Kipps cops plaudits despite operatic society's version
Herts Ad Review by John Manning
It wasn't Linda Dyne's excellent production nor was it the acting and singing, particularly from the main characters, and equally it was not the quality of dance or music.
The musical based on H.G. Wells novel Kipps, was first staged in 1963 and was very much a vehicle for the pop singer Tommy Steele.
However, the version staged at Harpenden Public Halls last week first saw the light of day less than 10 years ago and was significantly changed from the original, not only in details of plot but with additional music at the expense of some original numbers.
And the result is that the story line becomes a little confused.
Society regular Tom Handley successfully took on the role of the central character Arthur Kipps, and together with Anna Macdonald as his long-time sweetheart Ann, gave tremendous impetus to the production.
Anna, in particular has a very good singing voice and both gave good portrayals.
Jo Bayne as the imperious but hard up Mrs Walsingham and Colette Eagles as her daughter together with Scott Scotchford as her spoiled son all added greatly to the show as did all those playing shop boys and girls and other characters. There was also excellent work by the enthusiastic chorus and dancers and, of course, well-drilled children who added significantly to the overall merriment, and the pit orchestra under musical director Mike Payne all did a first class job.
But for me the outstanding character was David Crew as the ageing and slightly tipsy thespian Harry Chitelow. His characterisation and fine baritone voice provided tremendous pleasure.
All in all a good production of a mildly unsuccessful reworked show.