This week, another uplifting night courtesy of Tip Top Productions, watching Peter Quilter’s 2005 hit comedy ‘Glorious!’ starring Marian Newman as the deluded but deliriously joyous First Lady Of The Sliding Scale, the totally dreadful opera singer, Florence Foster Jenkins.
Set in New York in 1944, Glorious!’ told the true story of Jenkins, of her mind-boggling lack of talent, intriguingly coupled with her amazing generosity, all the while surrounded by a clutch of eccentric but adoring friends.
This loyal coterie consisted of Jenkins’ partner, St Clair (Richard Steventon), the perfect gentleman who could verge on sleazy in a matter of seconds, plus crazy Dorothy, best friend of Jenkins, (Pippa Redmayne), clad in several colourful costumes and often accessorised by a dying dog, thankfully played by a rather cuddly soft toy.
And there was also Cosme McMoon, Jenkins’ pianist (Ryan Rothwell), who sat at piano with his handsome face expressing absolute horror as Jenkins sabotaged opera and music in general, in one small crescendo. He also fed us snappy one-liners, which we scoffed eagerly.
And how the audience cheered at the appearance of furiously haughty Mrs Verrinder-Gedge (Sally Dillon) who noisily demanded Jenkins should quit opera pronto. Meanwhile, elegant Spanish maid Maria (Charlie Nunez) strode the stage with a long-suffering face, and then constantly vented her fury with the banging of saucepans in the kitchen. She also provided fast and fluent Spanish, which gripped the audience as readily it gripped the cast.
‘Glorious!’ was a chance to bask in two hours of sheer pleasure and fun, watching a very slick band of actors.
And most particularly, Marian Newman, as Florence, thrilled us with her portrait of this real-life singer, painting her through wonderful comic timing and such talented aplomb that we laughed raucously…while Marian sang in Florence’s raucous fashion.
The Production team consisted of Directors Mark Newman and Stuart Evans, Stage Manager Paul Crofts, plus Mark Shenton, Alec Stokes, Frank Robinson, Pat and David Pearce, Stella Laffargue, provided a great show. People left singing (?!) its praises…although thankfully Florence herself kept quiet!
So glad I caught this – thoroughly recommend.
Images courtesy of Mark Carline