Theatre: “Memories of the Musicals”

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It’s theatre time again for us! Today, we headed to Kilworth and their outdoor Theatre to see a very special production called: Memories of the Musicals.

Billed as…a full-length show featuring the very best songs from every one of the nineteen musicals produced at Kilworth House Theatre since the theatre opened in 2007. Six stars of the West End stage will sing and dance their way through more than fifty songs from Kilworth’s fantastic back-catalogue supported by a live orchestra on stage”

The Dovecote Buttery

But before all that, there was ‘nosebag’! Initially, we couldn’t decide where or when to eat – before or afterwards – but who wouldn’t want to eat at a restaurant with a name like The Dovecote Buttery?

So we did! ?

11.15am: Janet acted as chauffeur, and we headed for our 11.30pm table at the Buttery.

Located in the nearby village of Newton, (population around 100, including us!) the eatery is attached to the next-door farm (spookily called Dovecote Farm) where they’ve been serving food since 2004. I can’t believe we’ve never got around to visiting before now.

Yummy!

11.30am: When we arrived, it was already busy, but that was mainly people coming to the end of the breakfast serving period (that also comes highly recommended!)

This was a fantastic experience! This was a real find for us, although Jo and Janet knew it well. Generous portions of food that looked and tasted delicious – I suspect not a microwave in sight! The service was good too! No doubt, we’ll be back! ?

1.30pm: Next stop (even though we were all so stuffed, we felt like a snooze!) was the Theatre. For those that aren’t familiar with Kilworth, it’s one of the few (only?) Hotels in the UK that has their own Theatre on-site! The Hotel is five-star and based on our previous visits to the Theatre’s performances, productions are easily West-End standard – but without the ticket price and the long journey! ?

2.15pm: We met up with Carol who’d travelled separately, and after a quick drink and ordering for the interval, the five of us headed for our seats. They were perfectly positioned – second row from the back and pretty central. However, be warned, it’s wise to bring cushions (thanks Carol!!) as the chairs are (ahem!) ‘basic’.

We’re ready! Pity others weren’t!

2.30pm: We’re ready! It was almost a full-house, but not quite. However, in a first for the Theatre since we’ve been going, ‘curtain-up’ didn’t happen on time. It soon became clear as to why not: around 20 people in random batches casually strolled in, as if they had no idea what time it was supposed to begin (I hate that!) ?

2.41pm: Curtain up!

The stage was made up of seven-piece orchestra (actually on-stage, and that’s unusual for Kilworth Theatre) with their VERY enthusiastic Musical Director, George Dyer on piano and keeping time. Whatever he was on, I want some!! I think EVERY note got a workout, and that piano is going to need serious therapy afterwards! ??. Oh and a word about that talented orchestra – there might have only been seven of them, but they managed about double that number in terms of instruments. A very talented group. ?

Oscar, Matthew, Julia, Owen, Carole and Emma

In front of the mini-orchestra was a plain set, with (just) enough room for the six cast – Oscar Conlon-Morrey, Matthew Goodgame (also the Director), Julia Imbach. Owen McHugh, Carole Stennett and Emma Williams. They all had impressive histories on the stage, including London appearances. We might be out ‘in the sticks’ but the Theatre DOES attract the best talent. Oscar was clearly the natural comedian of the group, and his later rendition of “I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major-General” was to have everyone in stitches.

It was a VERY extensive song-list with just a short interval in between.

…and I think we knew most of them! That well-worn phrase: “They don’t write them like that anymore” was never truer! ?

It was impossible to pick the best performance – they were all beyond excellent – but in terms of the ‘immaculate timing award’ that easily went to ‘Singin’ in the Rain‘ (sung by Owen) as just five minutes beforehand, it actually started raining! For ‘blubbing potential’ it had to be ‘Memories‘ (sung by Carole) where, based on the group in front of us and many others, the Kleenex was out, and in full use. Me? I think I just had a bit of grit in my eye! ?

Almost fifty tunes is a big playlist, but they were all sung with ease, with energy and with passion. The ladies could have brought down large buildings at 1000 paces based just on the strength of their individual and collective voices – impressive! As a bonus, when the group had an opportunity to all sing together, the harmonies were choir-like! ?

All six looked like they were having great fun too! ??????

Performances from 3rd-29th August 2021

4.55pm: When the performance ended just before 5pm, not surprisingly, a standing ovation followed. The cast looked genuinely moved by this, but it was so well deserved. They finished with a couple of tunes from Kilworth’s forthcoming performances – Half a Sixpence and Carousel – “Flash, Bang, Wallop” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone“.

Wow! What a performance – possibly the best we’ve seen there! ?????

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