“The King and I”

Jacqui Hartley wrote…

“This was the fifth musical collaboration with music composed by Richard Rogers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein. It is based on Margaret Landon’s novel “Anna and the King of Siam”.  The novel is derived from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, governess to the children of King Mongut of Siam in the early 1850’s.  It is a moving story of the conflict between Eastern and Western cultures, Anna try’s to help the King to come to terms with the modern world but he is unable to resist the forces of ancient customs.

What a delight this production turned out to be, an absolutely stunning performance from Anna Leonowens, (Elizabeth Ainley) beautiful singing and very experienced in drama.  Well matched with an outstanding performance from the King, (Stephen Jamieson) showing excellent chemistry between them.

A poised and serene Lady Thiang, (Patricia Brennan) with a good accent and clear diction.  The two boys Crown Prince Chulalongkorn and Louis Leonowens, (Oliver Henderson, Ira Ingham) both gave creditable performances. The two young lovers Lun Tha, (Stephen Wrathall) and Tuptim, (Thea Farman) performed well throughout.  All smaller roles were generally well cast.

I was very impressed with the presentation of the Ballet performed by the children, they told the story really well, also the King’s wives sang splendidly especially during the Ballet.

The basic set worked well allowing the show to flow smoothly along enhanced with beautiful costumes.  They were supported by an excellent Orchestra under the direction of Graham Robbins.

This was a well-crafted production that held the interest of the audience from start to finish.  A very enjoyable evening’s entertainment, well done everyone.”


“It’s a Kind of S’MAJIC!”

Jacqui Hartley wrote…

“It’s A Kind of S’MAJIC! The title says it all!  What an apt title for this energetic and enthusiastic children’s group, who revelled in their up-beat numbers.

Once again everything was there with superb lighting and a simple but effective stage set.  Lots of little touches, they projected an underwater scene, with lots of bubbles everywhere when they performed the “Beautiful Briny” from Bedknobs and Broomsticks.  A small Orchestra but well controlled so all the children could be heard.

A wonderful compilation of contrasting and balanced musical numbers, each one full of joie-de-vivre.  The programme was interspersed with hilarious comedy interludes, I especially liked the “Synchronised Swimming” sketch.

A most impressive opening of Act Two with a brilliant “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King” with the children parading all around the auditorium carrying carved heads all all the jungle animals.  Another absolutely great number was the “Hallelujah Chorus” performed as never seen before.  They finished their sparkling production with a “Mary Poppins” selection.

There were several talented soloists with good strong voices singing throughout the varied programme linking each number with ease.

This was pure entertainment with simple choreography  linking everything together.  The very appreciative audience were shouting from the rafters by the end of the evening.  This Society goes from strength to strength , congratulations to the production team and all involved backstage.”

“Alice in Wonderland Jr.”

Jacqui Hartley wrote…

“How refreshing to see something that is rarely performed, it held the attention of the audience from start to finish. SM’AJIC is the junior section of Mytholmroyd St. Michael’s Amateurs.  Their ages range from seven upwards with the eldest being only thirteen.  This is their first production since the floods of 2015 when their Hall was absolutely devastated.

It was based on the 1951 Disney Alice in Wonderland and the novels The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.

The story follows the experiences of Alice, (Emliy Morgan) as she falls down the rabbit hole, an exceptional performance from one so young, we also had a small Alice and a Tall Alice, both gave good protrayals.  There were three Cheshire Cats all delivering their lines beautifully.  Along the way she met the White Rabbitt, (Lucy Bingham) dashing around singing “I’m Late, Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee, and finally meeting Caterpillar, (Isaac Hughes-Dennis) who gave a brilliant interpretation of his character, singing the well-known “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” with panache.  In the second act we had the Mad Hatter along with the March Hare, (Rosie Pritchard, Lily Ingham) delighting everyone with “The Unbirthday Song”.  Queen of Hearts, (Lara Dillon) excelled in her acting.  All the smaller cameo parts were extremely well done.

The costumes and make-up were a credit to the society, the projected scenery added to the overall picture, the music was piped but the MD brought them in perfectly.

It was obvious the children were thoroughly enjoying themselves on stage, the singing and the diction were spot on. A show to be proud of, congratulations to everyone involved both on stage and behind the scenes.”

