Birkenhead Operatic Society Trust, with a budget of thousands and great ingenuity, performed The Scarlet Pimpernel in the Empire Theatre. Elsie Kelly (Director) and Meryl Langford (Chairman) saw [the show], … and decided they could stage it without the Broadway millions and THEY HAVE! Oh the glamour! … What a first appearance [Marguerite] has, … in a dress to die for, needing quadruple doors to get through, not knowing that her foppish (pretence) husband is really a James Bond character, rescuing the French nobility from the guillotine. (Yes, its there against a blood red sky, really chopping off heads, which fall into the basket!) Oh the wonder of the opening of the second half in a mirrored ballroom (they couldn’t move St. George’s Hall) with swags and pillars and chandeliers, golden costumes and MASKS. Oh the splendid diction and perfect upper class vowels of “They seek him here, they seek him there”… Oh the swashbuckling fights, and the disguises, and the badness of Chauvelin (could be Les Mis) and the business with the cart and the boat, and a glorious company of men. Was that really Mark Gairrusso in disguises turning a small part into a great cameo role? Such glamorous maids, and knicker-showing tarts, and grande grande dames (pronounced the French way) and the quiet pathos of the prison, with the victims leaving when their names were called. Oh, lots and lots of singing…, and misunderstandings and spy rings are all part of it and the (paid) fly men in the fly tower fly in instant altars or ship’s sails, and (unpaid) stage managers carry stone balustrades and statuary into the rose garden, and leather sofas into the library. Amateur members of the company rehearse and rehearse, and learn to act, sing, speak, dance, fight, and have the discipline of the professional. Few professional companies could possibly afford so much talent on and back-stage. Such delights:- a full orchestra, with musical director, boy trumpeters, Jim Langford doubling as a boat builder, French armies, winsome ladies and of course ROMANCE. What an evening! … As FOPS you’re the TOPS! Whatever it COST dearest BOST, you’re the BEST!