THE shows of Abbey Musical Society have been generating laughter, tears, and applause for decades in the community.

In 1985, the musical society’s opening performance of The Inn of the Eighth Happiness was a colourful affair.

It was hoped that the shades of grey that lingered in the weather would end that week, by which time performers had been able to master their microphone difficulties. and the children had found the confidence they needed to raise their voices.

Noren Steel, who took on the demanding role of Gladys Aylward, portrayed the determined missionary excellently. It won the respect of the Chinese and leads a group of children from the horrors of war to safety.

She came into her own when singing Here at Last at the start and close of the musical.

As important her role was, it was Guy Smith, playing Cheng Yung Lu who won loud applause from the audience and gave an outstanding performance.

Lu Gladys’ helper, was entertaining throughout and was particularly impressive when singing the beautiful song Sigh For Me and This Moment in Time in which Heather Collinge Sualan joined him.

Praise went out for the performance of Frances Gardner for her powerful portrayal of the fearful Tinker woman, and Adrian Parkinson in the amusing roles of Yang, and Marie Allmark played a convincing Jeannie Lawson, whose death, thought a little unbelievable - brought one or two sniffles from the audience.

Enthusiastic musicians played well throughout, though their music, sometimes drowned the ‘little’ voices of the children.

The least professional aspect of the entire show was the dancing, and the ladies of the court uncertainty need to brush up on their choreograph.

The musical was at Barrow Civic centre for all to enjoy throughout the week it was shown.