7th - 12th November 1994
Photographs by John Tustin
Production Officials
Director Graham R. Edgington
Musical Director J. Arnold Thornton
Magnolia Hawkes Adrienne Wormald
Gaylord Ravenal Graham R. Edgington
Julie LaVerne Irene Bowers
Joe Eddie Williams
Queenie Joyce Walters
Ellie May Chipley Paula Williams
Frank Schultz Craig Williams
Cap'n Andy Hawkes Paul Brennan
Parthy Ann Hawkes Hazel Gray
Steve Baker Norman Bowers
Windy David Raistrick
Pete David Wilson
Vallon/Charlie Roger Higginbottom
Kim (Older) Lindsay Jackson
Kim (Younger) Helena Houghton
Landlady Yvonne Neary
Jim Bill Sharples
Jake J. Arnold Thornton
Ethel Jane Bickerstaffe
Mother Superior Doreen Healey
Joanne Almond, Mike Booth, Carole Brooks, Claire Clarkson, Stanley Collinson, Pamela Conlon, Norma Dootson, Paul J. Duckworth, Sylvia Fishwick, Carol Gannon, Barbara Haslam, Christine Hurst, Julie Kirby, Jean Maden, Barbara Martin, Lisa Oldbury, Helen Pendlebury, Colin Perks, David Perks, Glenys Poole, Ruth Prescott, Mary Pycroft, Vicki Smith, Nicola Wesley, Norma Wilcock, Debbie Wild, Elizabeth Williams, David Wilson, David Witt, Nicola Worrall, Dorothy Yardley, Graham Yardley, Louise Yates
  • Magnolia and Ravenal Magnolia and Ravenal
  • The Company The Company
  • Julie LaVerne Julie LaVerne
  • Ellie and the Show Girls Ellie and the Show Girls
  • Joe "Ol' Man River" Joe "Ol' Man River"
  • Cap'n Andy, Julie, Magnolia, Steve and Ellie Cap'n Andy, Julie, Magnolia, Steve and Ellie
  • Ravenal and young Kim Ravenal and young Kim
  • Parthy Ann Hawkes and company Parthy Ann Hawkes and company
  • The Wedding The Wedding
  • Joe and Queenie Joe and Queenie
  • Ravenal and Magnolia "You Are Love" Ravenal and Magnolia "You Are Love"
  • Frank, Ellie and boat workers Frank, Ellie and boat workers
  • Magnolia and Ellie Magnolia and Ellie
  • Cap'n Andy at New Year Cap'n Andy at New Year
  • Magnolia "After The Ball" Magnolia "After The Ball"
  • Kim Kim
  • The Company The Company

  • Bolton Evening News Review
  • NODA North West News Review
The cast put their all into this colourful production. Superb singing voices, wonderful sets and great enthusiasm gave the first night capacity audience plenty to appreciate. The American accents were delivered in authentic fashion and everything sailed along at a fine pace. A great deal of work had obviously gone into this production of the age old favourite tale of life aboard the Showboat.

The cast put their own very fine interpretation on the musical with some snappy choreography. The famous foot-tapping favourites were there, including Ol' Man River and Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man, both sung with great gusto. Well worthy of a mention, and the applause he received, was Graham Edgington who played the part of Gaylord Ravenal, the loveable scoundrel. Also outstanding was Adrienne Wormald as Magnolia, his long-suffering wife, and Paula Williams was a delight in the role of chirpy Ellie May Chipley.

The colourful, sometimes glittering, costumes changed in tune with the sets, which were also extremely well done. The effort had obviously paid off. Lines were delivered perfectly and first night nerves, if anyone was suffering from them, certainly were not apparent.

Gayle McBain
After some 111 productions across the past 66 years the company finally came to what is one of the major shows to be presented. So, why did it take so long? Could it perhaps have been having to shoehorn a Mississippi steamboat onto a small stage? Hardly! The talented backstage crew came up trumps once again.

Maybe such a show would stretch the talents of the society to breaking point? Perhaps! But the majority of the characters were well cast. So, was it worth the wait? A qualified, yes! In every production of this magnitude, there will obviously be strengths and weaknesses but, on balance, this was a reasonable show that was surprising only in its lack of a double chorus and its brevity.

The entire production, choreography and the part of Gaylord Ravenal was in the hands of Graham R. Edgington. Whilst his interpretation of the part was excellent, whilst he was in fine voice, I felt his use of the chorus and dancers did not do justice to the rest of the show. Maybe tackling such a workload took its toll.

The long-suffering Magnolia was well played by Adrienne Wormald. She gave a charming portrayal showing her considerable talent for this type of part. Paul Brennan was a splendid Captain Andy, extracting every ounce of comedy from the part. He was quite well partnered by Hazel Gray as Parthy Ann, but I felt she could have been more forceful. Eddie Williams can always be relied upon to produce a good performance and his interpretation of Joe was no exception. Beautiful, rich tones of 'Ol' Man River' and well-timed delivery of the dialogue was complemented by a good performance of Queenie by Joyce Walters. Paula Williams and Craig Williams as Ellie May and Frank were adequate in their portrayal of the second rate vaudeville act, although, here again, more could have been made of their talents. Julie LaVerne, around whom the racial undercurrents ebb and flow, was dramatically well played by Irene Bowers, ably supported by Norman Bowers as Steve.

The final piece of the jigsaw is the wonderful Jerome Kern score. To present this show without a full orchestra is akin to getting dressed up for an evening out, then leaving your trousers at home. I missed the fuller sound an orchestra produces and the use of an organ, no matter how well played, did nothing to enhance the production.

Glyn Neary

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