The Good Old Days were brought back to life when an Old Time Music Hall rocked the rafters at Eaton Bray....
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I say I say, what a splendid evening of good old days entertainment!

Posted on April 10, 2008

This article was published in April 2008. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

The Good Old Days were brought back to life when an Old Time Music Hall rocked the rafters at Eaton Bray Village Hall.

Eighteen youngsters, aged ten to 18, presented a full-scale traditional old time musical extravaganza to a sold-out audience and raised nearly £1,000 for the Friends of St Mary's.

The cast of Eaton Bray's Good Old Days

Music hall chairman James Lake, dressed in top hat and tails, introduced each act with witty quips, jokes, alliteration and a bang of the gavel. He also introduced the 'orchestra' for the evening - Ros Yalden on the piano (with traditional jibes about the quality of her playing) but it was all in good humour.

The opening choruses were sung by the entire company. They all looked authentic, with period costumes and props supplied by Leighton Stagecoach principal, Wendy Ashman, from Pebblemoor, Edlesborough, whose husband, Peter, directed the show and provided much of the script.

The first half consisted of 14 separate acts starting with Daisy Bell sung by Sophie Yalden. Other highlights in Act One included a cheeky performance of a little-known song called What's that For Eh? by Alice O'Neill who had the audience in the palm of her hand; an hilarious comic rendition of the poem The Green Eye of the Yellow God by Heather Mullett, whose arm movements were provided by Emily Ann Varlet'; the Stanley Holloway monologue Runcorn Ferry by Sebastian Calloway (how did he learn all those lines?); Don't Dilly Dally and Daddy Wouldn't Buy Me a Bow Wow sung by the highly talented Heather and Holly Potten; Cockles and Mussels sung with great conviction by Alex Mustoe; a touching performance of Won't You Buy My Pretty Flowers by Molly Blumsom: and a melodrama which had Freddie Marshall being henpecked by a convincing Melissa Wade before getting his revenge by selling her to the local squire, wonderfully played by a joke-cracking William Sanders (who went on to give us a classical guitar solo in Act Two).

After such a slick and fast-paced first Act, the audience were ready for their lovely ploughman's supper provided by Val Trantum and her capable team.

In Act Two the audience were treated to delights such as I Was A Good Little Girl, sung by Olivia Calloway, who made several gentlemen's nights by flirting with them from the stage whilst her talented sister Sabrina Calloway attracted whistles from the audience as a scantily-clad artist's model in It's Alright in the Summertime.

Emily Lake gave a beautiful rendition of the little-heard Shine On Harvest Moon and the half climaxed with a performance of the melodrama The Old Red Barn which had strong comic acting from Erin O'Neill as the wronged Maria Martin and Joe Ashman as the wicked William Corder who ends up killing her - but not before he milked the boos and hisses from the audience.

The evening concluded with the chairman inviting the audience to join in the final choruses in traditional style ("chiefly yourselves") and the entire cast sung and danced such numbers as Any Old Iron and Beside the Seaside.

Get the Leighton Buzzard Observer every Tuesday.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 8 April 2008

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