Musical Comedy at Belgrade
Any inclination this critic may have had towards dull care was swept away by the gay cavalcade of talent which brought a warm breath of happy mischievous Spain into the heart of Coventry to the Belgrade Theatre, where the new English musical comedy, Ferdinand the Matador, had its premiére.
Directed by Bryan Bailey it was as if the play had been written for each artist separately. There were no misfits and it was a top rate show.
Here was the gay life of English tourists in Spain, but tourists with a difference. The person who seemed to have the most trying time was undoubtedly the guide, leading actor Oscar Quitak, who gave a brilliant performance. He had the house laughing, or sobbing, at his whim and fancy.
The tourists took the eye, however, especially delightful Audrey Nicholson, so inexperienced and Diane Coupland, mature and sultry, but they received grand support from "Oh, I practically live abroad," money-bags Gerald Deacon.
These four newcomers to the Coventry stage were outshone in one scene only. In the brilliant episode when poor, weak, permanently ill Cherry Morris made a triumphant return from the bull-fighting arena singing "Olé" at the top of her voice and doing a jig which would have done credit to many younger people, but shook her 'nursemaid' Barbara Atkinson.
Things twist and turn for the poor holidaymakers - Malcolm Rogers and Patsy Byrne spend three parts of the time looking for their son, John Gibbs - Rhoda Lewis and Clinto Greyn manage to click together - while poor Henry Manning finishes, as always, with his pet phrase, "Cheers, chaps."
Others taking part were: Margo Jenkins, Charles Kay, Hope Jackman, John Ringham, Alan Howard, Lindsey Dyer, Fiona McKean, Graham Pyle, Maurice Lane, Richard Martin and Patrick O'Connell.
Nuneaton Evening Tribune, 5.11.1958.
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