The Drayton Players present the musical made famous in the '30s by Jessie Matthews.
Drayton Village Hall, OX14 4LG, Thu February 14th - Sat February 23rd 2008
A show about a show is, when you think about it, a somewhat strange concept, though not an
uncommon one in the history of musical theatre. The Good Companions, however, based on
the 1930s novel and play by J.B. Priestley, with music by Andre Previn, is much more than that
and the Drayton Players give a masterly, polished and highly entertaining performance.
The Dinkie Doos touring concert party is down on its luck, the manager having absconded with
the week’s takings. The new act, banjo player Morton Mitchum, arrives with three chance
companions, who, each in turn, tell how they have come to leave their old, unsatisfactory lives
behind and are seeking whatever fate brings them. Together with the touring players, changing
the name to The Good Companions, they embark on a rollercoaster journey.
The three central characters - Jess Oakroyd, played by Mike Davies, Miss Trant (Georgia Alston)
and Inigo Jolliphant (Steve Hosking) - give extremely strong and convincing performances, both
in acting and singing, as does leading player Susie Dean (Victoria Hawtin). Morton Mitchum
(Paul Martin) is an imposing presence, and well cast as a larger-than-life performer.
This musical has a large cast list, so many of the actors have to play more than one part, but this
is, in general, very well done, and enables them to show their versatility. There are also many
changes of scene but this is, again, pretty well managed, despite the occasional wobbly door.
Among the many humorous moments, the school scene is particularly hilarious.
Solo songs are a good combination of pathos and humour, such as Great North Road and Finally
Footloose. Song and dance numbers are very well choreographed - notably, A Little Travellin’
Music and Points Beyond. Costumes are colourful, well chosen and appropriate to the period.
This is certainly another winner for the Drayton Players, and highly recommended as an evening
of light hearted entertainment.