The pride of Britain in music

Preston Playhouse
Preston Playhouse
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Made in Britain, Preston Musical Comedy, Preston Playhouse

An evening of song and dance featuring some of the best of English music of all types and throughout the century performed by no less than 45 adults and children.

Eddie Regan opened the show, sitting in an armchair listening to a crackling rendition of ‘Spread A Little Happiness’ played on an old wind-up gramophone with a film backdrop of pre-war England, when the music suddenly spluttered to a halt, lights flashed, and we were whisked to the other end of the century as a troupe of girls in mini-skirts launched into The Spice Girls’ songbook.

There then followed a Britpop section featuring Blur and Oasis; a Women’s Institute comedy sketch; an amusing exhibition of Morris Dancing and songs from the Second World War after which three ‘divas’ serenaded us with songs by Ivor Novello.

The first half finished with a medley of 60s hits by girl singers, a Beatles session and a songs with a London theme introduced by a haunting version of ‘Streets of London’.

The second half had weather songs, football songs, Eurovision hits, film scores and numbers from modern British musicals.

The comedy spot featured a Cissy and Aida interlude based on the 70s’ Les Dawson-Roy Barraclough routine which, in turn, was borrowed from its creator, Norman ‘Over the Garden Wall’ Evans.

All the songs were accompanied by energetic dancing, numerous costume changes and a kaleidoscope of films themed in with the music.

This was a fast moving show from start to finish which owed everything to the superb backing by MD Dave Thomas on keyboards, Tony Harrison on drums and bass guitarist Brent Forbes.

Choreographer was Lorna Cookson and Anne Arkwright directed and choreographed the children. The show was directed by Julie Oldfield.

‘As much work went into this as a full-blown musical,’ society chairman, Ruth Carter, told me after the show.

I could well believe it but it was certainly worth the effort.

The enthusiastic applause at the finale said it all.

Ron Ellis