REVIEW: The Merry Widow Grand Theatre, Blackpool

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With newer musicals attracting the operatic societies, a rare performance of “the Widow” could not be missed.

Musica Lirica Opera, the welcome drawing together of local artists and musicians, have previously performed pieces by Puccini and Mozart.

Here, “for one night only,” they stepped into the more frivolous world of Franz Lehar, whose lilting waltzes are always an invitation to give the Widow another whirl.

It’s a Ruritanian Mills and Boon, of course, set in the Paris diplomatic community of some impoverished nation washed by the Danube.

The show first appeared at the Grand at Easter, 1908, and earned much money from return visits and later revivals.

All it needs is a vivacious Anna (the widow) and a commanding Count Danilo – and here we had the sparkling Joan Aitchison as the lady looking for a new hubby and Peter Bowden as the lothario loathe to give up the shady ladies of Maxim’s to settle down with 20 million in the bank.

Well, the plot was always unbelievable!

The cast seized the comedy bits but will excuse the singling out of Jacqui Veazey’s moment as the Consul’s wife, giddy with Danilo’s apparent interest, fluttering: “Do you know how old I am?”

Dame Edith ‘A haandbaag’ Evans couldn’t have eclipsed her.

With an accomplished 28-piece orchestra conducted by Michael Hall and hearty chorus work by the Fylde’s best singers, the show was a company triumph. And the audience admired them for it.

Barry Band