“Love is everything it’s cracked up to be . . .it really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for.” So said American novelist Erica Jong in a magazine interview seven years ago - but it’s a quotation that sums up High Tor Players’ labour of love.
The company’s production Luvvier and Lustier - a collection of 30-plus monologues, songs and poems presented by 11 performers in three different venues on successive nights - showed that the players aren’t afraid to step out of their comfort zone.
Songs sparkling like jewels in a glittering crown were presented to loyal supporters in Bakewell, Darley Dale and Ashover last week.
Former professional singer Liz McKenzie, who devised and produced the show, gave an outstanding performance of Stars & The Moon, each beautiful note laden with emotion and delivered with conviction.
Dynamic duo Lesley Kraushaar and Susan Devaney performed a I Hate Men which was an entertaining mix of operatic acrobatics and comedy.
Nic Wilson brought variety to proceedings in the form of a West Country accent for the crowd-pleasing song Riley’s Cowshed and a cut-glass voice for satirical song The Wiener Schnitzel Waltz. The waltz featured a dancing Kathy Wiggans who plucked her dinner-suited husband Graham from the front row to partner her. As they glided across the floor, Graham spun Kathy out of her evening skirt to reveal a short dress over sequinned leggings.
The most poignant part of the evening came in the spoken words of the company’s longest-serving members, Dennis Todd and Joyce Renner. Dennis stepped from behind his piano to gave an exquisite rendition of W.B. Yeats’ poem When You Are Old. This was followed by a moving performance of Golden Wedding which was beautifully spoken with impeccable timing by Joyce, compensating for a spot of forgetfulness she had suffered during an earlier monologue on Friday.
Showing a lust for laughs, Chris Gale and Richard Bryant delivered the poem “At Lunchtime - A Story Of Love” which was about sexual shenanigans on a bus.
And Susan Devaney reminded us that all God’s creatures fall in love with a heart-warming presentation of The Amorous Goldfish.
The whole troupe sang and flirted their way through a cheesy performance of Baby It’s Cold Outside with women swopping places with men halfway through the song.
What I Did For Love was a fitting song for the finale and finely performed by the five females in the ensemble.
This inspirational show at the Whitworth Centre in Darley Dale gave me a love of Erica Jong’s words and a lust for discovering more of her work.