The club’s next production in January 2017 will be a Revue. Sketch-based shows have been popular with our audience for many years although this will be the first one we have done since 2011.
An important ingredient over the years has been to seat the audience at tables rather than in rows. There are many advantages to this arrangement. It enables people to get together with their friends and enjoy a drink and light refreshments before and during the performance. It is also a good way of meeting new people and the front of house crew has been thanked many times over the years for introducing people to congenial companions.
The capacity of the hall is such that in the interests of comfort and safety we like to limit the audience to about one hundred but such has been the demand for tickets that there have been occasions over the years when we have packed far more in than that.
Revues tend to attract big audiences. They have become as much a social occasion as a performance and the goodwill emanating from the floor of the hall provides enormous encouragement to the performers. From the cast point of view a Revue provides an opportunity to perform without having to learn and remember loads of lines.
Of course there are issues. Dancing is a problem for many, not just those with two left feet. For this reason we have to be creative with our choreography. Many of our members will still remember the November 1999 Revue when we were taught line-dancing by two hugely enthusiastic converts to the then popular genre. They arrived in the village hall from their home in Dunstable (or was it Luton?) dressed to the nines in western garb and speaking in faux American accents. At first the moves were easy. The sequences themselves were hardly taxing but putting them all together in a coherent whole proved to be a step too far for some of us. The director compromised by excusing the most obvious culprits who still appeared on stage but restricted their movements to hand clapping and the occasional leg kick. The routine for Strollin’ demonstrated the fact that some people can’t even walk in time with their fellows.
The driving force behind our Revues and similar sketch-based shows performed for the British legion under the ENSA banner has been Patsy Blackmore. Patsy not only has an impressive knowledge of theatre (and musical theatre) but also the priceless ability to understand what works. This is the first time she has not been involved in a Revue production since 1999 although we are hoping she will be in the audience. Together with Enid Foxall she represents a connection with the past history of the club, having been a member back in 1947 when it was founded. Roger Emery who will be a member of next year’s cast first performed with the club in the 1960s and returned a few years ago after a thirty year absence. Those of us who only became involved in 1998 when LGDC was revived after a four year absence still have a long way to go.