Hethersett Players Triumph
Players’ production of the musical They’re Playing our Song proved
to be the perfect choice for an ambitious group.
With music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole
Bayer Sager and script by Neil Simon, it was always going to be a highly
ambitious project for the Hethersett group.
The fact that they pulled it off to considerable
effect was a triumph for all those involved.
The musical play ran for over 1,000 performances on
Broadway and for almost two years in London’s West End, proving its
first class pedigree. Somehow within the relative confines of Hethersett
Village Hall and over two nights, the Players managed to make it their
There is no doubt that it is a difficult piece to
perform on a small budget with virtually
the entire show hanging on two main characters – Vernon Gersch and
Sonia Walsh. There is support from Vernon’s and Sonia’s “inner
voices” in the form of three boys and three girls but these are
largely incidental to the plot, albeit at times an interesting
The storyline mirrors the funny but at times
tempestuous relationship between established composer Vernon and
aspiring female lyricist Sonia. It is a thinly disguised portrayal of
the real life relationship between Hamlisch and Sager.
The relationship progresses via numerous twists and
turns, moving from apartment to club, beach house to hospital. There are
no show-stopping musical numbers with the songs being more low key and
thought-provoking, but if anything this adds rather than detracts from
For a small drama group to produce a top class
performance in such an adventurous undertaking is nothing short of a
minor triumph. Gareth Evans as Vernon and Vicki Gale as Sonia both find
their talents stretched to the limits by the witty repartee and the need
for spot on timing. They both coped admirably to provide a hugely
believable relationship right down to the New York accents.
With such a difficult project there was obviously
as much going on behind the scenes as on the stage under the direction
of Sarah Wright, who is well known for her work with the Hethersett
Pantomime Group, and choreographer Kate Rowe.
The orchestra, under the direction of local GP Tony
Press, also had to be note perfect in a piece that is all about timing.
As already stated there were cameo roles from Amy Ceunca, Emma Jermy and
Rebecca Molloy as the girls and Joe Larkowsky, Matt Molloy and David
Reynolds as the boys.
Overall They’re playing our Song calls for
bitter-sweet performances and that’s exactly what the audience were
given. It was so good to see such a group stretching themselves to the
limit rather than relying on tired old plays and farces.
The Players’ next production will be a variety evening on 9th and 10th November.