Dreams triumph over drudgery in premiere

In Mytholmroyd St Michael's Amateurs' production of Below Stairs are (from left): Tom Graham, Jenny Doyle, James Cheale, Stephen Wrathall and Charlotte Alderson
In Mytholmroyd St Michael's Amateurs' production of Below Stairs are (from left): Tom Graham, Jenny Doyle, James Cheale, Stephen Wrathall and Charlotte Alderson

Below Stairs

St Michael’s Amateurs

Mytholmroyd Church Hall

St Michael’s Amateurs in Mytholmroyd served up this Yorkshire premiere charting the rise of chambermaid Lucy Ambelside, who dreams of music hall stardom in 1914.

After going AWOL from her job to attend a theatre audition, Lucy finds herself penniless after being cast out by a heartless head butler from the stately home where she worked.

The down-at-heel waif sleeps rough and is wooed by Irish cad and roué Edward Waterflower (played convincingly by Andrew McNally).

All the while, her less fashionable suitor – police constable Tom Snodgrasse (David Billington) remains anxious to become her husband.

But when Tom goes missing in action in the Great War, Lucy persuades stage impresario Gerald Land (Anthony Crabtree) to give her the lead role in his show.

Her fortunes are transformed when she becomes a music-hall favourite.

The show has a feel-good factor mainly because Lucy’s dreams triumph over her drudgery and also because of the failure of men who try to take advantage of her vulnerability.

Felicity Dargan-Bell, who plays Lucy, is the compelling star of this production. With an impressive singing voice, she produced an excellent performance to polish off several challenging arias.

Steven Hirst played the bullying butler while Mags Horsfield simmered nicely as Doris the head cook. Director Rachel Doyle assembled a good cast for this production. The singing voices of some cast members were indistinct but music, settings, choreography and costumes provided the right atmosphere.

The show, raising money through ticket sales for Yorkshire Cancer Research, continues until Saturday.

Simon Wilkinson