Hello Dolly
29th April - 4th May 2013
Photographs by John Tustin
Production Officials
Director Louise Steggals
Musical Director Mike Pinder
Choreographer Zuleika
Dolly Levi Eileen Reeves
Horace Vandergelder Mike Taylor
Cornelius Hackl Tristan Barraclough
Irene Molloy Vicki Wilson
Barnaby Tucker Chris Hatchman
Minnie Fay Jess Barnett
Ambrose Kemper David Wilson
Ermengarde Laura Hassall
Ernestina Amanda Hassall
Rudolph Reisenweber Mike Donahue
Mrs Rose Jane Bickerstaffe
Judge David Witt
Court Clerk David Roberts
Stewart Ball, Sarah Booth, Carole Brooks, Steve Cunliffe, Charlotte Davenport, Robin Foster, Michelle Foster, Claire McMullan, Donna Hanley, Roger Higginbottom, Barbara Martin, Dave McGreavy, Sarah Munbodhowa, Gill Pollitt, Zoe Pollitt, Joan Roberts, Joyce Walters
  • Dolly Levi Dolly Levi
  • Horace & men Horace & men
  • Cornelius & Barnaby Cornelius & Barnaby
  • Minnie & Irene Minnie & Irene
  • Cornelius, Irene, Barnaby & Minnie Cornelius, Irene, Barnaby & Minnie
  • Diners Diners
  • Townspeople Townspeople
  • Dolly & Company Dolly & Company
  • Ermengarde & Ambrose Ermengarde & Ambrose
  • Company Company
  • Company Company
  • Cornelius, Irene, Barnaby & Minnie Cornelius, Irene, Barnaby & Minnie
  • Waiters Waiters
  • Dolly & Horace Dolly & Horace

  • The Bolton News Review
  • NODA North West Review
Having never seen the musical or film before and not knowing the story, I was led to believe “Hello, Dolly!,” the musical inspired by Thornton Wilder’s play “The Matchmaker,” has been a magnet for theatre divas ever since it opened in 1964 with Carol Channing in the title role. I can now see why having seen last night’s production.

The basic story involves the cantankerous half-a-millionaire Horace Vandergelder who hires matchmaker Dolly Levi to find him a wife. Dolly soon hatches a plan to woo and win Vandergelder’s hand herself, while at the same time arranging romantic prospects for his niece Ermengarde, his clerks Cornelius and Barnaby and two of Manhattan’s most eligible shop girls Irene and Minnie. It has a number of famous tunes like the title song, “Before the Parade Passes By” and “Put on your Sunday Clothes” (which I recognised from the film Wall-E!).

Mike Taylor gives a flawless performance with a slight sense of mischief as Horace Vandergelder, the half-millionaire. Tristan Barraclough was wonderful and gave a charismatic performance as Cornelius Hackl. He was very watchable as was Chris Hatchman his sidekick Barnaby Tucker. Vicki Wilson was wonderful as Irene and also gave a strong performance. Jess Barnett, Laura Hassall and David Wilson gave good support to the leads. Eileen Reeves gave a sterling performance in the title role with a warm singing voice and bags of personality whilst still managing to keep the madness under control.

The supporting chorus clearly seemed to be enjoying themselves as well especially in the “The Waiter’s Gallop” and the band led by Mike Pinder were also very good. The set was top notch and feathers were a plenty which is to be expected from the talented team at Walmsley. Runs until Saturday (May 4). 

Jason Crompton
This was my first visit to this lovely society and their lovely auditorium at the Parish Hall Theatre in Egerton Bolton.

The home made sets were nice and worked really well with some nice directional touches but seemed a little cumbersome in getting on and off stage in  a couple of scenes. There were a few hiccups with curtains particularly in the restaurant scene. The lighting was good but the sound had some serious crackles on miking packs. The stage in front of the orchestra pit was used frequently but as it was such a narrow area this didn’t always work as cast couldn’t cross on it and cast members had to look at their feet as they clearly felt unsure on this area of staging. This detracted particularly from the dances and Dolly when dressed in her evening wear looked really uncomfortable whilst walking round it.

The orchestra sounded great under the baton of the MD Mike Pinder and complimented the nice harmonies and lovely solo performances performed by this society. There was some lovely vocal singing from the chorus and principals and I feel this is a real strength of this society. For me the dancing wasn’t drilled enough and with such mixed abilities there were many mistakes made. One thing I would say to the cast is to learn that if you do make a mistake with your feet, don’t let your face show it. For many members of the audience they wouldn’t have noticed the mistakes except for cast shaking heads or raising eyes when this happened.

Dolly Levi was played by Eileen Reeves who did a lovely job on the vocals. Her costumes were gorgeous but the evening wear was a touch too long adding to the uncomfortable moves around the orchestra pit. Dialogue accent was good but not delivered fast enough where I felt some of the comedy was lost in this characterisation. Mike Taylor made a nice Horace Vandergelder with good vocals. His character could’ve been a little meaner and grumpier but he delivered his lines well and certainly looked the part. Vicki Wilson played Irene with a lovely voice and good acting and dancing skills. She played opposite Tristan Barraclough as Cornelius who vocally was very good but I didn’t really feel a connection between the two of them. Jess Barnett was a nice Minnie Fay opposite Chris Hatchman as Barnaby who settled into the role well as the show went on. Laura Hassall played Ermengarde and delivered her lines well but again some of the characterisation could’ve been stronger. David Wilson was very good as Ambrose and stole a number of scenes he was in with his comic timing.

Overall this was a very pleasant show with lovely vocals and music and a very enthusiastic large cast.

Sharon Drummond

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