Northern Lights (1931)

“Recollections while writing a few lines for the Souvenir Programme have brought back to me the happy times we all used to have appearing in ‘Northern Lights’ more than 25 years ago [1931].

It was one’s main preoccupation preparing for it, during the Easter holidays, as it must be the preoccupation on the Company who are performing the Show this year. Of course, one would not have spent a holiday in such a way unless it was to be enjoyed, and I can only hope that the present Company finds the same pleasure from it all as we used to.

I would, of course, like to think that the ‘Northern Lights’ productions of those days were hard to beat, but my friends who see them every year tell me that each new revue is just as good – which is, of course, very salutary and keeps one in one’s place.

Of the Company who used to be with me, I often see Andrew Cruickshank, who has made a fine name for himself on the professional stage. Lois Obee will be remembered on the occasions in which she appeared and, of course, she is now better known as Sonia Dresdel, but of them all the irrepressible Kathy Gavin remains strongest in my mind.

Vernon Eddie asked me recently to visit his firm in the City. It is a rum-importing firm of which he is the Managing Director. In the far-off days Vernon Eddie used to orchestrate the music and conduct our orchestra for ‘Northern Lights’. By the time we had sampled the different varieties of rum, most of the songs of five years of ‘Northern Lights’ had been suitably recollected and rendered.

Of course, of those of us who have entered the professional theatre, what was fun then is a serious business now, but nevertheless ‘Northern Lights’ was a serious business at the time of those Easter rehearsals, as I am sure the present Company has found…”

Stephen Mitchell, 1957

(This memoir first appeared in the 1958 Student Show souvenir programme)

“I took part in a lot of shows when I was a student, and the one I enjoyed most was ‘Northern Lights’, 1931. That year I was co-starred with Stephen Mitchell – something to be proud of – and we did a knock-about song-and-dance duet, called “Les Enfants Terribles”, which I still think pretty funny. Thanks to the conducting of Vernon Eddie and the accomplished piano-playing of Jimmy Ross, I also managed to get through a solo number, ambitiously called “Impressions” – of Maurice Chevalier and Irene Berdoni, no less! Then the whole cast appeared in a “Winter Sports” extravaganza. We slid down a towering toboggan run on stage, of which some of us have tender, not to say abraded memories… there were nails in it.”

Catherine Gavin, 1958

(This memoir first appeared in the 1958 Student Show souvenir programme)

“One last nostalgic and very personal recollection was of the opening night thrill of coming into the Orchestra Pit on the Monday night ‘midst a curtain of streamers thrown from the Gallery as part of the Academic night’s gaiety, to conduct the 1931 Northern Lights Revue.

I now have the pleasure of an occasional evening with Jimmy Ross when we sit down with violin and piano and recall the tunes of these shows and then talk into the sma’ hours of those who were with us, of Producers and Principals, of call boys and chorus girls, then of Stephen and Cathie and a host of names who made the Shows.

They were great days; them I wouldn’t have missed.

So greetings to all this year. May they have as much fun as we had in the Shows and may they have the same pride in seeing at the break after the Saturday Matinee, the long crocodiles snaking round the end of the Public Library and down Skene Street as Mr. and Mrs. Aberdeen queue for Pit and Galley for the Saturday evening Students’ Show.”

Vernon Eddie, 1958

(This memoir first appeared in the 1958 Student Show souvenir programme)