After five decades of treading the boards in Upper Hunter, Moonan Mummers still wowing audiences with Unnecessary Farce another hit

THE Moonan Mummers celebrated 50 years of providing continuous entertainment to the community in 2019.

Instigated and inspired by the wonderful Myra Mitchell, this organisation has managed to draw on the local residents, extract amazing and, in many cases, untapped talent.

It's also provided a high level of quality entertainment and fun for its many fans.

This year was no exception and, indeed, according to some of the original founding members, one of the best productions yet.

Unnecessary Farce had all the elements of a terrific comedy play, perfect for the audience for which it had been selected.

After the always-delicious and hearty main meal, the entertainment kicked off with the usual warm welcome extended by emcee Richard Carter.

A natural host, he set the scene for the night that lay ahead with his usual aplomb.

Before the curtains were raised, however, Myra Mitchell's son and himself a founding Mummers member, Warwick Mitchell, provided an interesting and colourful history of the organisation, its humble beginnings and, intriguingly, the history of the title, Mummers.

I suspect there were many in the audience who had little knowledge of this fascinating fact.

Then the fun began.

The curtains were raised on a simple but very well-executed set - two identical hotel rooms with something rather untoward appearing to occur in one of the beds.

So, began the rollicking story of Unnecessary Farce.

Matt Grainger, as the bumbling officer Eric Sheridan, once again proved why he is such a favourite with every audience.

His natural talent for comedic acting and presence on stage has made him an invaluable asset to the Moonan Mummers.

He relishes these roles and has the difficult, yet essential ability, to maintain his character on stage at all times, never once allowing the spell over the audience to be broken.

He also has the ability to undertake these farcical roles without falling into the amateur trap of overacting.

The relative newcomer in Kath McLoughlin once again didn't disappoint.

She's appeared in a number of recent productions and her natural talent is an asset for the Mummers.

Her role-playing was excellent and she was very convincing as the nave, desperate to achieve, officer Billie Dwyer.

As those who attended will attest though, the highlight of her performance came in the second act with her extraordinary rapid fire interpretation of what had just been uttered by the terrifying Todd - something she executed perfectly.

Long-time Mummers member Sally Mitchell executed her role as the jittery yet somewhat frustrated accountant Miss Brown extremely well.

Perfectly cast, she oscillated from the nervous uptight numbers cruncher to the "very hot" Miss Brown.

Word perfect and with her usual enthralling presence on stage, she did not disappoint.

Founding member Tim McLoughlin was brilliantly cast as the unfortunate Mayor.

He has years of experience under his belt treading the boards and appeared to have little difficulty is assuming the role of Mayor Meekly.

He cannot be allowed to hang up his script just yet.

Newcomer Lewis King, as the fabulous Agent Frank, was one of the highlights of the production.

His delivery of his not insignificant role was exceptional - word perfect, with just the right inflections for those particularly nervous moments.

It is hoped that he will continue to be a part of the Moonan Mummers for years to come as his contribution was superb.

Another feature was the performance by Liam McLoughlin of the ferocious Scottish clansman, Todd.

It was Oscar worthy and he is to be commended for not only his exceptional Scottish accent but his ability to ensure that no one in the audience had a clue as to what he was saying, as was required on this occasion.

His performance was hilarious and his execution of the role excellent.

He was perfectly cast and had the audience in stitches with his incredibly believable portrayal of a murderous Scotsman.

Long may he (and his wonderful offsider Kath) continue to contribute to the Moonan Mummers and carry on the McLoughlin tradition, as established by his parents Tim and Marion.

The cast was rounded beautifully by the arrival of the deceptively meek Mrs meekly.

Anne Mitchell did a wonderful job transforming from the seemingly aged Mrs meekly into a gun-toting murderous schemer.

Her Scottish twang was also noted at the appropriate times and her portrayal of this two-sided character was well-executed.

Farces are extremely difficult to pull off successfully and professionally.

While from the perspective of the audience, it may not look terribly difficult, timing is everything.

This year's production had the timing down perfectly.

There was no evidence of any prompting required or mis-moves on stage.

All of this, combined with a well-rehearsed cast, who had been obviously very well-guided by the talented producers in Warwick Mitchell and Serena White, resulted in one of the best productions seen in recent times by the Moonan Mummers.

This in no way derogates from previous efforts but does imbue in all of us the hope that the Moonan Mummers will continue to be a force in entertainment, in our community, for another 50 years.

Well done.