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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Llan's dancing grannies stun Eagles Meadow shoppers



* Cast members of the Producers go through their paces at Eagles Meadow.
A GROUP of dancing grannies from an amateur stage society stopped shoppers in their tracks with routines from their new show.

The high-stepping troupe from Llangollen Operatic Society staged a pop-up performances at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham to showcase their latest production.

From April 12-­16 they will be staging the hilarious musical comedy version of Mel Brooks’ Academy Award­winning movie, The Producers, at their local town hall.

Society members were already on a high after hearing a few days earlier that their last major production, the musical comedy about gangsters and nuns Sister Act, had been nominated for a trio of honours in the National Operatic and Dramatic Association’s (NODA) 2015 awards, acknowledged as the am­dram equivalent of the Hollywood Oscars.

And they’re looking to pick up similar accolades for The Producers which has taken Broadway and the West End by storm, winning a record-­breaking 12 Tony Awards and three Olivier Awards.

The story centres on two theatrical producers who scheme to get rich by overselling interests in a Broadway flop.

Complications arise when the show unexpectedly turns out to be successful.

The humour of the show draws on ridiculous accents, caricatures of Nazis and many show business in­jokes.

It also features the outrageous hit song Springtime for Hitler.

Musical director for the show, Elen Mair Roberts, said: “The grannies going through paces at Eagles Meadow have a major part in the show as the elderly female backers who’d do anything for dodgy producer Max Bialstock.

“Their routines are hardly what you’d expect from ladies of more mature years!

“Everyone was feeling great about the pop-up event because just a couple of days ago we heard from NODA that our production last year of Sister Act had been nominated for thee of its 2015 awards.

“These are Best Technical, Best Performances for Elen Haf Taylor as Sister Mary Clarence and Ross Wilson as Sweaty Eddie and also Best Production.

“We’ll find out at the NODA annual meeting in Hereford on May 12 if we’ve been successful, so we’re all keeping our fingers crossed.

“We were actually at Eagles Meadow this time last year to present pop­up selections from Sister Act and that helped us to boost our audience numbers when we staged the show in Llangollen last April.

“With that and the award nominations, appearing at the shopping centre was definitely a lucky date for us and we’re hoping it brings us similar good fortune this time.”

She added: “People who stopped to watch us performing songs from The Producers certainly seemed to enjoy it and a few said they’ll be coming along next month to see the show, which was great news.

“We’d like to thank the management team at Eagles Meadow for all the kind co­operation they’ve given over the past couple of years.

“It’s a pleasure to come along here as we always get such a friendly reception from everyone.”

One of those taking the role, Caroline Anthonisz, said: “The grannies dance is my favourite part of the show and it was great to do it in front of the crowds at Eagles Meadow.

“I hope lots of those who enjoyed it will come along and see the whole thing next month.”

That may well be the case with Karen Griffiths who was stopped in her tracks as the grannies strutted their stuff.

She said: “I was just walking along with my own earphones in when I heard some music that was even louder.

“I wasn’t expecting to see anything like that but I really enjoyed it.

“I live in Acrefair, not far away from Llangollen, so after what I’ve seen today I might go along and see the show.”  

Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley said: "We were delighted to welcome Llangollen Operatic Society once again.

"Our shoppers loved what they saw of the show, it was hugely entertaining and I'm sure the production itself will be a big hit."

The Producers will be staged at Llangollen Town Hall from April 12­16, starting at 7.30pm, and with a matinee performance at 2.30pm on Saturday April 16.* Tickets are now available online at: www.ticketsource.co.uk/llangollenoperaticsociety.

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