Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Amateur thespians tread the boards

Nine Rochester residents have memorised their lines and rehearsed their roles for a musical production of satirical cartoon Li'l Abner.

ELAINE COONEY May 27, 2014 11:04pm

Actors (from back left) Fairlie McDonald, James Murphy Clair Murphy, Kim Gallagher, Tony Murphy, Graeme Watson; (front) Bec Kellet and Peter Gibson have roles in Li'l Abner: the Musical. Photo: Elaine Cooney


A group of Rochester residents joined the cast of Li’l Abner which had its opening night at the Echuca Paramount Theatre on Friday.

Rochester actor Graeme Watson described the performance as a ‘‘frolicking fun type of show’’.

Mr Watson said the theatre company generally stuck with more traditional shows, but broke the mould this year.

He plays the president of the US, an eccentric scientist, a derelict of the town of Dogpatch and secretary to General Bullmoose.

Mr Watson said he enjoyed the variety of suiting up to play the role of president and messing up his hair and donning dirty clothes to play the derelict.

Co-director and co-choreographer Raelene Dean was proud of the Rochester cast members, especially those who were acting for the first time this year.

The musical, sprang from the comic strip by Al Capp set in the hillbilly town of Dogpatch in the in the early 1950s.

The plot involves perennial themes including nuclear energy problems, big business profiteering, political exploitation, government corruption and feminist issues.

Mr Watson encouraged people to support the district’s budding talent by attending the show.

‘‘It gives young people the opportunity to have a go and enjoy the theatre,’’ he said.

Mr Watson said he hoped some of the younger cast members would go on to stage shows in Melbourne.

Performances are at 7.30pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, as well as a 1.30pm matinee on Saturday.

Tickets are on sale at the Echuca Paramount or by calling 54823399.

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