Betty Blue Eyes will be an “utterly British musical”

Betty Blue Eyes is the next production from SO Musical Theatre at The Barn Theatre, Southwick running from May 8-11.
Betty Blue Eyes in rehearsal (contributed pic)Betty Blue Eyes in rehearsal (contributed pic)
Betty Blue Eyes in rehearsal (contributed pic)

The production will be directed by Simon Gray, who is also the musical director, with Katie Mayfield as choreographer.

Tickets are £18 and are available from

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Simon said: “Betty Blue Eyes is a musical comedy based on the 1984 film A Private Function by Alan Bennett. The book was written for the stage by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, adapted from Alan Bennett’s original screenplay. It features music by George Stiles with lyrics by Anthony Drewe and first opened in the West End in 2011 starring Sarah Lancashire and Reece Shearsmith.

“Betty Blue Eyes is set in 1947, post-war Britain. Belts are being tightened, and government is telling the country there'll be fair shares for all if they survive Austerity Britain. Meanwhile, local officials feather their own nests by taking more than their fair share. Having won the war, Britain seems to be losing the peace: the country is staggering under rationing, unemployment and the coldest winter for decades. The only bright spark on the horizon is the impending Royal Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. It is an utterly British musical, full of eccentric characters, such as the strange, odd couple, Gilbert, an evangelistic chiropodist, and Joyce, a nobody determined to be somebody; Inspector Wormold, an obsessive destroyer of illegal meat; Mother Dear – ‘She’s seventy-four and ravenous’; along with a weird assortment of bullies, spivs, and snobs and of course, our star, Betty the pig.

“The cast is headed by Richard Dawes and Naomi Quinn as Gilbert and Joyce Chilvers. Richard has performed all over the globe with different professional companies, but this is his first stage musical back in the south since he was a fresh-faced baby of 17! Naomi was very involved in the local theatre scene until she took a break to have a family. She made her come-back with SO Musical Theatre last year in our production of Oh Yes We Can, and we are delighted to have her back to play Joyce.”

Other members of the cast include Chrissie Blount as Mother Dear, Dave Mantle as Inspector Wormold, Jim Apted as Dr Swaby, Tony Adams as Mr Allerdyce, Debbie Spellman as Mrs Allerdyce, Steve Robertson as Mr Lockwood, Viv Aylward as Sergeant Noble, Graci Field as Veronica Allerdyce, and Sophie Collins as Princess Elizabeth. Other roles are played by Sunny Carter, Katherine Adams, Elliot Toms, Richard Fisher, Claire Coull, Amy Bowyer, Jamie Hyde, Wendy Holden, and Mark Eaton.

“With full support from the SOMT chorus and a live band, this delightfully funny show is performed at the Barn Theatre, Southwick from May 8-11, evenings at 7.30pm plus a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.”

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