Lively evening for rural theatre

Dominic Goodwin
Dominic Goodwin

THE warmth, energy and exuberance of Dominic Goodwin more than made up for the cool temperatures on Friday evening at The Swallow Theatre.

Dominic has established quite a following in the Machars, so it was no great surprise that he played to a packed theatre for his presentation ‘The Great Entertainers’. The audience was treated to a reminder of the talents of four great stars – Peter Ustinov, Alastair Sim, Margaret Rutherford and Joyce Grenfell.

Dominic is determined that these four should not be forgotten. He used excerpts from plays, poems and films, to support his talk. At times, there were surprising revelations about the rather tragic aspects of the lives of some who brought so much laughter to so very many over the years.

Peter Ustinov was remembered not only for his considerable success as an actor, but also for his popular appearances on chat shows and Dominic did the great man justice in the retelling of Ustinov anecdotes.

It took a greater leap of imagination to see the slim figure of Joyce Grenfell, as Dominic interspersed his talk with some of her monologues. He recalled how Joyce’s husband, after watching Maureen Lipman’s one woman show based on Joyce’s performances, was reported as saying ‘It was lovely to see her again’. Dominic had much more of a challenge than Maureen Lipman in recreating that inimitable lady, but his rendering of her monologues and songs recaptured her memorable performances in style.

Alastair Sim and Margaret Rutherford were both destined for character parts with their unforgettable, expressive faces. We had a reminder of the time they produced classic performances when brought together in the St Trinian films. Showing photos from a number of films and staged performances, Dominic dug back into a rich seam of British drama that is in danger of being forgotten and he had a very appreciative audience.

Ending with a light-hearted quiz which challenged the audience’s knowledge of the four greats, Dominic generously presented the winning team on the back row with a biography of Peter Ustinov and CDs of ? (I think Joyce Grenfell, but I’ll have to check with Tony).

The evening was billed ‘The Great Entertainers’ and as far as the audience at The Swallow was concerned, Dominic himself deserves a similar accolade.

As there was yet again a waiting list for a Swallow event, an early booking for ‘One Big Blow’ on 25th & 26th May is recommended.