Heidi Trautmann

832 : Making Life a Play – A Charity Soirée in 1929 with the GEMS 'With a Song in my Heart'

By Heidi Trautmann


Let us visit the time level of the Roaring Twenties and linger there for a while with the fashion worn then, with the emotions felt and the songs that expressed them. This is what the invitation to another of GEMS productions (Girne Ensemble of Musicians & Singers) meant. Let us leave our time level and see how they did then and the organisers suggested to their friends and fans to dress up in the style of those days, smoking and bow tie for the boys and for the girls art deco dresses and fancy head wear and accessories to match up with the performing guests of a party organised by Lady Susannah Cableton-Smythe played by Sue Carling.

The event took place at the Tervetuloa Hotelrestaurant in Alsancak, a place I have never been to before, in the dining hall where one part of it was exquisitely decorated after the idea of Nejat Şik from Lapta whom we all know for his music, art and photography.  With little means he created the make believe of a grand library to give a proper frame for the guests with fantastic nobility names in the musical play ‘With A Song in my Heart’.

With the dining hall in a soft light by huge candle holders on each table about 60-70 guests were seated and spoilt with delicious meze, main course and dessert. Many of them had followed the proposal of Grahame and Francine Ash to dress up to contribute to the atmosphere of the evening’s play and this added sparkling reflections all around.

The performing ‘guests’ finally arrived from their ‘dinner party’ to withdraw to the library for talks and further drinks, they sort of joined us and introduced us to their time with some stories and facts and then to the famous songs, in solos and as a choir to some of which the guests in the audience joined in. Even we as the only Germans in the audience remembered them only too well, such as ‘When you’re smiling’, ‘When the red, red robin comes bob bob bobbing along’ or tip toe through the tulips with me, ‘With a song in my heart’ and ‘Bye bye Blackbird’.


The guests performing were in true life: Sue Carling, Stuart Hillard, Lynda Hillard, Bikki Froud, Denise Bailey, Grahame Ash, Alan Carling, Simon Harding, Amanda Harding, Jessica Harding, Perdi Brown, Mike Redman (Banjo) and Francine Ash (Piano). Anne Redman was the House Manager and General Faktotum


The parties retired for the dessert and while we were refilling our drinks the lucky raffle winners were drawn and the best dressed woman nominated. I wonder if they made them themselves or if they got it from a fancy shop from back home.

During the second part the audience felt already familiar with the presented time level of the Roaring Twenties and they sang and swayed to the music remembering their young days, I am sure.

A big thank you to the GEMS for giving all their time and enthusiasm to entertain us and remind us that we had much more time in those days, I mean we just took it, to enjoy life, to go out and meet people, to do things together. I think, that is also a very important message we were given.


The income of all three performances on January 14, 15 and 16, 2016 was donated to TULIPS – Help Those with Cancer – and the event was supported by Creditwest and many more who helped to set up the stage. 


The library - designed by Nejat Şik
The library - designed by Nejat Şik

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