Diamond anniversary at Dereham

PUBLISHED: 17:10 30 September 2008 | UPDATED: 14:45 07 July 2010

Ian Clarke

Dereham Operatic Society is celebrating its diamond anniversary by returning to the golden age of the silver screen and staging Mack and Mabel as its autumn musical.

Dereham Operatic Society is celebrating its diamond anniversary by returning to the golden age of the silver screen and staging Mack and Mabel as its autumn musical.

Jerry Herman's fast moving and biographical musical is guaranteed to have the audience splitting their sides with laughter one moment and touched by romance or heartache the next.

Set against a backdrop of slapstick comedy and packed with silent movie stars, Keystone Cops and Bathing Belles, the show unrolls between 1911 and 1928, just as the heyday of the silent movie is coming to a close.

It tells the roller coaster love story of the legendary silent film director Mack Sennett and his greatest leading lady, comedienne Mabel Normand, who thrilled Hollywood with their wild on-screen shenanigans and tumultuous off-screen relationship.

The highly-acclaimed score includes such well-loved numbers as "I Won't Send Roses," "Movies Were Movies," "Look What Happened to Mabel" "Hundreds of Girls," and "Tap your Troubles Away", as well as sparkling dance routines and custard pie fights.

To add to the authenticity, Dereham Operatic Society has included as part of the show, some specially made film clips, filmed by the actors taking part in the production, in the style of old silent movies, and which will be an integral part of the on-stage action, projected on set.

It has proved a new challenge for director Trevor Thurston and has been a unique opportunity for members of the company to play the role of real-life characters and well-known names such as “Fatty Arbuckle.”

The show opens at the Memorial Hall, Dereham with a special gala night including dinner on Saturday October 11 and then runs from Monday October 13-Saturday October 18, nightly, with a matinee on Saturday October 18.

Gala performance tickets are available on 01603 759423.

All other tickets are available from Hallmark, Dereham on 01362 851919. Prices start from £7.50.

Full information is also available on DOS' website

*Meanwhile, DOS is having a party for members, past members and patrons to mark the anniversary.

It is on Saturday November 15 at Bylaugh Hall.

After a welcome drink at 7pm, there will be a hot and cold buffet and dancing to the music of Eddie Seal's Big Band.

Rooms will be set aside for peopleto peruse DOS's scrap books and to reminisce with friends, old and new.

Tickets are £30 per head and evening dress is requested.

Contact: Heather Barnard, Barnaby's, 30 Windmill Avenue, Dereham, NR20 3BE. Tel: 01362 698655

*Bell ringers will be attempting a quarter peal of Plain Bob Triples at Dereham bell tower on Saturday, between 10 and 11am to mark the operatic society's 60th anniversary.

The appeal is still continuing to raise money for two extra bells for the Dereham tower.

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