Untouched By Time
Magic Atmosphere of "The Dancing Years"
Clacton Operatic and Musical Comedy Society 10 - 14 April 1962, Princes Theatre, Clacton “The Dancing Years” by Ivor Novello
With one of those extravagant settings and a wealth of still-remembered songs, which will ever be reminiscent of the light hearted atmosphere of the carefree twenties, Ivor Novello's "The Dancing Years" opened for its five-day run at the Princes Theatre, Clacton, last night.
Set in waltz famous Austria this show has given the world of light music such songs as "Waltz of my Heart" and "My Dearest Dear" and with able, confident principals the production lets none of their old magic slip away.
There are, however a number of faults in Kenneth Smith's production which cannot be ignored and the chief of these is the blatant inability of most of the supporting cast to cope with the poor acoustic qualities of the auditorium.
The company have been housed in this theatre since shortly after the war and must be faced with the problem of balancing these acoustic faults with the higher revenue which can be obtained from the large seating capacity. Nevertheless it seems that a happier compromise could be worked out.
Stage microphones are used to help the cast but as they are now set they pick up more the stage noises then they do the voices.
As in nearly all musical comedies the theme is a love story. Unknown composer Rudi Kleber is discovered by singer Maria Zeigler and becomes famous under her patronage. Naturally enough she falls in love with him but has to cope with the childhood adulation of Rudi's young friend Grete. The romantic balance is kept by Rudi's friend Franzel falling in love with Grete.
One of the real delights of the production is Mary Seymour's Maria. She combined the qualities of a confident actress and a sense of stage craft with a powerful and beautiful mezzo-soprano voice a combination of which is an unfortunate rarity in amateur operatic societies.
As Rudi, the composer, Jeffrey Titford once again proves himself a natural for musical comedy. His amusing face and light hearted manner keep the show swinging along at a boisterous pace.
Jennifer Brown (Grete) is pretty, young and gay, and Victor Clark (Franzel) who follows her around like a "puppy dog" is a good enough example of the society-conscious Army officer. Jo Wells takes an amusing comedy role as Hattie Watney, the old retainer.
The musical direction is by Maurice Dixon.