Performance: 17th September 2013
Review by Don McKay
Ian Lawson and the Front of House Team gave us a very warm welcome and dealt with minor seating issues in a most efficient and courteous manner. The almost full house on this occasion settled down to what proved to be an excellent production.
I have only seen this play once before on the West End stage starring the wonderful Maureen Lipman in the role of Florence Foster Jenkins, so only had this as a comparison, and I must say that under the superb direction of Zandra Saxby, whose perfect timing and characterisations, made Sharnbrook Mill Trust’s production every bit as equal, if not slightly better than the afore mentioned. The reason I say this is because in the professional production, Maureen Lipman’s performance completely outshone her fellow actors on stage, where as the Mill’s cast were perfectly balanced, every one of this productions fine actors complemented each other beautifully. Sarah Stringer was a tour de force as Florence Foster Jenkins, who’s aria’s were delivered with complete conviction and had the audience roaring with laughter and appreciation. It was Sarah’s sincerity and immersion into the part that made her Mrs. Jenkins, so believable and lovable. David Passfield was brilliant as Cosme McMoon, the gay pianist, and played McMoon’s campness at the perfect level, resisting the temptation to go over the top. David’s delivery of one liners and double entendre was spot on. David Midlane was equally brilliant as the flamboyant theatrical St. Clair and evoked real emotion from the audience following his heart attack. Virginia Pope as the dotty dog loving best friend Dorothy, was bubbly and very funny indeed. Alexandra Goodbody was hilarious as the maid Maria, whilst Pat Gale made a formidable antagonist as Mrs. Verrinder-Gedge.
The light and sound by Alex Mckenzie and Sandy Alan Rowlandson was very good, however some of the gobo’s seemed a little too modern in design for the era. Di Weedon did a great job of the wardrobe, as did Susan Moore with hair and wigs. David Midlane’s set design was simple but effective and beautifully dressed, all managed very swiftly by Gerry Stafford.
I have run out of superlatives to round off this show report, other than to say that it was a truly “Glorious” production.