ONCE again Cupar Amateur Musical Society has produced a thoroughly enjoyable show. This year the company delighted us with ‘The Pajama Game’, an American musical first staged on Broadway in 1954 and revived many times since.
The story deals with labour problems in a pyjama manufacturing company and the stormy romance that blossoms between principal characters Babe, played by Helen Knowles, who is in charge of the grievance committee, and Sid Sorokin, played by Andrew Doig, the new factory superintendent.
The outstanding leads are well supported by an excellent cast.
Raymond Young opens the show as the time and work study officer, Vernon Hines, with the sewing room staff in a well drilled chorus number, ‘Racing With the Clock’ and this is followed by Sid with his opening solo, ‘A New Town is a Blue Town’ and Babe, supported by the girls, with ‘I’m Not at All in Love’.
The pyjama company, ‘Sleep Tite’, is doing well and union leader, Prez, played by Neil Jarrett, is pressing the management for a pay rise of seven and a half cents an hour for his members.
Meanwhile we note that Hines is in love with Gladys, the company president’s secretary, played by Ruth Anderson, but his jealous behaviour does not help his cause.
Mabel, Sid’s secretary, played by Jude Vandecasteele, tries to help Hines to stop being so jealous with the song ‘I’ll Never Be Jealous Again’ but has little success.
But as the tale proceeds, the workers’ demands for a rise get stronger while the boss, Myron Hasler, played by Philip Ponton, prevaricates and repeatedly turns down their request. This does not help the budding romance between Babe and Sid, who are on opposite sides of the management and union battle, and the duets ‘Small Talk’ and ‘There Once Was a Man’ between Andrew and Helen are beautifully sung during scenes where their relationship starts to show signs of the workplace strain.
The second act starts with a union meeting and one of the best known songs from the show, ‘Steam Heat’ which features Gladys, supported by the boys and a quartet in evening dress in an original and entertaining song and dance routine.
At the factory, Vernon, the time and motion man, is really hurt by the sewing room slow down. He takes it quite personally and performs another slick routine with the girls chorus – ‘Think of the Time I Save’.
The action moves back to the office where Sid asks Gladys out on a date with the aim of relieving her of the key to the ledger as he wants to see just how badly the slow-down is affecting production and the company’s fortune.
They go to a nightspot where Sid charms the key from Gladys and the production team are to be commended on a clever and intricate segue into the night club scene and yet another of the well known numbers from the show, ‘Hernando’s Hideaway’, sung by Gladys with the full chorus.
Vernon Hines is at the club and he is very jealous as Gladys sits with Sid and this manifests itself in the amusing ‘I’ll Never Be Jealous Again Ballet’ featuring an alluring Gladys who entertains a string of admirers while imaginary husband, Hines, is at work. In the office the next morning Sid corners Hasler after he has spent all night studying the ledger. Hasler has been ignoring the effects of the go-slow and the sabotage activities but is finally convinced by Sid that he will have to meet the workers’ demands.
The final big number celebrates the seven and a half cents increase and just what it will mean to them all before we return to Hernando’s Hideaway for the closing chorus.
George Hutchison has directed a really slick production and special mention must go to both Lorna Lewis for her choreography and Kate Doig for musical direction.
This is a difficult show to produce in the limited space of the Corn Exchange stage and the backstage crew are to be congratulated for making it all happen.
Once again CAMS is to be congratulated on a great night’s entertainment.