Director Pauline Walsh previews the show with a refreshing take on Florence’s character and quirky interactions between central characters.
Saddleworth Players’ next show is based on a true story set in 1944. The delightful comedy tells just part of the story (the funniest part) of the extremely eccentric socialite Florence Foster Jenkins (Sue Radcliffe), probably one of the world’s worst singers, who never hit the right note, despite her stoic belief in her vocal excellence. Outrageously, she managed to sidestep any criticism from audiences and the press by implementing her system of interviews for concert attendance, handing out tickets only to those she considered worthy and yet somehow, despite her ear-splitting vocals, she ended up performing to a sell-out audience at Carnegie Hall.
Talking with Oldham Reporter, veteran actor Sue Radcliffe says: “Glorious is about Florence Foster Jenkins, which many people may have heard of. She was very famous in her time. An American millionairess, very eccentric, very lovable - quite a character. And the only thing she cared about, the only thing she lived for, was music and singing.”
“The only trouble is she couldn't sing!” Sue added with adding an expert comic timing to her voice.
“My Florence Foster Jenkins must be my version because she had an extraordinary voice. It wasn't a good voice, it wasn't a strong voice, and very often, she hit the wrong note. But what mattered to her was that she did sing. Whether she could sing or not wasn't the point.”
Sue said her first scene with the piano accompanist Cosme (David Noble) is one of her favourite parts of the play.
He is full of trepidation, as although he has played in many musical venues before, he wonders if he will be up to the job of accompanying this grand opera singer. And then he hears her sing! Enough said!
Florence’s two best friends and companions, St. Clair (John Tanner) and Dorothy (Lorraine Reynolds), support her completely. The three are a trio to be reckoned with, living entirely within their self-absorbed world and oblivious to other people and events.
This quirky comedy will pique anyone’s interest for its unique storyline, but mainly because of the riots of contrasting characters in the play.
Florence is delightfully off-the-scale, batty, happy in the moment, and engaging. St. Clair is an actor (not a good one), cheerful and urbane, with an eye for the ladies. Dorothy is a flirt, scatterbrained, always leaves home after a couple of glasses of champagne, always with her pet poodle. Cosme is talented, hard up, nervous, and engaging, and despite the problems of the job, he supports Florence to legendary status. Maria, the Spanish maid, is bad-tempered but with a good cause and is sexy! Despite the insults of the trio, she steers through the chaos!
The only spoilsport is Mrs Verrinder-Gedge (Anne Wright), a bossy, wealthy socialite trying to stop Florence from performing altogether.
As the characters rise above the seemingly impossible, they become more understanding of each other, so could what begins as a joke possibly become a lesson in how to live your dreams? It worked for Florence!
Audiences are sure to fall in love with this stylish, heart-warming comedy, to be staged at the Delph’s Millgate Arts Centre from February 10 to 17.
*Info: www.millgateartscentre.co.uk or call 01457 874644
*Full interview with talented actor Sue Radcliffe coming soon! Watch this space.