Don't cry for us -we're the cast!

DRAMATIC, seamless, a veritable feast on the eyes and a production worthy of the auspicious title of the first amateur production of Evita in East Anglia.Through the eyes of the audience it was a success – but what about the people who put the show together?

By Victoria Knowles

THERE is the audience's first night and then there is the first night for the Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society.

While the crowd take their seats and wait for the raising of the curtain, behind the stage the cast and crew are busy making sure the audience get to see a perfect production.

Last night Evita opened at the Regent - the first time an amateur company has taken on this show in the region. It took a lot of work to get it on the stage with costumes specially made in the Isle of Wight and a race to find someone to make the all-important gun carriage.

All this came together in time for the opening night so then it was up to the cast and crew to pull off a performance worthy of the name Evita.

Stephanie Malton, who plays Evita, said the first night made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up.

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"It was a thrill to finally get on stage after all the rehearsals and see their appreciation. It really was a great night. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up when I went out on stage, " she said.

Pat Taplin directed the production and said she was really pleased by the way that everything went both on stage and behind the scenes.

"The opening night was fantastic and it all went without a hitch to a very receptive first night audience of around 1,200. I was delighted with everyone's efforts to. We heard lovely comments from the audience as they left such as " what a magnificent performance, " and "what voices". It is a joy to direct and great fun.

"I was delighted with everyone's drive and attack, particularly the outstanding performances from Stephanie and Roger Jackaman. The excitement generated throughout the theatre was immense."

Gemma Nayland plays Peron's mistress and this is her third production for the society.

"We had a wonderful night and everything went well. I can not think of anything, which actually went wrong. I really enjoyed myself and so did everyone else," she said.

Judy Wadman, who looks after stage liaison for the production said: "We had the usual superstitions back stage like no whistling and no mentioning that play! But all went very well and it was a real success. This was quite a new project for us to take on but I think we did it justice with fantastic performances. Hopefully we showed how well Evita can be done by amateur companies with great results."

"Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the first night and the cast were so pleased with the audience response-it really was a great night for all concerned.

"Obviously there are nerves back stage before we go on but once out there these go very quickly," she added.

Evita runs until Saturday night and there is still time to get tickets for this wonderful production. Just call the box office at the Regent on Ipswich 433100.

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