HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ‘INN’ SUCH GEMUETLICHKEIT
By Glyn Lomax. Exmouth Journal
What with yodelling, thigh-slapping dances, peasant costumes and happy-ever-after romance, it was gemutlichkeit at Mach 10 at Exmouth Pavilion this week, as the 14-20 Music and Drama Society took delighted audiences through the frothy, tuneful world of “White Horse Inn”
Although a high proportion of those involved were taking their first steps on the amateur stage, the company certainly pulled off a production, under the guidance of Alan Smith, which had the review night audience happy.
Even the first sight of the opening scene, the Inn against a blue-lit mountain background, drew a round of applause, and after that the audience took the players to their hearts and greeted everything they did with joyful enthusiasm.
Romantic leads Andy Killoran as Valentine Sutton and Lynda Brice at Ottoline sang and danced well together, although at times their light voices tended to be lost against the chorus.
In Musical comedy, however, it is often the fate of the romantic leads to be shadowed by strong comedy leads, and this production had a fine pair in the lead characters of Head Waiter Leopald, played by Mark Smith, and his employer, Joseph Vogel Huber (Alison Lunnon), whose amorous involvement is one of the several such entanglements threading their way through the plot.
Mark Smith Made immediate impact, with a tall imposing presence, a pleasant voice and mobile face, and went through his comic business with great confidence and sense of timing.
His mannerisms and expressions were a constant source of amusement and at times he was reminiscent of John Cleese at his “ministry of Silly Walks” best.
He was admirably partnered by Alison Lunnon, as the bossy owner of the White Horse Inn, who made the most of their cut-and-thrust relationship, and, if both could be said to have acted better than they sang, their proficiency in the acting more than compensated for any deficiencies elsewhere.
With a large part of the action backed by the chorus, it must be said that their support was variable, usually well balanced, but sometimes of the required volume without being distinct, and occasionally, as noted before, tending to swamp out the solos and duets.
With a large cast it is not possible to give detailed attention to each performer; many added bright touches to the production.
“White Horse Inn” was, generally enjoyed by the audience typical of whom was the gentleman sitting next to me, who was happily singing along with the players!