“Back to a Musical Future”

Jacqui Hartley wrote…

“This was the first production for Mytholmroyd St Michael’s Amateurs since the Boxing Day floods of 2015.  Their Church Hall, (and also their Church), where they perform was absolutely destroyed by water that went right up to their stage.  So now they have a beautiful new floor and stage and everything is looking pristine.

The show “Back to the Future” was a celebration of song and dance, the first half featured songs taken from shows produced in the past, and the second half from shows they would like to perform in the future.

They celebrated in style with a contrasting, well balanced program of ensemble numbers, duets and solos.  There were delightful solos from Marilyn Mitchell “ali Hai”, Lesley Alston “Vilia, Diannah Miller “As if we Never Said Goodbye”, from the ladies.  From the men we had the patter song from Pirates of Penzance, Eric Alston, “How to Handle a Woman” Andy McNally.

Lots of big ensemble numbers from a wide range of shows, Me and My Girl, Calamity Jane through to Billy Elliot and Sister Act.  Comedy came from the ladies with “My Boyfriend”s Back” and ”Three Little Maids from School” from the men.

All this was interspered with selections from their enthusiastic Juniors S’Majic, and they were just magic, fantastic singing, excellent movement from shows like “Joseph”, “Bugsy Malone” and Alice in Wonderland.  They set out to entertain and the audienec responded with enthusiam.

A amalgam of varied songs from Musical Theatre well presented with creditable performances,.

Long may you flourish.”


“Jane Eyre the Musical”
Jacqui Hartley wrote…
“Jane Eyre, a musical adaption of Charlotte Bronte’s famous novel, was a West Yorkshire Premiere for Mytholmroyd St. Michael’s Amateurs. They are never afraid to take on a challenge and I applaud the way they venture into somerthing new.
Unfortunately they lost their two leading principals in exceptional circumstances and had to start again from scratch approximately five weeks before their show commenced. The character Jane Eyre, (Rachel Doyle-Richards) was also the narrator and introduced us to the young Jane, (Sophie Bingham) aged ten. In their duet “The Graveside” they blended beautifully together. Edward Fairfax Rochester, (James Russell) and Jane Eyre worked hard together and both gave commendable performances of very difficult roles. Marilyn with her wealth of experience and stage presence excelled in her role of Mrs Fairfax the housekeeper. All the smaller roles gave good support in both acting and singing.
All the children were confident in their characters, especially Helen Burns (Emily Johnson) Jane’s school friend who died in her arms.
This show has an incredible amount of musical numbers, not particularly memorable, but all well delivered. The society also lost their Musical Director who was taken ill on the first night before the show commenced, (get well soon Peter) his duties were taken over by David Root who was orignally on the keyboard, (a talented M.D. in his own right) and the rehearsal pi\anist Joyce Gill was pulled out out the audience. Who ever said “The Show Must Go On” must have had Mytholmroyd in mind.
Beautiful costumes perfect for the era, a good basic set with colourful projected scenes, (just needs a backing cloth next time) to make it spot on.
This production could not have been put on without an excellent Director, congratulations Eric.

“Aladdin Jr”

Jacqui Hartley wrote…

“This in only the second production of S’MAJIC (St Michael’s Amateurs Juniors in Concert), the company was only formed last year, and I was amazed and impressed with the improvement that has developed over the last twelve months.

The age old story of Aladdin is told with the Disney magic, and based on the Disney film screenplay 1992.  The story unfolds through the two narrators, with good strong portrayals from Aladdin (Jenny Coney-Ritchley) and his pretty Princess Jasmine (Sophie Bingham).  Jafar (Liam Greenwood) made a bold nasty and his sidekick Iago (Issac Hughes-Dennis) delighted his audience with his very funny interpretation of his character.  All the other principals were equally worthy of praise.

The delightful songs were beautifully sung and performed with competence by the whole company, along with slick neat choreography that only enhanced the production. The costumes were colourful and pleasing in all colours of the rainbow with sparkle a-plenty.

A word of praise for the people who are training these youngsters, their stage craft shone through, and the joy showed on their faces as they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Quite S’MAJIC-ical performance, Keep up the good work.”


