Words by Gerald Dodson and Music by Montague F. Phillips
The Guildhall,
April 1948
Cast List
Derek Lanscombe
Lord Milverton
Sir Stephen Crespigny
Captain Percy Jerome
Septimus Bunkle
Solomon Hooker
William, Prince of Orange
Lady Elizabeth Weston
First Maid
Second Maid
Lady Mary Trefusis (the Rebel Maid)

Notes on this performance

19. The Rebel Maid

De gustibus…

The Committee did consider insisting on The Yeomen of the Guard for the 1948 show but support for The Rebel Maid at the AGM was so strong that it was thought prudent to give G&S a miss this year. John A Edwards and D Cecil Williams were again recruited as the directing team and a coach trip was arranged for members to see the comic romantic opera in Wimbledon – similar outings were arranged to Romsey (The Mikado) and Winchester (Iolanthe).

The make-up for The Gondoliers was thought to have been unsatisfactory and, although the same make-up artist was engaged, Mr Graham gave all the members lectures on the art so that they could do it for themselves. It would seem that the show was also the first SAOS production where open auditions were held. Arthur Tomalin, the Secretary, reported that ‘Members were invited to select any principal part of The Rebel Maid, and play a portion of it before a friendly, but possibly critical, audience composed of the other Members of the Society. Many members entered for this audition, with the result that the evening, besides being interesting and entertaining, provided some useful lessons.’

The programme for The Rebel Maid is notable because it was the first one where the cast was credited with full names – previously both choruses were recorded as lists of surnames, e.g. Messrs. Butt, Cockshoot, Copp, Duckling, etc., now audiences would know that they were also Robin, Joseph, Charles and Frank respectively.

The Echo reporter must have had great faith in his readers’ knowledge of Latin maxims because, after explaining where the show was performed, he continued, ‘The Rebel Maid by SAOS is just your cup of tea. De gustibus – but even those with different tastes will admit the merits of the show. It is spectacular, it is colourful; it is an ambitious choice for amateurs, and with one or two exceptions the cast is strong enough to give them their deserved success.’

He continued with this theme, ‘The combination of talents which this type of stage-work demands is not to be found in every actor. I thought the player whose performance contained the best blend of singing, dancing and acting was Tom Judd as Solomon Hooker. His lively personality assured the interest of the audience whenever he was on stage: Lilia Edwards as his opposite number, Abigail the maid, was as vivid, and with Charles Davey as the inn-keeper they made a fine trio.’ His final comment will resonate with many SOS principals, ‘The chorus work was good, and the high standard of orchestral playing a great, great asset to the production (except occasionally when the brass player drowned the soloist).’

The Rebel Maid did not sell as well as its predecessor but still made a reasonable profit of £79 2s 2d (£79.11). It was agreed to make a donation of £105 to charity and this was shared between the RSPCC, the RSPCA, the Cancer Campaign, Missions to Seamen, King George’s Fund and the Police Court Relief Fund.

Terry O'Farrell

Photo of Trio

Charles Davey (Septimus Bunkle), Lilia Edwards (Abigail), Tom Judd (Solomon Hooker)

Photo of Duo

Bruce Ellery (Derek Lanscombe) with Cicely Siggers (Lady Mary Trefusis - The Rebel Maid)

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Hopefully coming to you in early 2021!