Larbert Opera casts a spell on audiences

Larbert Amateur Operatic Society is performing 'The Witches of Eastwick' at the Dobbie Hall until Saturday
Larbert Amateur Operatic Society is performing 'The Witches of Eastwick' at the Dobbie Hall until Saturday

There are affairs, secrets, spells and seduction in ‘The Witches of Eastwick’ at the Dobbie Hall this week.

The musical from Larbert Amateur Operatic Society features a stellar cast, tight pacing and more catchy tunes than you could shake a broomstick at.

Centred around three bored woman living in small town America, their lives are turned upside down when the charismatic Darryl Van Horne (Stewart Borthwick) moves in.

Michelle Weston nails the part of Suki, the geeky journalist - although I struggle to believe any of our breed could be so socially awkward - and her beautiful voice is showcased to perfection in ‘Words Words Words’.

Helen Roxburgh is man-eating, but fragile, Alexandra and plays the multi-faceted role well, giving as good as she gets to bolshie Darryl.

Shelley Procek is Jane, a bohemian type, with the actress really shining in her solo ‘Waiting for the Music’.

Stewart plays the man with three women’s affections well and his comic timing keeps the whole play together.

Every play needs its villain and Tracy Rice does a formidable job as town gossip Felicia. The bad guy part is easy to take into panto territory, but Tracy was believable as the snooty domineering wife and Graeme Rodger a convincing hen-pecked husband.

John Coe and Anne Easton are fantastic as starcrossed young lovers, the two perfecting the mid-Atlantic twang, while Greer Robertson’s light voice brings a vulnerability to the role of Bag Lady.

Director Derek D. Easton has done a fantastic job and the professionalism of the company really comes across. Everyone, from the chorus to principals, gives 100 per cent on stage. The Falkirk Herald was there for opening night on Tuesday and while there were a few sound issues, the show was more or less faultless.

I’d not seen the musical before, and only seen the film starring Jack Nicholson and Cher once, and it’s chock-full of catchy numbers. ‘Dirty Laundry ‘ was a highlight and I went to sleep still humming ‘Darryl Van Horne’.

Surely Larbert Amateur Operatic Society must be one of the strongest amateur outfits in the country and could give professional companies a run for their money. I urge theatre fans to check out this little known musical while they can.

‘Witches of Eastwick’ runs at The Dobbie Hall until Saturday at 7.30 p.m. nightly. For tickets, call (01324) 506850 or visit the Steeple Box Office in Falkirk High Street.

The cast and crew

Daryll Van Horne, Stewart Borthwick; Alexandra Spofford, Helen Roxburgh; Jane Smart, Shelley Procek; Sukie Rougemont, Michelle Weston; Felicia Gabriel, Tracy Rice; Clyde Gabriel, Graeme Rodger; Jennifer Gabriel, Anne Easton; Michael Spofford, John Coe; Bag Lady, Greer Robertson; Joe Marino, Gordon Gallacher; Gina Marino, Rebecca Anderson; Raymond Neff, David Steedman; Greeta Neff, Kirsty Meikle; Marge Perley, Ashleigh McGeorge; Rev. Ed Parsley, Iain Davidson; Brenda Parsley, Claire Wilson; Rebecca Barnes, Dale Henry; Ruth Barnes, Karyn Russell. Ensemble: Lucy Andrew, Jamie Baird, Yolande Borthwick, Diane Brisbane, Jeanna Connell, Chris Duncan, Sarah Finlay, Carole Fleming, Margaret-Ann Fletcher, Nicki Ford, Jillian Govan, Christine Jenkins, Yvonne Kelly, Gill Maitland, Jim Nicol, Helen O’Neill, Kevin O’Raw, Paul Rice, Fiona Rosser, Kimberly Silcock, Keith Watson, Sinead Williams.

Director, Derek Easton; musical director, Jan Cunningham; choreographer, Yolande Borthwick.