New Earswick Musical Society has running since 1914, and its dedication to musical theatre has not diminished. Mack and Mabel is no exception.

Charting the relationship of “King of Comedy” Mack Sennet and his muse Mabel Normand, the society throws itself into the world of 1910s-1930s America with enthusiasm. The large company musical numbers were well choreographed: a particular highlight was the upbeat and hopeful Big Time, which had me humming a couple of lines to myself in the interval.

Director Ann McCreadie’s choice of freeze-frames, to switch between Mack’s narration of the story from 1938 and his memories dating back to 1910, was inspired. However, the real visual delight came in the form of the set. A mention should go to the company’s scenery team for creating so many different coaches and backdrops. The pieces were simple yet incredibly effective, and they fully transformed the set.

The first act felt a little too long, however this is no fault of the New Earswick team and blame belongs with the script. The action picks up in the second act, with scandals and disputes galore. Chris Hagyard and Perri Barley gave some lovely humour and heart to their supporting roles, but the stand-out performance was Julie Hannah as the leading lady herself. From young and naïve, to somewhat broken from a drug addiction, Hannah gave the role of Mabel its much deserved delicacy, whilst also playing up the comedy moments.

There were a few musical hiccups, which will no doubt be cleared up for future performances, but it’s clear to see the entire cast is having fun and loving what they are doing. They should be proud of their delightful offering.