The SMYCMS Reunion 2018

Billy, Reno and Moonface perform Friendship

The Smycms Reunion took place at Bainfield Bowling club on Saturday 17th February and was a great success. Everyone that attended enjoyed the buffet and the entertainment but mostly the chance to share stories and memories with members from the last 50 years. I had the good fortune to meet one of the founders of The Smycms, Colin Macdonald who recalled details about the early years of Smycms. One such recollection was that there were no auditions to join the company, as Colin joked, ” they put a mirror up to your face and if it showed signs of misting then you were in”, later, on the subject of casting he replied, “As Producer, when Betty Fyfe was casting a show you were just given a part to play if you fitted the requirements of the character”. what came over was a fondness for those early years, at times flying by the seat of your pants but that they always got there in the end. By the time the Smycms had moved out of the church hall to a bigger theatre, everyone had become more proficient in how to stage a show.

There was quite a lot of memorabilia on display, posters, flyers, programmes and lots of photos, but what most people were interested in was the entertainment, which consisted of The Frank Spencer Trio and Friends. Unfortunately the original line up of the Trio, Alan Gillespie, Graham Angus and Tony McDonald couldn’t perform as Alan was unable to attend the Reunion. This meant we had to draft in a substitute but the talented Diane Scougall filled Alan’s shoes admirably. We also had the lovely Susan Broadfoot joining us on stage and lastly Jerry Gregson was our Musical Director, well he played keyboard for the musical numbers that is. I don’t know how he kept up with us, as things sometimes didn’t follow the script, but we got there.

The entertainment started with a few songs and a piece entitled, “Smycms, Looking Back” presented by Tony,

SMYCMS, LOOKING BACK.

In 1963 Elizabeth Fyfe and Colin Macdonald were asked by Mr Watt, Minister of St Michaels Chuch to form a musical group within the church youth club, and soon The St Michaels Youth Club Musical Society was formed. It started with four girl members and for the first show, Swingalong, tickets cost 2/6d and it was staged in the church hall. It was a modest start for a company that would later become a mainstay of the Edinburgh Amdram community loved by members and audiences for many years. Interestingly in 1963 down at the London Palladium Bernard Delfont was presenting a show called Swingalong, a sing a ding ding Revue, with programmes costing one shilling, not sure what ticket prices were but I don’t think you’d get in for 2/6d. After nine years of staging shows in the confines of the Church Hall, SMYCMS finally arrived at The Church Hill Theatre in 1973 with the Edinburgh Premiere of Fiddler On The Roof.

For many years Jeanette Fyfe was the Choreographer coming up with new routines, keeping the chorus on their toes, though I’m sure she must have wondered when she saw my dancing skills, how am I going to get him on stage, June Geisler was more forthcoming as to my dancing ability, “Tony You’re Too Fat”..

Throughout the 80’s and 90’s Smycms continued to thrive, during this time they staged four Edinburgh Amateur Premieres, The Most Happy Fella, Phil the Fluter, Gentlemen Prefer Blonde’s and Crazy For You. I should mention that none of this would have been possible without the hordes of people helping backstage or front of house, the Stage crew, the wardrobe mistress, the tea and coffee makers, the bar staff, the box office, directing the audience to their seats, to selling ice cream or sweeties at the interval, they all deserve a big thank you as without them Smycms would not have lasted so long.

The SMYCMS last show was Bugsy Malone in 2010 as the company were unable to stage any more productions, the end came when the Smycms Wardrobe was broken up and disposed of, a sad end for a company that had entertained Edinburgh theatre goers for over 45 years. But tonight the show goes on,

Ladies and Gentlemen….IT’S THE FRANK SPENCER TRIO and friends.

end of part one.

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