Cheerful ‘Dolly’ wins plaudits for Broughty Opera

AT THE end of a dark and dismal strike-bound day, a winter-weary audience packed into the recently refurbished Gardyne Theatre, ready to be entertained by the Broughty Opera’s production of ‘Hello Dolly!’

They were not disappointed when, once again, musical director Don Grieve and producer Frances Irons presented them with an evening to remember.

From start to finish the show radiated cheerfulness and joy.

Based on earlier stage plays, this is the tale of Dolly Levi, a fixer who makes her living as a matchmaker. When we meet her, Dolly is currently involved in finding a second wife for a very wealthy but very grumpy man.

Set at the turn of the 20th century, this is not a complicated show. From the beginning there surely can be little doubt that, in the end, everything will be sorted out and all involved will live happily ever after.

Jill Davidson brought tremendous warmth, humour and a very human touch to the challenging and pivotal role of Dolly, the meddling matchmaker, bustling about the stage, constantly quoting and communing with her late husband and doling out healthy portions of common-sense. Her enthusiasm for and her obvious enjoyment of the part was infectious.

George Anderson as the cantankerous Yonkers businessman Horace Vandergelder proved an excellent foil for the sophisticated Dolly. He showed tremendous versatility in two big numbers, ‘It Takes a Woman’ and the scene in the courtroom, set off magnificently by his part in the ridiculous goings on in the hat shop.

Ross Lesslie and Thomas Richmond brought both skill and gusto to their performances as the young shop assistants Cornelius and Barnaby, particularly when they venture into up-town New York. Their comic timing was perfect, particularly when they find themselves somewhat unexpectedly in a posh up-town New York hat shop

Mrs Molloy, proprietor of the said hat shop, was played by Jen Newton with poise and enthusiasm, mischievously aided and abetted in her decision to have some fun with the boys by her charming assistant Minnie played by Lisa Murray.

The leading players were ably supported by an energetic and enthusiastic company in a number of very complicated routines and by a large and lively orchestra.

Effective use of gauze and clever lighting ensured that the pace of this complicated and somewhat difficult to stage production hardly faltered.