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Me and My Girl a big hit

PUBLISHED: 13:00 30 May 2002 | UPDATED: 12:01 03 March 2010

WHAT a knees-up this was – and no mistake! Though the first show of the Stowmarket and Operatic and Dramatic Society was way back in 1922, this octagenarian society played true to long-held principles of pure entertainment in this, its latest summer show.

Me and My Girl

Regal Theatre, Stowmarket

Until Saturday

WHAT a knees-up this was – and no mistake! Though the first show of the Stowmarket and Operatic and Dramatic Society (SODS), was way back in 1922, this octagenarian society played true to long-held principles of pure entertainment in this, its latest summer show.

The original lyrics were given a once-over by the great Stephen Fry for a stunning revival in the 80s at the West End's Adelphi and this chirpy, well-loved piece was an ideal way for SODS to celebrate their admirable milestone.

The script sparks and fizzes in between the hum-along numbers such as the title song, Me and My Girl. Though the repartee was a little slow to start, the music hall banter soon warmed up. "Do you know my daughter May? No, but thanks for the tip" was one classic exchange I'll fondly remember.

The premise of the show is simple. Lambeth Barrow boy Bill done good, thanks to an illicit liaison between his mum and the late Lord Hareford, and joins the "nobbles", swapping vermin for ermine.

But Sally, his fishmonger girl, is a vestige of his former life less easy to drop than his East End vowels. Neither she nor Bill adapt quietly – and an almost full house rejoiced in the pleasing song and dance that charts the trouble and strife…before there's even a wedding ring in sight!

A strong chorus line clearly enjoyed the well-worked choreography in a production that was fortunate in its accomplished, light directorial touch.

The real sparkler, for me, was Jo Bendall as Sally. The power and sweetness of her voice was joyously matched by a commanding on-stage personality. For all the strengths of this wonderful pearl of a show, she Lambeth walked away with it.

James Fraser


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