Clatford Amateur Dramatic Society
The Empire Strikes Back
THE Good Old Days returned to Goodworth Clatford Village Club when it was miraculously transformed into the Balham
Empire Palace of Varieties for a homespun music hall extravaganza. The Empire Strikes Back was especially written for the Clatford Amateur Dramatic Society by one of its members, Alan Willens.
Set in the Swinging Sixties, the 'Bally Pally' is seen to have fallen on hard times and be threatened with closure by nasty landlords. The 'Friends' (Joan Snarim - Christine McCann, Sidney Fiddler - Cliff Tucker, Rosie Meke - Marilyn Hillier, and John Wood - David Grey) fear the outlook is bleak.
When prospective acts turn up for some audaciously awful auditions it looks like the curtains will soon be closing for the last time. But there's surprising support from the notorious Clay twins (Peter Smith and Dave Painter ) and the theatre's ghosts - in particular the renowned Marie Lloyd ( Alwyn Tucker ) - are determined to save the day.
Turns out the dear departed was the artistic director's great grandmother and she has some great contacts in the spirit world. Together they tunefully set out to raise the roof and prove 'there's no people like show people' and the show must go on.
Act 2 opened with a colourful Seaside Medley and the old theatre filled with songs, dance, and laughter, punctuated by some wonderfully wise words from Leonard Sachs - Bob Houghton .
Some of music hall's best known singers were brought back to life by Jean Williams , Dennis Newnham, Peter Bray, Marilyn Hillier, Sharon Colpman and Geoff Scard, Great comedy was provided by Peter Smith; the Strong Man - Dave Painter and his delightful assistant Hilda - Ann Buckley; and Velma Oxtoby, Janet Smith and Marlene Saunders who faithfully recreated the unforgettable Box sketch.
As Marie Lloyd brought the show to a triumphant close, with the audience singing along, it was no surprise to find the spirit world had secured the Bally Pally's future and it could become a living memorial to a bygone age.
Each of the three performances were enhanced by the Tacet Team, a versatile local brass ensemble complemented by friends from the Andover Light Orchestra, and a generous fish and chip supper.