Anything Goes? But not in Duns, apparently
I don't know what it is about theatre groups and other cultural organisations in small communities which arouse such strong emotions but the Duns' Operatic Society is getting quite a lot of stick following its last production of Anything Goes. Following a tepid review in the Berwickshire which spared off a fierce response praising the production this week's letter column caries this: I write in response to the letter from your correspondent, Pat Scott, who is presumably the current president of the Duns and District Amateur Operatic Society, and who was therefore in overall charge of the recent production of ‘Anything Goes’.
As someone who has carved out a professional career from writing criticism for the press, on both sides of the Atlantic, I can do nothing but wholeheartedly support the way Simon Duke "reviewed" the show.
Pat Scott should be aware that he had a dreadful task to write a positive article in the way he did considering the lack of direction, shameful dialogue delivery, missed cues, actors forgetting their lines, unremarkable and tired scenery, poor costumes etc, etc.
I refrained from writing to the ‘Berwickshire News’ at the time after witnessing such a calamity, feeling it would be counterproductive, but I cannot allow Pat Scott's comments to go unchallenged.
There is mention of the younger members of the cast, indeed the show was populated by school children, and again your correspondent is quite correct when she says it is remarkable a small society can stage a show of this quality.
The standard compared to previous shows was appalling.
Over the past few years Duns has achieved great heights, culminating in the Queens Award. I am sure Her Majesty would have enjoyed ‘The King and I’, ‘Hello Dolly’ and ‘Aladdin’, and been impressed at the professional standards reached, this year she would no doubt have left at the interval as I did.
Looking around the hall on the last night, a hall not even touching half full, I wondered if this was not down to the insipid and insignificant advertising. Perhaps word of mouth was more to blame.
The poorly reproduced programme with indistinct photographs and several blank pages was merely a precursor of the fare to be served up. Overall Ms Scott there was no quality.
Duns and District Amateur Operatic Society will need to pull out all the stops to celebrate their Golden Jubilee.
In conclusion Simon Duke did you and the society a huge favour in writing the review he did, and in writing to note your displeasure you have merely highlighted your own shortcomings in not presiding over a tighter ship. Pun intended.
Expect a counter blast next Thursday.
I saw the show which if a bit dated (rather a curious choice, actually) was good fun; excellent music, competent singers and two brilliant junior leads, one of whom, aged 17, is off to join the Globe Theatre right out of Berwickshire High School without bothering with drama school. Yes, it was a bit 'amateur' but that's what they are; yes one or two 'dries'-one of the players made a virtue out of not remembering his lines and was helped out by ingenious ad libs from fellow actors.
I don't know Mr P but I suspect there is a bit of history there-the management of DOS has recently changed and the Old Guard may feel that standards have slipped since their time.
And verb sap to Mr P. If you want your opinion on a show to be respected-stay for it all-you might then know what you are talking about. I imagine Her Majesty would have stayed the course if only out of politesse.
Labels: Anything Goes, Duns, Duns Operatic Society