Foot-tapping fun and frivolity with ‘Hello, Dolly!’

The cast of 'Hello, Dolly!' take to the stage for the finale accompanied by a live band (photo by Philip Evans)

LYME Regis Musical Theatre left audiences with smiles on their faces this week, thanks to its production of the fun and frivolous Broadway hit ‘Hello, Dolly!’.

Set in 1890 New York, the jovial show follows the story of widow Dolly Levi, who makes a living from matchmaking (among many other talents!). Having been asked to find a new wife for well-known half-a-millionaire, Horace Vandergelder, Dolly soon decides she’d rather keep him for herself and escapades ensue as she meddles in everyone’s lives, building up to manic final scenes in the Harmonia Gardens restaurant, where everyone is finally brought together.

The production, directed by Claire Philbrock, posed a number of firsts for the company – the first time it had taken on ‘Hello, Dolly!’ in its 98-year history, and the first time staging a show at the Woodmead Halls, where the stage was expanded to make room for the colourful chorus numbers, choreographed by Rachel Worsley.

The cast also included many newcomers to Lyme Regis Musical Theatre, including Judi Allen as leading lady Dolly Levi, who surely made a lasting impression on audiences with her outstanding performance.

Barely off stage for a minute, she ably led the experienced cast through upbeat song and dance numbers, including Put Your Sunday Clothes On’, ‘Before the Parade Passes By’ and the title song ‘Hello, Dolly!’, accompanied by a live band led by musical director Ian Crew.

Judi played opposite Axminster’s Ian Styles, giving a very confident and powerful performance as the brash Horace Vandergelder. This being his fourth show with the company, Ian was joined by several other favourites of the Lyme stage, including Kelly Apps as Mrs Irene Molloy, who pleased the crowd with her wistful solo ‘Ribbons Down My Back’, and Nicole Parkinson Ward, who has impressively notched up 40 local shows despite only being in her 20s.

LRMT newcomer Tanya Remnant took on the role of Horace’s whining niece Ermengarde. She impressively stayed in character throughout, crying and frowning even during the most upbeat chorus numbers, and eventually winning her uncle’s approval to marry artist Ambrose Kemper (Ben Malone).

Also new to the company, Joe Binmore and Jak Montague won the audiences hearts as Horace’s naive shop clerks Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker, skipping work to experience the big lights of New York for the first time.

The cast of principals was rounded off by Caroline Markham as the larger than life Ernestina Money, and stalwarts of the local stage Brian Rattenbury (Rudolph), Brian Cursley (the Judge) and Sarah Causley (Mrs Rose) taking on smaller roles this year.

PRINCIPALS: Judi Allen – Dolly Levi; Kelly Apps – Mrs Irene Molloy; Nicole Parkinson-Ware – Minnie Fay; Ian Styles – Horace Vandergelder; Joe Binmore – Cornelius Hackl; Jak Montague – Barnaby Tucker; Tanya Remnant – Ermengarde; Brian Rattenbury – Rudolph; Brian Cursley – the Judge; Ben Malone – Ambrose Kemper; Caroline Markham – Ernestina Money; Sarah Causley – Mrs Rose.

THE COMPANY: Grace Herbert, Trudi Robson, Elaine Street, Val Cullimore, Andrée Pick, Harry Lockett, Scott Robson, Matthew Lockett, Jo Hopkins, Yvonne Marsh; Tina Woodall, Peter Hampton, Carys Lowe, Pete Ward, Christine Perkins, Sue Wiscombe.

PRODUCTION: Musical Director – Ian Crew; Director – Claire Philbrock; Choreographer – Rachel Worsley; Repetiteuse – Stephanie Dommett; Stage Manager & Crew – Jack Price and others; Set Construction & Carpentry – Danny Hopkins; Lighting, Sound & Set – Dave Tulloch Total; Costumes – Dress Circle of Witham; Wardrobe – Pauline Beviss & Jane Broom; Properties – Brian Cursley; Makeup – company members; Front of House – Helen Webber and friends of LRMT; Production Management – Dan Wilkins, Jo and Danny Hopkins; Poster Artwork & Company Photos – Scott Robson; Website & Social Media – Dan Wilkins & Ian Styles; Programme Content – Pauline Beviss; Programme Design – Dan Wilkins & LymeOnline; Programme Printing – Advantage Digital Print; Publicity – Jane Broom & Jo Hopkins; Dress Rehearsal Photography – Melissa Denslow.

BAND: Ian Crew – conductor, keys, tenor sax; Jen Campbell – flute, piccolo, clarinet, alto sax; Shirley Screech – clarinet, alto sax; Josh Westrip – trumpet; Josie Denning – trumpet; Chris Holland – trombone; Glyn Rattenbury – drums; Steph Dommett – piano; Gill Crew – violin; Rob Iles – bass.

For more pictures from Lyme Regis Musical Theatre’s ‘Hello, Dolly!’ see our Photo Gallery

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