Harburn Village Hall - SWRI Drama


Theatre goers were  treated to a grand  evening of entertainment on Tuesday 25th February at the Church Hill Theatre. The curtain  rose  to the melodious voices of our  recently formed  rural choir (singing group), making their stage  debut..  They  also rendered the finale to a  loudly acclaimed programme.

Anna Pope a member of Dalkeith WRI who is in her 93rd year, and veteran of the Church Hill stage, again entertained us with a selection of 3 poems. Harburn/Ratho WRI had a variety of acts including a scene from  “The Steamie” and a Magician.

Harburn/Ratho,  Midlothian  2013  winners of  “Variations on a Theme”  later treated us to a  repeat of the performance which had taken them to Peebles to the Scottish finals.  

Three Howgate  ladies  enthralled the audience with  their poetry readings.
while  two  Dalkeith  ladies  provided  a “Lovely Day” of choral renditions.

However Corstorphine’s “The Story of Cinderella”  almost had the audience rolling in the aisles. Cinders  had perfected the one-line dramatic role to  new heights, hilariously assisted by the rest of the cast..  Corstorphine   certainly have  projected  WRI drama into .a new  dimension! . 

Our esteemed Federation Chairman,  Rita Poulter, has certainly hidden her Prada training  under a bushel.  She  coordinated  the scene changes  during her cracker jokes admirably, while encouraging audience participation.

Our profuse thanks to all who were involved  in the evening’s production, and especially to the Drama Committee and its Secretary Isobel McChesney......

Ray Kew.


Perhaps because this was a non competitive evening of Midlothian Rural talent there were not quite as many in the audience as in previous years, which was a pity. However the 200 plus (even including some men) who were there, enjoyed a tremendously varied programme amusingly compèred by Isobel McChesney with pertinent extracts from minutes of Drama meetings throughout the last century. Reassuringly, it seems nothing has changed! Apart from prices.

First up was Harburn with a witty take on the evening’s brief entitled “Everything Goes”. The scene was one familiar to anyone who has ever volunteered to tidy the dreaded storage areas which lurk in every village hall. The discovery of the discarded artifacts so typical of such places inspired the clearers-up to ever more ambitious performances. Fans? Yes! Three Little Girls from School. (Too good an opportunity for Joan, Isobel and Edingell to turn down!) A picnic load of Teddy bears? Ok - Me and My Teddy Bear. The chance discovery of a discarded script was too much of a temptation for Jill and Nicola who abandoned the job in hand and burst into an impromptu performance of The Final Insult. And so on. One felt sorry for the somewhat hassled caretaker, Frances Kemp, who valiantly tried to restore some order. Happily she was not too exhausted by this experience to don her Ratho hat and, with Edingell Thomson, perform a hilarious Victorian Radio Play, written by Stephen Hajducki. Stephen has been lighting manager for some years and luckily was able to offer this piece when other groups found themselves unable to take part. This dialogue between two Edinburgh ladies exemplified the worst of Victorian Drawing room snobbery highlighted by the wonderful line, “I’m not snobbish but if God had wanted us to be equal he would not have invented the lower classes. “ There was also a macabre twist to this tale when Edingell disclosed her final question to the fortune teller who had foretold her husband’s violent death, “Do I get away with it?”
Gluttons for punishments, these two with some anonymous help, gave us a puppet version of Roald Dahl’s Three Little Pigs. This caused great amusement when the wolf appeared with the first pig’s tail in his mouth and elicited Ahhhhhs when he was finally and efficiently dispatched by Red Riding Hood with a gun drawn coolly from her knickers.

The ladies were then given a little time off when the stage was taken by David Dobson and Jerry Tracey (yes, men!) who led us into the break with three lively songs. We tapped our feet to “Bonnie Ship The Diamond”, worried about galloping dyslexia to Billy Connolly’s “Q.U.A.R.A.N.T.I.N.E.”, and got completely lost as “Mary May” gathered speed. Sing-a-long, David? I think not!

Bellsquarry can always be relied upon to bring the house down. The ingenuity and humour which clearly went into their costumes enhanced what was anyway a very funny take on the Royal Variety Show. Daniel Craig parachuted down in the nick of time to assist Her somewhat bewildered Majesty onto her throne without too much flashing of the Royal bloomers; the Beverley Sisters, suitably bewigged, transported us back to the 50’s (not quite as we remember them) and the spirit of the Variety Shows was cleverly continued throughout. A very ingenious Human Puppet Show, Slack and Slim’s Double act and Peggy Lee and the Belltones with much fluttering of feather Boas and a great rendition of “Fever” completed the act. Finally it was the audience’s turn to sing. Accompanied by the Rosewell Rural Guide Company and “encouraged” by an excruciating teenage rebel choir mistress, we enjoyed working our way through songs many of us would not have sung for years. Great fun and a fitting way to end a splendid evening’s entertainment. Thanks and congratulations to all concerned.


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