La Belle Helene
2nd - 7th November 1981
Photographs by John Tustin
Production Officials
Director Audrey H. McL. Raistrick
Musical Director Jessie Whittaker
Choreographer Wendy Duckworth
Helen Mina Hall
Nesta Betty Towler
Leona Joyce Foster
Cressida Sue Daley
Paris Bill Dixon
Menelaus Ernest Pollitt
Calchas Stanley Collinson
Philocoma Joyce Richardson
Agamemnon Gordon Eckersley
Ajax Robin Foster
Achilles Graham Yardley
Orestes Andrew Turton
Juno Norma Pollitt
Minerva Margaret Steel
Venus Jennifer Edgington
Mercury Ivor Tavener
Glenys Collinson, Carol Dunsbee, Bronwen Lee, Clare Lister, Lois Lister, April Marland, Barbara Martin, Vanessa Ryder, Ruth Wilcock, Susannah Tucker
Queen's Attendants
Norma Dootson, Renee Cave, Susan Hector, Susan Thistlethwaite, Jean Thornley, Diane Tustin
Ladies Of The Chorus
Helen Bennett, Aileen Bramwell, Claire Clarkson, Brenda Dixon, Jennifer Edgington, Barbara Haslam, Dorothy Hilton, Ruth Myers, Dorothy Yardley
Gentlemen Of The Chorus
Graham Edgington, Harry Lee, Fred Myers, Adrian Pollitt, Mike Taylor

Bolton Evening News Review
Offenbach's comic opera "La Belle Helene" is playing to packed houses this week in the production staged by Walmsley Church AODS.

And its a show which deserves all its success. Offenbach lifts his characters from Greek legend for a show which satirised the aristocrats of Paris in the 1860's.

Producer Audrey Raistrick has put a lot of comic invention into the plot which deals witih the theft of Helen of Troy, right from under the nose of her ageing cuckold husband.

Mercury, the Messenger of the Gods, wears a Wimpey safety helmet with wings and winged walking boots. News from the Oracle comes by Giro and the last act beach party is served by deck chair attendants employed by the Athens UDC.

One of the biggest comedy successes of the evening was the famous gendarmes song sung by Ajax (Robin Foster) and Achilles (Graham Yardley) costumed in golden frogmen's flippers and snorkel.

My main crib is that this version by Phil Park filches music from the other Offenbach operettas (like the gendarmes song) and slots them in just as he likes.

Having seen the Sadlers Wells touring production in the 1960s I know that the original music is splendid enough without need of revamping.

Musical Director Jessie Whittaker gives us a robust account of the popular tunes and there are good performances from Mina Hall, a spirited Helen, Bill Dixon, a Paris with an Irish lilt in his singing voice, and Ernest Pollitt, a beautifully apoplectic Menelaus, striving to become immortal, even if its only by a mention in "The News of the World".
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