The Merry Widow
Spring 1960
Production Officials
Director Doris Hacking and Gladys McDonald
Musical Director J. Arnold Thornton
Cast
Anna Norma Hardy
Danilo John E. Hacking
Baron Zeta Ernest Pollitt
Valencienne Ruth Garstang
Camille William A. Livesey
Njegus Barry Gadsden
St. Brioche Alan Lee
Cascada Keith Richardson
Kromov Frank E. Woolley
Olga Shirley Foster
Bogdanovitsch Michael T. Haslam
Pritsch Harvey Carter
Sylvia S. Anne Bellis
Praskovia Barbara Warburton
Lolo Christine M. Bellis
Dodo Audrey Hudson
Jou-Jou Mildred A. Woolley
Clo-Clo Ann Brooks
Frou-Frou Celia M. Livesey
Margot Gillian Entwistle
Dancing Girls
E. Adshead, M. Crompton, D. Holt, K. Kay, A. Ogden, M. Ogden, E. Ramsden, B. Thomson, M.A. Woolley
Ladies Of The Chorus
G. Ashmore, C.M. Bellis, A. Brookes, C. Catherall, E. Crow, G. Entwistle, E. Hacking, A. Hudson, J. Isherwood, C.M. Livesey, J. Richardson, A. Roberts, B. Williams
Gentlemen Of The Chorus
J. Bellis, G. Brockbank, D. Entwistle, D. Gadsden, A. Greaves, G. Halsall, P. Hudson, W. Kay, H. Oakley, G. Ramsden, P. Smalley, J. Warburton
Bolton Evening News Review
“The Merry Widow” must surely be one of the gayest and liveliest of all the musical comedies ever presented in Bolton. This week it has its local premiere at Walmsley where the Walmsley AO&DS is presenting it with all the trimmings. This is without doubt one of the finest shows I have seen for some time and certainly well worth the long trip to the village. The orchestra under the direction of Mr. J. Arnold Thornton made musical listening far more pleasant than it sometimes is in church halls, and the choreography by Gladys McDonald was really exciting to watch, particularly the can-can dance in Act Three. The costumes also added much to the general success of the show. The music from “The Merry Widow” is so immensely sing-able and, given a robust chorus and reasonable casting, the show almost puts itself across the footlights. The ingredients were there in plenty at the Tuesday evening performance and encores were demanded by an enthusiastic audience again and again. Indeed, the final curtain did not bring the usual stampede for the exit – the audience seemed prepared to see the whole piece through for a second time but this would have been putting too great a strain upon the principals who all deserved the highest praise for their performances. The production by Doris Hacking was free from those failures of basic technique which so often mar amateur performances and I would not be surprised if the society were to stage a repeat run of the show in the near future. Norma Hardy is an outstanding success in the title role. Her voice with its lyrical and dramatic qualities is perhaps at its best in the well known “Vilia” which she sings with great expression and feeling and her acting is of the same high standard. As Danilo, John E. Hacking is equally impressive and his song with Anna “Driving In The Park with You” came across particularly well. Ruth Garstang, taking a principal part for the first time, shows abundant vivacity and she is well partnered by William Livesey (Camille). The comedy roles are admirably played by Ernest Pollitt (Baron Zeta) and Barry Gadsden (Njegus). The male element in the show is at its best in the rousing number “Women! Women!  Women!” and the Grisettes’ Song, led by Ruth Garstang, is both spectacular and extremely diverting. The Walmsley AO&DS is to be congratulated on the hard work and effort which must have gone into the general presentation of the show and there can have been few shows as exhilarating to watch as this one since the Society’s inception thirty years ago.
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