Wellington Operatic Society’s autumn show, ‘A Young Man’s Fancy’, takes its narrative from Thomas Hardy’s first Wessex novel, ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’, adds music and lyrics by Geoffrey Brace and promises to deliver an evening of delightful entertainment.
Set in the village of Mellstock, the plot centres on the romance between Fancy Day and Dick Dewy – who is not her only suitor. Fancy is a new schoolmistress in the village and also an organist whose presence threatens the traditional role of the all-male church choir. Offered both love and patronage by Vicar Maybold – a moderniser – the result is an image of an amiable, self-contained community faced with the uncertainties of change that those who know Hardy’s novels will recognise.
The cast includes many of OpSoc’s finest regulars alongside accomplished newcomers and Stage Right’s young performers, so both dramatic and musical quality (and charm) are guaranteed. Geoffrey Brace’s adaptation, first created and performed in the 1970’s when he was Head of Music at Gillingham School, puts Hardy’s words into songs and adds dance music that maintain folk traditions and the spirit of 19th century Dorset village life.
Director Nancy Powell-Brace has chosen a traverse setting for the production at Wellington Arts Centre, which allows the audience the closest interaction with the performers and has assembled a live folk band to accompany the play. She has also drawn on the many talents of her brother Nick, her sister-in-law Victoria Osborne and her sister Natalie as well as her father Geoffrey to provide the musical backing.
Performances are from Tuesday 6 November until Saturday 11 November at 7.30pm with a matinee performance on Saturday at 3.30pm. Tickets (£9.00) are available from Odette’s Tearoom in Wellington High Street or from www.ticketsource.co.uk/wellingtonartscentre. They are already selling fast so those who would like to see this delightful performance – a new direction for the company – are advised to book soon.