Saturday, 15 August 2009

Mis(s)Trial By Jury (Light Opera Of Derbyshire)

The program is divided into two parts: the auditions (set 10:00 this morning), and the performance (set 3:00 this afternoon, which coincides with the stated time for this entertainment). The first half scarily accurately depicts what has happened on many occasions in real auditions, with auditionees having no idea what show they're here for, or unavailable for the performance date(s), or just totally unsuited to any role... or, as is far far too common, there just aren't enough auditionees at all. As the end of the list of names is reached, the producers despair of casting the show at all, leaving us to an interval while they try to concoct a cast out of this strange collection... of course, anyone who's read the programme will know what happens, when you have a large number of excellent female auditionees and no men except for one of the producers!

Some excellent singing so far. Sharon Cutworth (last night's Tessa) gave a lovely rendition of The Lost Chord (along with many comments about its being obscure - I wonder if there was a single person in the audience unfamiliar with it!); William Revels' audition was as pleasant on our ears as on the producers' (pity for their sake that he couldn't make the performance - too busy rehearsing Peak Opera!); Jane Buchi slipped into her Grand Duchess pseudo-German accent to tell the panel that she was NOT going to do chorus!

Miss-Trial itself is rollicking fun. For the most part, all male roles are played by women, and the few female roles (namely, the Plaintiff and the Bridesmaids) are men (are men stuck in her throat). The words needed very little alteration most of the time, and even "O'er the season vernal" was untouched (although the bridesmaids - or whatever they were now - had a completely different verse). There were almost as many changes "just for fun" as there were gender changes (for instance, the Defendant had all the latest electronics, and had Facebook and Twitter contacts).

For the most part, people sang according to their character roles, with octave shifts as appropriate. During the "chaos bits", though, people sang as per the original score, which was I think a wise move. Vocal balance was alright, although (unsurprisingly) a bit light on the basses; alto/soprano balance worked well.

This was definitely not your regular Trial By Jury. But it was never meant to be. It was meant to be fun, and it absolutely was.

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