“Big Dreams on a Small Stage”

Jacqui Hartley wrote…

Tonight we had a joint production from Mytholmroyd St Michael’s senior society along with S’MAGIC their junior section, only formed just over twelve months ago.  A celebration of songs from well-known musicals. and some not as well-known, but all delivered with great enthusiasm.  A well balanced and contrasting programme of ensemble numbers, solos and duets.  The ladies gave us a powerful “America” from ‘West Side Story’ while the men concentrated on “Nothing like a Dame” from ‘South Pacific’. Elizabeth Wrathall performed the comedy number “Whatever Happened to my Part” from ‘Spamalot’, with great feeling, and Kevin Allen gave a strong performance of “This is the Moment” from ‘Jekyll and Hyde’.  In contrast a delightful version of “Memory” by Lesley Alston form ‘Cats’.  The children from S’MAGIC gave us a sneak preview from their forthcoming production of “Aladdin”, this was beautifully sung and well presented.  I am looking forward to the full show in July.  There was some excellent Choreography in the first act and good grouping throughout, small steps and the use of blocks for different heights worked well.  My only criticism, please move down to the front of the stage, you won’t fall off I assure you!   All the numbers reflect the title of the show, “Big Dreams on a Small Stage”.  Well done.

The Sound of Music

Jacqui Harley wrote…

It is forty years since Mytholmroyd last performed “The Sound of Music” so it really was long overdue.  I was really impressed with opening, the Nuns entered onto quite a dark stage with lighted candles and sang unaccompanied the “Preludium” making a great start to a lovely evening.  Maria (Elizabeth Wrathnall) sang beautifully and had a really good rapport with the children.  “The Lonely Goatherd” performed in her bedroom during the the storm showed how well the children could act as well as sing, and all seven children sang with confidence and clarity throughout.  Captain von Trapp (Andrew McNally) was very stiff and strict in the first act and gradually softened towards both Maria and the children in the second.  There was sterling support from the chorus of Nuns, all in fine voice led by the Mother Abbess (Veonica Walker) who delighted everyone with her “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”.  Sisters Berthe, Margaretta and Sophie were just right in their interpretations, each one falling out with the other over Maria.  The staging was cleverly thought out, the scenery just unfolded out and closed up with very little effort from the stage crew, making it look easy, not an easy task on the tiny stage.  Well done!

The Jungle Book

Author: Jacqui Hartley

This was a very successful first venture for the newly formed Junior Society “S’MAJIC”, (St Michael’s Amateurs Juniors In Concert) working under the banner of the Senior Society.

The stage set was very effective and made you think you really were in the jungle.  There were lots of ropes with leaves everywhere and a beautiful working waterfall.  Most of the children were under twelev years of age.  With just the three leading animal characters Bagheera, the Panther (Jenny Coney-Chritchley) Baloo, the Bear (Stephen Wrathall) and Shere Khan, the Tiger (Liam Greenwood) who were older.  These three, along with little Mowgli, (Archie Lovatt) all gave good characterisiations and promising performances.  Lovely clear diction from Shanti, (Beth Blacker) from the Man Village.

The facial and body make-up for all the animals was excellent.  I must mention the costumes, it was obvious a lot of hard work had gone into the design and colour cor-ordination, it made it so easy to detect each and every animal or bird.

They were supported by the young chorus, some only seven years of age, all full of life, enjoying the delightful choreography.  The production was well paced and imaginative.  Looking forward with anticipation to your next production.  Congratulations to all involved on stage and behind the scenes.



We have launched a new Society for our young members aged 7-18.

The Wizard of Oz

Jacqui Hartley, NODA Representative wrote…

Once again Mytholmroyd came up trumps, with a dull start in black and white, it burst into life and colour when they landed in OZ.  I must congratulate the stage crew who worked extremely hard all evening.  Their director came up with an ingenious idea of inventing a box which was constantly turned around,  It started off as a house, then formed several other things, and each of the characters was introduced inside it, plus it also provided the home of the Wizard.

Dorothy (Kirsty Woodsworth-Dale) led us on an adventure as she met up with her friends one by one.  Scarecrow (Elizabeth Wrathall) with her fasinating wobbly legs, and brilliant make-up, the very stiff Tinman (Stephen Wrathall) and the Cowardly Lion (Darren Pardoe) all gave memorable portrayals of their characters.  The frightfully evil Wicked Witch of the West (Kathryn Sullivan) would have scared anyone to death, the beautiful Good Witch of the North (Veronica Walker) charmed everyone.  Toto Dorothy’s dog delighted the audience as he was so well behaved, bribed with little treats of course.

