Theatre, Concert Hall, Events and Cinema Images

Craigie College of Education : Drama Productions in the Assembly Hall




3. Beggars Opera

Craigie College of Education Drama Group

1.   Craigie College Drama Group.  The Beggar's Opera by John Gay performed in the Assembly Hall, 1969.  Ken Brice as Lockit and Judy Baird as Lucy.

2.   Craigie College Drama Group. The Beggar's Opera by John Gay performed in the Assembly Hall, 1969. Ken Brice as Lockit and Duncan Bicket as Filch the pickpocket.

3.   Craigie College Drama Group. The Beggar's Opera by John Gay performed in the Assembly Hall, 1969. Ken Brice as Lockit and Duncan Bicket as Filch the pickpocket.

The Beggar's Opera.

Craigie College students and teachers are rapidly gaining a deserved reputation for enterprise and imagination in the choice and presentation of their annual production.

This year their choice is the light-hearted and bawdy opera from John Gay, The Beggar's Opera and they provided a fine performance and a slick professional and sophisticated cast.

The setting was imaginative yet had the essential quality of simplicity, enabling the cast to indulge in the free and uninhibited movement so characteristic of the work.

Costumes and make up were thoroughly proficient - in marked contrast to the standards set last year. Lighting was adventurous and for the most part very effective.

The pacing, with superbly judged climaxes, spoke volumes for the skill of the producer, who obviously knew the effects he wished to create - and got them. The pace sagged but once, towards the end of the work and this, one felt, was more due to the script than to the team of actors.

Of grouping and movement, it can be said that it was so natural and fluid that it was scarcely noticed.

Singing was of a generally high standard, with such flaws as existed papered over to a large extent by the roughness of the characters.

Casting was excellent, with nearly all the actors closely akin facially and in build to their respective characters.

There was, however, one exception Macheath. The hero of this work is always imagined to be lean, lithe. energetic and handsome. Geoffrey Dixon may be energetic and is certainly handsome - but he is scarcely lean.

This is a quibble, however, when Mr Dixon's performance is considered as a whole. His projection of the live devil-may-care attitude of Macheath was a masterpiece of acting and this allied to good stage presence and inherent vocal ability, made him the star of the show.

Peachum (Harry Beeby) and Lockit (Kenneth Brice) run a close second in the acting stakes, both delivering individualistic and eminently realistic performances as the two Machiavellian fathers.

Duncan Bicket presented a finely etched cameo as the pickpocket Filch demonstrating how much can be extracted from a minor part if some imagination is used.

Anne Kennedy was in particularly fine voice in the part of Polly Peachum and also demonstrated convincingly that she has no mean histrionic ability.

What Judith Baird lacked in vocal ability she more than compensated for in her acting. giving a sizzling performance as the jealous girl betrayed in love.

Mrs Peachum (Margaret Gray) was yet another fine portrayal . Her extravagant vulgarity came over well, while the part was far from being over-played.

Of the women of the town, Celia Massie, Eilidh Nicolson and Elizabeth Shewan proved to be outstanding actresses - and not only because they had more opportunity to portray three dimensional characters.

Other parts were played by James Gilliland, Ian Johnstone, David McCulloch, Douglas Hooper, Loudoun Melrose, Ron Macadam, Iain Hanlin, David Rowe, David Crouch, Edwin Henderson, Barry McGuire, William Sturgeon, Jack Tosh, Ingrid Preedy, Sherry Clarke, Christine Bradford, Christine Forsythe, Mary Findlay and Ann Nicholson.

Direction was by David J. F. Crouch and prompt was Isobel McAlister. Musical director of the very professional orchestra was John Wilson

Ayr Advertiser, March 20th 1969

Images from David J F Crouch (personal collection).

The Library at the University for the West of Scotland (Ayr Campus) holds 37 images of this production.