The Scarlet Pimpernel
WINNER - Best Actor in a Musical (BATS) - Steve Benson
Nomination - Best Actor in a Musical (NODA) - Steve Benson
Nomination - Best Actress in a Musical (NODA) - Eileen Reeves
27th April - 2nd May 2009
Photographs by John Tustin
Production Officials
Director Nora Howcroft
Musical Director Ben Smith
Choreographer Lara Crombie
Percy Blakeney Steve Benson
Marguerite St.Just Adrienne Wormald
Citizen Chauvelin Robert Peace
Marie Grosholtz Eileen Reeves
Armand St.Just David Wall
Madeleine Allison Smith
St.Cyr David Witt
Ozzy Andrew Turton
Dewhurst Mike Bailey
Elton Alan Hitchen
Farleigh Don Howcroft
Hal David Witt
Ben John Farnworth
Prince Of Wales John McCrae
Tussaud Adam Taylor
Robespierre Harry Lee
Jessup Paul Duckworth
Mercier Bert Ashton
Coupeau Dave McGreavy
Jane Bickerstaffe, Carole Brooks, Meredith Collinson, Lara Crombie, Jamie Haddow, Josh Horn, Nicola McKay, Jean Maden, Jill Marsden, Barbara Martin, Gill Pollitt, Zoe Pollitt, Ruth Prescott, Mary Pycroft, Maria Sharrocks, Lucy Tyrer, Joyce Walters, Matthew Windsor, Janet Witt
  • Marguerite Marguerite
  • Percy Percy
  • Chauvelin Chauvelin
  • Armand, Percy and the Bounders Armand, Percy and the Bounders
  • Guests at the Masked Ball Guests at the Masked Ball
  • Percy meets the Prince of Wales at the Masked Ball Percy meets the Prince of Wales at the Masked Ball
  • Chauvelin and Marguerite Chauvelin and Marguerite
  • Marie Grosholtz Marie Grosholtz
  • Percy and the Bounders Percy and the Bounders
  • Guards, Marguerite, Chauvelin and "Grappin" Guards, Marguerite, Chauvelin and "Grappin"
  • Townsfolk of Paris Townsfolk of Paris
  • Percy and Ozzy Percy and Ozzy
  • Chauvelin and the Guards Chauvelin and the Guards
  • Chauvelin and Percy Chauvelin and Percy
  • Percy Percy
  • Guards Guards
  • Chauvelin captures Percy Chauvelin captures Percy
  • The Company The Company

  • Bolton News Review
  • NODA North West News Review
Dashing heroes, villainous rogues, bloodshed, love, and brilliant tunes are the recipe for a great night out at Walmsley AODS. Under the directorship of Nora Howcroft the company produced as fine a spectacle as one could hope to see. The tale is a well-loved one - the English fop who lives a double life as the brave hero who saves his grateful victims from the bloodstained guillotine of the French Revolution.

Steve Benson took the part of Sir Percy Blakeney, otherwise known as the Scarlet Pimpernel, and it is clearly one he relishes - silly hats included. He combines gracefulness and wit with a fine singing voice and a handy way with a sword that rightly makes the female characters swoon. Believing that it is his wife Marguerite, played by Adrienne Wormald, who betrayed his friends to the French, Blakeney grows distant from her, but in his heart his love for her remains. The on-stage chemistry between the two leads is glorious to watch, and Adrienne's singing provoked many a sniffle from the audience during her more moving scenes.

Lindsay Farnworth was replaced at the last minute in the role of Marie by Eileen Reeves due to illness, but Eileen played the part to perfection. The cruel Chauvelin was played by Robert Peace, who kept a frightening and manly demeanour even while being mocked for his costume choices by the Pimpernel.

The Pimpernel's cohorts, known as the "Bounders", were both comic in their dress and touching in their portrayal of the loyal crew, while the rest of the cast looked simply glorious thanks to wardrobe mistress Irene Bowers.

Kat Dibbits
A show portraying a classic storyline which requires the very best in costumes, wigs, strong principals, a competent chorus and a deft touch by the director to balance the dark revolutionary zeal (via Madame Guillotine) against the opposing forces of the less than manly (on the surface I hasten to add) of the Pimpernel and his cohorts.

The intrigues, double dealing, passion and mistaken identities were all well handled. The sets were quite adequate, the sound system, despite the odd gremlin, was good whilst the costumes, even though the stage area denied their full display, were excellent. However, the wigs looked a little "cotton woolish" (if there is such a word).

Of the principals, Marguertie St. Just took centre stage position at the opening, sang extremely well throughout and maintained a creditable accent. This was an excellent pivotal performance by Adrienne Wormald.

Due to the unfortunate illness of Lindsay Farnworth, Eileen Reeves was parachuted in within the last three days to take on the not inconsiderable part of Marie Grosholtz. I can only express my complete admiration for a part so well done at such short notice.

Robert Peace took the role of the French agent Chauvelin, sent to seek out his nemesis, the elusive Pimpernel. This was an acceptable characterisation, although lacking an accent, of this malevolent character.

In the opposite corner was the gregarious Pimpernel played by Steve Benson delivering a performance par excellence which was well supported by the "bounders" aka Andrew Turton, Mike Bailey, Alan Hitchen, Don Howcroft, David Witt and John Farnworth. Their assumed foppish personae and the outrageous headwear were most amusing.

David Wall sang well as Armand St. Just which rounded off an excellent evening's entertainment by director Nora Howcroft, choreographer Lara Crombie and Musical Director Ben Smith.

Glyn Neary

Back to top