his performance. As the closing bars diminished the company “struck” the set and re-set for Bolton Rowe, the Sullivan one-act comic opera, The Zoo. This made a change from the usual double bill of ‘Trial by Jury’ or ‘Cox and Box’. Set in London’s Zoological Gardens it is a story of the trials and tribulations of two pairs of lovers. Thomas Brown (Tony Noden), Eliza Smith (Janice Rendel), Aesculapius Carboy (Paul Bailey) and Laetitia Grinder (Bekah Murray). The ensemble, as the “The British Public”, gave strong vocal support. Our first couple is a nobleman who is wooing the girl who runs the refreshment stall. Thomas and Eliza were entertainingly characterised, Janice (Eliza) showed her comic timing. The other couple are a young chemist, Aesculapius, who mixes up his intended’s father’s prescription and Laetitia. Paul delivered his character of the love-crossed Aesculapius with passion and confidence, and Bekah, in her first principal role as Laetitia, was charming. There has to be a villain and this was personified by Laetitia’s father who tries to stop his daughter and the chemist from marrying. Ken Brook, as Mr. Grinder, was suitably the melodramatic wrong doer. It is encouraging that the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan are still appealing and attracting good audiences. For 50 years this group has promoted The Savoy Operas in the best of traditions.