Jewel in the town

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Jubilee spirits are still high judging by the dozens of flags fluttering along the routes in and around Bakewell.

While residents and traders display patriotism to Queen and country, many missed out on the best show of all - right on their doorstep.

Matlock Musical Theatre presented a loyal toast to the monarch on Friday, turning the Medway Centre into a palace of entertainment.

Bunting on the walls, cut-outs of Queen Elizabeth II and tables decorated with Union flag serviettes and paper doilies for the interval buffet set the scene for a Right Royal Revue.

The entertainment was a heady cocktail of upper-crust concert party and Last Night of the Proms, in which readings, songs, comedy and music blended into a sparkling show.

This magical history tour took 40 spectators through six decades of the monarch’s reign, with summaries of headline-hitting events paving the way for music and comedy from each period.

Inventive and beautifully sung ensemble pieces such as the Best of Bond excerpts and Mamma Mia saw the company sing the libretto as well as use their voices to mimic the pitch and tempo of the instrumental sections.

Members also tackled the difficult Bohemian Rhapsody, opening with an exquisitely sung first half in which their faces were illuminated by torchlight. The succeeding air-guitar playing shattered the magical spell with its cheesiness but achieved its aim of making people laugh.

The biggest challenge for the company lay in performing A London Medley, arranged by Gareth Malone from BBC’s The Choir. This intricate piece of work required the formation of two groups, each singing well-known songs such as London’s Burning and Waterloo Sunset at the same time. This was the triumph of the evening and reflected the hard work which performers and musical director Delph Richards had put into rehearsing such an ambitious piece.

Soloists during the revue included Jo Petch performing a beautifully sung Hushabye Mountain, Helen Glynn-Davies giving a sensitive rendition of Fields of Gold, accompanied by Simon Glynn-Davies on guitar, and Rhian Hughes reaching out to the audience with her engaging rendition of Just Beyond the Stars.

Comedy sketches saw, John Kersey, David Wilson and Simon Glynn-Davies bring the house down with the Dead Parrot sketch from Monty Python and John Kersey, Phil Allwood and Malcolm Mason give Rowan Atkinson’s mob a run for its money in the Some Beans sketch from Blackadder.

Jo Petch added to the humour by playing the pigeon-toed, floppy West Ciountry-speaking Dolly on the Dustcart from Pam Ayres’ poetic creation and teaming up with John Kersey for an hilarious song from the Spamalot musical.

Crowning a glorious show, flag-waving spectators rose to their feet to join the company in a heart-warming finale of the National Anthem, which was preceded by Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory.

Financial constraints may have prevented the company from staging a full-length musical production for the first time in 31 years, but members honoured their promise to deliver a special show in the Queen’s diamond jubilee year.