I thought the Orchestra was a little loud at times and we did lose some of the words in the first act, but it did improve during the second act.

The production was tackled with great enthusiasm by the whole company, they even had little monkeys on roller skates.  You could see all the children were really enjoying themselves.  Well done St, Michael’s.


Jacqui Hartley, NODA Representative wrote…

“The boys made quite a dramatic entrance, some through the audience, a few from each side of the stage, and others down the steps from upstage, gradually filling the tables and benches and going on to perform ‘Food Glorious Food’ with great precision.  Isaac Hughes-Dennis made the most angelic Oliver I have ever seen, and he sang beautifully and confidently throughout.  Nancy (Elizabeth Wrathall) was both commanding and saucy, her delivery of ‘As Long As He Needs Me’ was very moving.  Fagin (David Hoyle) brought out the essential furtiveness of the old Jew and held the audience’s attention with his rendering of ‘I’m Reviewing the Situation’ . ,All other principal roles were well played and the esemble singers of ‘Who Will Buy’, a difficult number to perform, was a delight to listen to.  The basic set worked well, it was used for most scenes so there were no hectic scene changes and everything flowed along nicely.  The opening of the second act was happy, bright and cheerful, then along came the brutal nasty Bill Sikes and the mood changed completely, as it should.  The orchestra was well controlled under the baton of Peter Drinkel, and all the words could be heard this year.  A very enjoyable and entertaining evening. “

More news to on “Oliver!” to follow…


Jacqui Hartley, NODA representative wrote…

“Not the pantomime but Roger’s and Hammerstein’s ‘Cinderella the musical’, which they wrote together specifically for television in 1957, as a vehicle for Julie Andrews who played the title role. The prologue takes place in the village square with the Fairy Godmother (Elizabeth Wrathall) introducing the characters one by one, her song ‘Impossible’ sung during the transformation scene was delightful. Cinderella was a little nervous at first but gained confidence as the evening went on, her dress transformation was extremely well done, she just turned around and there was her ball gown brilliantly designed. It had all the usual characters we expect, but instead of men for sisters they had two pretty young girls, (Kirsty Woodworth-Dale and Jenny Doyle) being nasty and fractious throughout. Their duet ‘Stepsisters Lament’ in act two was sung and acted out well. Prince Christopher Charming (Tim Ordway) was a gentle Prince matching the delicate Cinderella, completely opposite from her bossy sisters and stepmother. Lionel (Andy McNally) the Prince’s valet acted his role well, showing a strong character as opposed to the gentle Prince. It was a good opportunity to include the children of the Society as mice, horses, a cat and a dove. It was a little slow on the first night and needed to pick up pace, which I am sure they will as the show progresses. Congratulations to St. Michael’s once again for taking up the challenge of something new and different.”


Our recent review in support of the flood victims of the Mytholmroyd area was a tremendous success. Buoyed by support from ITV’s Calendar news, the evening show audience was so full we almost ran out of chairs. We raised a superb £2,750 across the two performances, which was very kindly topped up to £3,000 by Royd Regeneration. The society aim to give 15 grants of £200 to individuals or small businesses affected by the flood . Please send all applications to Royd Regeneration @ St Michael’s Enterprise Centre, Church Street, Mytholmroyd, HX7 5DS giving your name address, phone no. and a sentence saying what you would do with £200. A heartfelt thanks to all involved in the concert.


Jacqui Hartley, NODA Representative wrote…

“It was so refreshing to see a production that is so rarely performed these days. More a musical play, yet with lovely music and a good old fashioned story we all love and know well, based on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. All the characters played their parts well, including some very impressive performances from Arthur (Andy McNally), his pretty bride Guenevere (Elizabeth Wrathall) who sang beautifully, Lancealot du Lac (Timothy Habron-Ordway) who gave quite a commanding performance, Pellinore (David Hoyle) who bounced around the stage adding lots of comical bits, and last of all Mordred (Tom Graham) who really was ‘A Nasty Little Man’. The company made the most of the small stage,with a good set including a tree for Arthur to climb,and added lots of bright colour with banners and pennants. Mytholmroyd worked very hard on this production and it showed. Afterwards I was asked to present several long service awards to various members ranging from fifteen years up to fifty years, in total 240 years service between them. My most sincere congratulations to all involved in this production.”