Current Show

Betty Blue Eyes

3-7 May 2017

Palace Theatre

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Welcome to LODS

Leigh Operatic & Dramatic Society was formed in 1917. Within two years the Society’s success and increased membership made it necessary to move from the original Clarke’s College in London Road to more commodious premises at Elm Hall.

In 1922, after many sleepless nights and committee meetings, LODS decided to take the ambitious move to the Ambassador’s Theatre in Tylers Avenue, opening with Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Gondoliers”.

In 1932 a move to the first-class facilities at the Southend Hippodrome led to the production of “The New Moon” in 1934. That magnificent show was generally acknowledged as the finest amateur production ever given in the town and created a sensation upon its initial performance. The advent of the “talkies” necessitated a move to the New Palace Theatre, then back to the Ambassador’s in 1936, but returning again to the Palace in 1938. Over the Second World War the Society had to scale down its productions but continued on by regularly giving first-rate revue type entertainment to the troops around the county.

The first post-war production was “Wild Violets” at the Palace in 1946. Ours is a record of which we feel justly proud. We have presented shows ranging from grand opera to the avant-garde (including three world amateur premieres) as well as countless entertainments for charitable organisations.

Today LODS continues this tradition, always ready to take a risk in order to offer something new, something exciting, but above all something entertaining.

Our Next Show

Betty Blue Eyes

3rd – 7th May 2017 | Palace Theatre, Westcliff

Belts are being tightened and the country’s long-suffering citizens are being told by the government that there will be fair shares for all in return for surviving Austerity Britain. Meanwhile local officials feather their own nests by taking far more than their own fair share. It is of course 1947, and having won the war Britain seems to have lost the peace, and the country is staggering under the burden of acute rationing, unemployment and the coldest winter for decades. The only bright spark on the horizon is the impending marriage of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

Twenty six years ago Alan Bennett and Malcolm Mowbray wove this story into a hilariously funny but sharply observed comic film called A Private Function, which centered around Betty, an adorable pig, who is being illegally reared to ensure the local dignitaries can celebrate the Royal Wedding with a lavish banquet while the local population make do with Spam. Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman have brilliantly adapted and expanded this story for the stage and George Stiles and Anthony Drewe have written a deliciously infectious, toe-tapping, retro contemporary score. The result is an utterly British musical, full of eccentric characters, such as the strange odd couple, Gilbert – an evangelistic chiropodist, and Joyce – a nobody determined to be somebody; Inspector Wormold – an obsessive destroyer of illegal meat; Mother Dear – ‘She’s seventy four and ravenous’; along with a weird assortment of bullies, spivs and snobs and of course, our star, Betty the pig.

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‘A SMASH-HIT MUSICAL IS BORN.
WARM, WITTY, RUDE, LOVABLE, DRAMATIC, HILARIOUS.

Betty Blue Eyes beautifully evokes that Bennett North, preoccupied with good dinners and bad feet. It contains Reece Shearsmith singing the best song ever written about verrucas, a duet performed with clothespegs on the nose, a Lindy-hop in an air raid, Sarah Lancashire tearing off her pinny for a Ginger Rogers routine, and a chorus of town councillors in a pub urinal. There’s an animatronic pig, and a dream sequence involving Prince Philip doing a soft-shoe shuffle with his hands behind his back. You can’t stop laughing.’

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THE TIMES – Review of West End professional West End production

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100

years of award-winning theatre

1917
2017