Me and My Girl

May 16 2014 | By More

★★★☆   “Go there, stay there!”

Brunton Theatre  Wednesday 14 – Saturday 17 May 2014

Encore, the East Lothian-based amateur theatre company, certainly deserve their applause as they take the musical journey from Lambeth Walk to Hampshire.

Act II opener: The Sun Has Got His Hat On... A scene from Me and My Girl by Encore.Photo © Encore

Act II opener: The Sun Has Got His Hat On. Photo © Encore

Playing at the Brunton in Musselburgh until Saturday, Me and My Girl is infectious enough to get the toes tapping and the voice humming the music long after the lights come up.

Set in the late 1930s, the musical tells the tale of Cockney barrow boy Bill and the discovery that he is the next Earl of Hareford. To receive his inheritance and the keys to the kingdom, Bill must prove he is a fit and proper person and cast off all remnants of his former life in Lambeth – including Sally Smith, his one true love.

The trouble is, Bill rather likes his former life and hilarity ensues as he tries to combine the two worlds. The mixture is one of struggling potential, defiance and above all, love in all of its forms – with a bit of tiger wrestling thrown in for good measure.

Under Peter Antonelli’s direction, the cast delivers strong performances. Steve McDonald’s Bill is a very likable character, his playing complemented by Stephen Fry’s witty 1984 revision of the original version of the musical. Parchester (Alan Taylor) delights and tickles the audience as he breaks out from his straight-laced role of the family solicitor to sing a little and dance a little and hop a little and skip a little.

Throughout the show, Bill must convince the executors of the will, Maria Duchess of Dene and Sir John Tremayne, of his gentlemanly conduct.

Yvonne Atkins delivers an utterly convincing performance as the determined Duchess who takes the reins in Bill’s ‘self-improvement’. She is ably accompanied by her money-grabbing daughter Lady Jacqueline (Mhairi Gilroy) and simpering nephew Gerald (Kevin McConnachie).

“a delicate vulnerability that almost breaks your heart”

Ian McKenna takes Sir John on a journey of growth. As he witnesses Sally’s love for Bill, his character moves from consternation to affection as he realises what really matters in life.

The Me and My Girl ensemble. Photo © Encore

Sally, Bill and the company doing The Lambeth Walk. Photo © Encore

However, it is Alison Henry who steals the show. Her performance is emotive, charming and she plays the self-sacrificing Sally with a delicate vulnerability that almost breaks your heart. Her rendition of Once You Lose Your Heart is the defining moment of the production, and leaves you rooting for her throughout the rest of the piece.

Technically, this production could do with a little more polish: it would benefit from a tightening of the choreography, sharpening of scene changes and a touch more direction during the group scenes. But this doesn’t detract from the lead performances and overall enjoyment of the show.

In places, the there is a struggle to hear the singing over the sound of the orchestra. However the music is faultless and clearly enjoyable.

On the whole, Peter and Heather Antonelli deliver a loveable and heart-warming production that stays with you long after you leave the show. It’s easy to see why Me and My Girl is so popular and Encore’s presentation of it lives up to expectations.

Running time 2 hrs 30 mins (including interval)
Run ends Saturday 17 May 2014
Daily 7.30pm.
The Brunton, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AA
Details at:
Tickets from the Brunton box office in person or phone: 0131 665 2240.


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  1. arlene says:

    Duchess of Dene, played by Yvonne Atkins, was fantastic and worthy of a special mention. Yvonne’s timing was spot on and created many humorous moments. Well done to all the cast… best one yet!