Richard Wilson learns about the unique vision of the company behind a stage revival coming to Wantage and Didcot

The tale of a small-town girl who comes to the Big Apple in search of her fortune is coming to stages in Wantage and Didcot.

Fresh from the success of their last show Calendar Girls, Jigsaw Stage Productions is performing Thoroughly Modern Millie this week and the next.

The script is based on the 1967 comedy movie of the same name. Audiences will follow Millie Dillmount who is determined to take New York by storm and marry for money rather than love. The setting is 1922, the age of flappers who were a ‘new breed’ of young women who flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behaviour.

Director Gill Morgan said: “Millie comes from a small town in Kansas and she decides to come to New York to marry her boss. She hopes to become rich.

“However, she gets into all sorts of scrapes along the way. She has her purse, her hat and her shoes stolen within moments of arriving at the train station.

Her journey takes her to the Hotel Priscilla for single women, where she makes a friend in the wealthy Miss Dorothy, who wants to see how the other half lives, but also meets the sinister Mrs Meers.

Millie notices that lots of her friends at the hotel are going missing – unknown to her, Mrs Meers is the leader of a slavery ring that is kidnapping orphan girls.

“There are certainly dark elements to the plot but it is a family show through and through. It’s a very happy show and some of the numbers from it are very well known. Once you hear the songs you’ll know them instantly. We have quite a small band accompanying the singers and they’re very good.”

The song list includes the title tune, How The Other Half Lives, They Don’t Know and What Do I Need With Love?

Jigsaw Stage Productions has only been running for three years but it has already gained a good reputation. What makes it unusual is it is not run in the same way as many other amateur clubs.

Gill Morgan added: “It’s not a membership company – we invite people to take part. We know a lot of talented actors in the area and when we invite them they’re usually very happy to join in.

“It’s unlike other companies where you have to cast depending on which members show up to the audition.”

The group is also unusual in the fact that it will be performing in two venues – a mini tour to ensure the months committed to rehearsals allow the actors to shine.

“If somebody has been working for four to five months on a show and only gets to perform three times, that can sometimes kill the enjoyment a little bit.

“We do try to do a lot of shows – performing in different venues can make it feel like you’re in a professional company.

“It’s a challenge as well, because we are working with two different stages. We have to be able to adapt the play so that it will work at both venues.

“So far it’s worked out well and we all look forward to the show.”

Thoroughly Modern Millie
The play is on at Shush The Venue in Wantage until Saturday at 7pm, then at the Cornerstone in Didcot from Thursday to Friday, February 27-28 at 7.45pm.
Tickets for the Wantage show are from Shush, the Wantage Museum, Bretts Pharmacy or on 01235 767509.
To see the Didcot show, call Cornerstone on 01235 515144.
Visit the group’s website at