Showboat – Ruddigore
Taking place over fifty years, Show Boat tells the story of a family of performers living on a show boat, and their struggles with gambling, race, infidelity, and poverty. In the beginning of the show, Captain Andy runs extremely successful performances aboard his ship, called The Cotton Blossom. Unfortunately, after it is discovered that his leading lady, Julie, has African-American heritage, she and her leading-man boyfriend are forced to quit the show. As a replacement, Captain Andy employs his daughter, Magnolia, and a young gambler, Gaylord Ravenal as the new stars. Magnolia and Gaylord soon fall in love, but they must struggle against poverty and Gaylord's habitual infidelity. When Magnolia gets pregnant, Gaylord deserts her in Chicago. It is only years later that Gaylord meets his now-grown daughter, and finally reconciles with Magnolia. Spanning three generations of hope and heartbreak, Show Boat has established itself as an essential contribution to the American musical theatre canon.
The Production Team
Director – David Ivins
Choreographer – Nola Verrills
Musical Director – Geoffrey Kennedy
Assistant Director – Bill Barry
Rehearsal Pianist – Ruth Beattie
Lance Smith (Andy), Sheila Malone (Magnolia), David Lewis (Ravenal). Annette Emerton (Ellie), Shane Caddaye (Frank), Beverley Ivins (Julie), Carole Barry (Parthy), Rick Masjuk (Joe), Marjorie Simpson (Queenie), Craig Curran (Pete & Jeb), Neville Davies (Windy), Jeff Ferguson (Steve), Russell McNair (Rubberface), Jim Armsworth (Vallon), Trevor Shepherd (Backwoodsman & Barker 3), Norman McNaught (Barker 1), Peter Burgess (Barker 2 & Max), Moira Hooker (Ethel), Anne Wilson (Landlady), Bruce Holden (Jake), Jonathon Foulds (Charlie), Lynne Chester (Lottie), Andrew Austin, Lorraine Baines, Lisa Balaschow, Rachael Beatty, Jan Beck, Michelle Croudace, Ross Clarke, Margaret Emerton, Judy Kennedy, Samantha Leary, Clair Lynch, James Llewllyn, Janelle McNair, Kathleen McNaught, Danielle Norton, Melita Roots, Leanne Shepherd, Neil Wilkinson.
The scene is an early 19th century Cornish village called Rederring. The corps of professional bridesmaids is in despair because the town’s prettiest girl. Rose Maybud, remains unwed. Rose is a sweet, orphan girl who relies for guidance on her book of etiquette. This book forbids her to be so immodest as to disclose her love for the young farmer, Robin, who is almost to shy to court her.
Little does Rose know that Robin is in fact Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, the cursed Baron of Ruddigore. The holder of this title has been doomed to commit a crime a day or die in agony. However, twenty years earlier, in an attempt to escape the hereditary curse, he had feigned death and assumed the name of Robin Oakapple. This forced his younger brother, Despard, to take over the wretched curse. Along comes Richard, his sea-faring foster brother, who volunteers to woo Rose on shy Robin’s behalf. He too becomes smitten with her charms and the two pledge eternal love. Rose then has to decide between her two suitors, and finally chooses Robin. Festivities begin with the news of a wedding and the arrival of a city gentlemen, exciting the near desperate bridemaids. However. The festivities are short-lived due to the arrival of the menacing Sir Despard Murgatroyd. He reveals Robin’s true identity and in the finale of Act I, Rose, unwilling to marry a bad Baronet, promises herself to Richard. Act II takes place in the picture gallery of Ruddigore Castle among the portraits of previous baronet. Robin, now Sir Ruthven, must live up to his villainous reputation. Rose and Richard arrive to ask consent for their wedding, which Ruthven finally gives after Rose’s pleading. The portraits who have witnessed this scene then come to life, and their leader, Sir Roderic, accuses Ruthven of shirking his criminal duty. After ordering him to carry off a lady that very day they return to their frames. Newly reformed and virtuous, Despard and Margaret, then arrive to discharge their moral duty of persuading Ruthven to abstain from evil – even though this will mean his death. To add to the confusion, Robin’s servant, Adam, then returns with the lady he has obediently stolen for Ruthven. She just happens to be Dame Hannah, an old love of his ancestor, Sir Roderic. Seeing her, Sir Roderic comes to life and claims his former sweetheart. With the characters all assembled Ruthven argues thus:
· A Baronet of Ruddigore can only die by refusing to commit a daily crime
· Therefore, such refusal is tantamount to suicide
· But suicide is a crime.
So – Sir Roderic should never have died at all, and is, for all purposes alive! This also leaves Ruthven free to abandon the curse.
In the end, Ruthven embraces Rose, Despard embraces Margaret, Sir Roderic embraces Dame Hannah and Richard finds consolation with Zorah, one of the bridesmaids.
So all ends up happily in song and dance.
The Production Team
Director – Marjorie Simpson
Choreographer – Anne Kay
Musical Director – Kate Palethorpe
Assistant Director – Michael Kay
Rehearsal Pianist – Patricia Gleeson
Fred Jones (Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd), Robert Lashmore (Richard Dauntless), Bryan Dalton (Sir Despard Murgatroyd), Fred Waski (Old Adam Goodhart), Moira Hooker (Rose Maybud), Barbara Benson (Mad Margaret), Janet Kay (Dame Hannah), Elizabeth Ward (Zorah), Sonja Barry (Ruth), Betty Tougher (The Bridemaid Chaperone), Robert Neill (Sir Roderick Murgatroyd), Lorraine Baines, Lisa Balaschow, Jan Beck, Lynne Chester, Michelle Croudace, Judy Kennedy, Helen Kennedy, Cilla Norris, Danielle Norton, Andrew Austin, Bill Barry, Brendan Fitzgerald, Ross Clarke, Craig Curran, Neville Davies, Don Donaldson, Rodney Edwards, Keith Gorman, Trevor Shepherd.