From the venue – the Mount Pleasant Soldiers Memorial Hall – to the bottomless tea and coffee service, the attractive display of memorabilia and the half-time raffles and silent auctions, this old-style variety show was a splendid illustration of the worth and work of a community theatre group.
And then there was the show itself. The audience was well entertained by the presentation of songs and skits from the group’s 25 years’ worth of productions. In that time they have performed fifty shows, many of them presented, as this one was, in dinner theatre form.
Director Gordon Combes and MD Heath Gladigau devised the progamme thoughtfully, and had its elements linked by a fetching narration. Steve Farrer was a wonderfully understated narrator, relating a number of historical and amusing incidents from the group’s past, and delivering his lines with authenticity and the authority of having been there for all of the events.
The cast represented a balance of experience, even including some who had been in the group’s first production. The big ensemble songs were well coordinated and were full of life and enthusiasm. Good examples were Do You Hear The People Sing, Hooked On A Feeling and In The Navy, all well led by the strong baritone of Heath Gladigau. Some small ensemble songs of particular note were the quintet singing Chattanooga Cho Choo and the sextet singing Men In Tights.
Solo voices were well showcased, too. Eden Lane was especially impressive. She was strong, clear and expressive in My Favourite Things, Kate Farrer was entertaining and powerful in Old Maid In A Garret and Gwendolyn Van Zwol combined apparent Celtic naivete and sweetness with the grimness of the text in Rickety Tickety Tin.
TOTT stalwart Kate Farrer had directed the skits which were interspersed with the songs. They effectively illustrated the variety of works that the group has performed over time. Of them Tim Lane’s recitation Colorectal Surgeon drew lots of laughs from the audience as did the small group sketch Portia’s B&B.
Top Of The Torrens Theatre Group have thrived since their inception. That’s a credit to a series of committed individuals over the years. All power to them for powering on in this way. Long may they continue.