Putting on the Glitz

Milton Musical Society are now in their 48th year of performing and believe that everyone should have a chance to show their talents.

Set in a 1920s American nightclub, the story unfolds through its staff, guest artists, and rich clientele. With music from the terrific on-stage three-piece night club band, the Al Hume Trio (Alistair Hume on keyboards, Dan Priest on drums and Lee Marchant playing double bass), wonderful songs highlight the work of such well-known song writers as George Gershwin, Jerome Kern and Cole Porter. This is the era of prohibition, gangsters, elegant fashion and pioneers of movies and flight.

With the coming of prohibition, clubs could no longer provide the main attraction – booze – and most went out of business overnight. Gangsters quickly seized the opportunity and acquired the clubs at knockdown prices. Following expensive and stylish refits, the new clubs offered highly polished, exotic floor shows, dancing to celebrity bands, first-class dining and, of course, a seemingly endless supply of illicit booze. All of this was provided in luxurious surroundings by beautiful waitresses and hatcheck girls, handsome waiters and barmen, spiced with a whiff of naughtiness and danger. Sure enough, as the cast sing, act and dance through this enjoyable and toe-tapping show, the audience become part of tonight’s clientele in the Top Hat Club (THC) and can enjoy bootleg booze served by waiters and hatcheck girls!

As the creator and director of the show, Les Del-Nevo ensures that Putting on the Glitz provides a fast-moving and exciting story for the cast of 34 to sing and dance their way through 26 of the best and most well-known songs written by America’s greatest songwriters. Plenty of glamour and glitz is provided by the gorgeous dresses and headwear worn by the lady cast members, and clearly many, many sequins have gone into providing the dazzling sparkle. Costumes and props are used effectively to enhance the delivery and support the storyline of a typical night in the THC, with uncomplicated, stylish lighting illuminating the performers.

Naming individual performers is not done to the detriment of those whose names are not mentioned, but merely to elevate the performances which stood out for me on opening night. Firstly, and maybe not the most obvious to everyone, are the fantastic  dancing and tapping numbers performed by the hatcheck girls, Issy Whitlock, Emma Hardy, Chloe Miles and ladies of the chorus whose individual names are not identifiable from the programme. It is always a disappointment not to have a few tapping male dancers, but it is not often that a director in any society is handed a budding Gene Kelly to cast!

Tracey Bryant stands up to her claim to be the ‘Hostess with the mostest on the ball’ with an uplifting performance, followed by the fabulous Silma Wadsaywack turning up the temperature to ‘Heatwave’ level. A marvellous trio of Christine Eastwood, Margaret Coltman and Pauline Agate remind us ladies of our obligation to ‘Keep young and beautiful’. The chorus come into their own wonderfully with ‘’Swonderful’, followed by a terrific ‘You cannot make your shimmy shake on tea’, sung beautifully by Marie Coltman.

The evening’s MC,  Syd Young does a sterling job, ably complemented by Harry the Maitre d’, played by Peter Hall, and the delightfully dipsy Marie, by Marie Coltman.

If you are able to get a ticket for the remaining performances, you are in for a treat. They are on 17 and 18 November at 7.30 and 19 November at 2.30 and 7.30.