DATE 26th April 2018
SOCIETY Rochdale Phoenix Operatic Society
VENUE Curtain Theatre Rochdale
DIRECTOR Norma Grimshaw


Author: Sharon Drummond

The orchestra were placed to stage left on stage but mainly out of view in the wings but they sounded fabulous and the work Jon had done with the cast in rehearsal paid off with beautiful harmonies and lovely solo work.

The set looked wonderful and was beautifully painted. With nothing to move for scene changes this resulted in sharp and quick flowing movement between scenes. Props worked well and costumes were lovely. There was no miking and all the cast projected well throughout. The lighting was great and complimented the scenes very well. The direction was very well blocked and creatively put together.


The chorus sounded fabulous and played their parts well with the men taking on dual roles as Pirates and Police. The enjoymenr shines through with this company which is always a pleasure to watch.

Andy Exley was very good as The Pirate King with great vocals and nice comedy touches and Steven Miller as Samuel his lieutenant added to this. The two worked really well together.

Frederick was well played by Lawrence Shoebridge with good delivery of lines and great interactions with Ruth played superbly by Greta Shellard complete with Cornish accent. Greta has a lovely singing voice and delivered the part exceedingly well, never out of character and with clear diction.

Tim Keiley was great as the Sergeant of Police and “When a felon’s not engaged in his employment” was a great comic number.

The Major General was brilliantly played by Peter Shellard with perfect diction, projection of voice and comedy touches. “I am the very model of a modern Major General” was superbly delivered.

The Majors daughters were very well played despite the obvious age disparity and Mabel played by Gwen Hallas Friedrich was simply stunning. Her acting was lovely and her vocals were gorgeous.  “Poor wand’ring one” was absolutely beautiful and delivered and staged brilliantly.

It is sad that this looks likely to be the last fully staged production from this society but with costs the way they are I can completely understand the decision made. I hope you will continue to invite me to your concert shows and fundraisers as I would love to see you all and keep in contact.

Well done on this production and thank you for the last 7 years as your Noda rep.