‘The Pajama Game’, Carnoustie Musical Society’s production for 2014, runs until tonight (Friday), and is jam-packed with well-known and hummable songs.
These include ‘Hey There’, ‘Once a Year Day’, ‘Steam Heat’, ‘Hernando’s Hideaway’, and the one I have been singing all the way home, ‘There Once Was a Man (who loved a woman)’.
The members of CMS are clearly having the time of their lives as they tackle the production with gusto. Enthusiasm is there by the bucketful, and the singing is just delightful.
The story is about the ‘Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory’ where the workers are desperate for a seven-and-a-half cent rise in the hourly rate. Management and union are light years apart, but true love arises to bridge the gap. Right, that’s the plot dealt with!
There are many memorable highlights, not least David Cheape’s performance as the last-minute stand-in to play the time and motion man, Vernon Hines. As well as an obsession with efficient working, he has a very funny song, ‘Think of the Time I Save’. And he throws knives.
Kevin Smith as Sid Sorokin, the factory supervisor, sings ‘Hey There’ into his Dictaphone, then duets with himself as it plays back. Brilliant. He is half of the love story.
Babe Williams is the other half, played by Claire Laing. She is the leader of the grievance committee, but when she falls in love with Sid (‘I’m Not At All In Love’), the Romeo and Juliet aspect of the show takes off.
Rodger Brunton gives an impeccable and hilarious performance as the union leader, Prez, whose broad American accent nonetheless pays occasional tribute to the character’s Scottish granny. During the works picnic scene, Prez wears a blazer whose stripes make one fear that a deck-chair is lying naked somewhere.
Mike Burns portrays factory owner Myron Hasler as a robotic tyrant, whose villainy is unmasked at the end.
Sid’s secretary, Mabel, is delightfully played and sung by Claire Ralston, who shares a cracking good, and quite intricate, duet with Vernon Hines, ‘I’ll Never be Jealous Again’.
Gladys Hotchkiss is a larger-than-life character played by Joanna Fitzgerald, who has a pivotal role in resolving the plot by surrendering the key to the factory’s account-book, in which dastardly deeds are recorded.
Many more excellent performances come from the rest of the cast: Pam Roach, Kerry Mitchell, Jim Robertson, Gemma Cox, Jamie Robertson, Pam Wallace, Connor Berg, Jane Fenton, Janette Gray, Kathy McCallum and Kym Watson.
Dancers include cast members plus Lynsey Ellen Faulkner, Jane McNamara and Elaine Ramsay. Additional chorus members are Chris Jukes, Agnes Davis, Susan Kydd, Sarah Laing, Joan Mitchell, Liz Pardoe, Elaine Scott and Yvonne Swankie.
The orchestra is led by Richard Waghorn, and comprises John Hampton, Karen Hamilton, John Angus, Pete Murch, Colin Sangster and Alex Craig.
It must be added that the costumes, and in particular the ladies’ dresses, are brilliant. And the orchestra’s performance is flawless.
Kevin Smith also produced, and there were numerous bits of ‘business’ that showed great imagination.
Lynsey Ellen Faulkner is choreographer, and Ali Laing is stage manager and assistant producer.
I’m told there are still some seats available for tonight’s final performance. Why not pop along to the High School and share the cast’s enjoyment!