Scarcer than tickets to "Annie" are those for the annual Music Hall presented by the British Embassy Players through June 17 in the embassy Rotunda. This 14th edition sold out for its fortnight as soon as seats went on sale.
The 'alls are a perfect reflection of British character a classless style cutting across ranks in a unique fusion of earthiness and the absurd. In the bawdy-whimsical turns of the 'alls. Britons close ranks.
As the persistently punning compere, Trevor Ramm welcomes groans from such lines as, "It takes a lot of plucks to play the harp." There are recreations of pre-Tiller girls tapping and can-canning, low-brow humor in a doctor's waiting room, blissful voices singing "The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo." "Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage" and that lilting "On Mother Kelly's Doorstep" which popular British entertainer Danny LaRue does with such charm. paul Crayley, who singsit, even looks like handsome Danny.
Formed in 1964, the British Embassy Players is drawn from Commonwealth embassies and interested Yanks. With Doris Hall as producer, Timothy Rice as director and Bee Crofoot as musical director, the hearty flavor is well stewed. The Rotunda seats about 150 at small tables, generously equipped with pitchers of beer, as was the custom before the 'alls got fancy.
William Hyder, every inch the sergeant major, orders the audience to join in such tunes as "Tipperary" and "Pack Up Your Troubles." Mahri Miller sings that nmaughty song about "Red Riding Hood," and Bob Shoobridge must have the blood of the 'alls in him when it comes to "A little Bit of Cucumber," Molly Beach, Blanche Moore, David Teeple and Len Prosser score in other turns. Lou Ann Copestake's training of "The Bow Belles Dancing Troupe" and B. Moore's costumes, including some from the costermongers, are properly gaudy.
With its chirpy air of royalty's democracy, small wonder the embassy's Music Hall has become a yearly smash. Grace Fields, Flanagan and Allen, Norvo and Knox, Freddy Weldon and Harry Lauder shine on through this zestful cast's hearty, contagious spirit.