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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Collen Payers present their spectacular Christmas show


* The Collen Players take their bows at the end of the night. All pictures by Jeanette Robinson.

The Collen Players came up with their most diverse show so far when they staged their Christmas production of Deck the Halls at the Community Hall last night (Friday).

There was everything of offer, from traditional music hall songs to clog dancing and from powerful ballads to a magic act.

Taking the chair for the two-acter with its highly appreciative audience was Father Lee Taylor in his guise as Mr Leopold Naylor, once again getting proceedings jauntily underway with his patter and sing-along songs from the music hall era.

First of the many acts was returning Collens favourite Esme Sallnow who presented a stirring yet hard-rending version of First World War number Keep the Home Fires Burning.

Next up came company regular Susan Stokes who, accompanied by Josie Kynaston Meredith Jones, sang O Holy Night and, on her own, Mary Did You Know? They were backed on guitar by Leonie Kirby.

Another couple of returning Collen favourites welcomed back by the audience were the double-act of Neil Barrett and David Lyne doing their own interpretation of an hilarious cross-talk between old Lancashire ladies. They were back with another of these crowd-pleasers in the second half of the show.

In a first for the Players next up came the clog-dancing duo of Barbara Cole and Ray Langton who are actually members of the Shrewsbury Cloggers troupe.

After the interval pianist Chris Sims entertained with a selection of seasonal songs with which the audience joined in with gusto. Jayne Belton accompanied a number of the acts on piano - and accordion.

Things stayed at a lively level when the chairman himself performed some sing-along numbers before Phil Robinson took to the stage with a medley of Al Jolson hits.

Shea Ferron had the poignant Tell My Father from the American Civil War to perform alongside Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas before John Jones contributed a moving Bring Him Home from Les Miserables.

In both halves there were some fantastic performances from Colin Bourdiec - in the first a logic-defying magic routine and, to wind up the whole show, his speciality George Formby tribute.

Things were neatly and seasonally rounded off with a chorus of White Christmas.

* Esme Sallnow.

 * Susan Stokes and Josie Kynaston Meredith Jones.

* Leonie Kirby.

* David Lyne and Neil Barrett.

* Clog dancer Barbara Cole. 

* Mike Connolly.

* Chairman Leopold Naylor.

* Phil Robinson.

* Shea Ferron.

* John Jones.

* Colin Bourdiec.

* Accompanist Jayne Belton on accordion.

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