Evadne Hinge and Dame Hilda Bracket were the stage
personae of the musical performance and female impersonation
artists George Logan and Patrick Fyffe.
Active in theatre, radio and television between 1972 and
2001, this comedy partnership entertained the public in the
guise of two elderly eccentric spinsters, living genteel lives
in the village of
Stackton Tressel and celebrating their former careers on the
provincial operatic stage.
Early appearances have Dr. Evadne and Dame Hilda ostensibly
emerging from retirement to perform in concert "by popular
request". The ladies greet their public as old friends and give
recitals in which they sing, play and reminisce about their past
lives on tour in opera and musical theatre in the more elegant
age following the Second World War.
Talented musicians and vocal performers, George Logan and
Patrick Fyffe played exclusively in drag and in falsetto,
serving up the musical numbers in a rich sauce of spinsterish
bickering which formed the dynamic of the act. Logan acted as accompanist,
arranger and foil for Fyffe's anecdotal and singing
Details of the ladies' genteel lifestyle and theatrical
history were shared with the audience for comic effect, and, in
the spirit of authenticity, Logan and Fyffe enjoyed developing a
detailed backdrop and career history for their characters.
For the duration of their stage partnership, the creators of
Hinge and Bracket deferred to the identities of their stage
personae, rarely agreeing to be interviewed out of character. In
this way, they were consciously preserving the illusion of "the
ladies" for an affectionate following, many of whom were happy
to suspend disbelief and engage with these endearing characters
as real people.
The Hinge and Bracket stage partnership spanned theatre,
stage shows, radio and television, and continued for 30 years
until the death of Patrick Fyffe in 2002. George Logan retired
from the stage in 2004.
a video interview, recorded in 2007 to accompany the release of
Hinge and Bracket’s BBC television recordings on DVD, George
Logan explains how he and Patrick Fyffe collaborated on their
own stage material.
They would develop the framework for a new show around a
series of ideas, subsequently refining the gags and the timing
in live performance. In
Logan's words, in order to perfect a
show, they needed to "play it like a duet with the audience”.
He notes that the differences in their personalities served
the act well: Logan himself was apt to work "from the head" as a
performer, whereas Fyffe's approach to performing was more
instinctive - a "natural comedian given to bouts of insane
humour" and never happier than when deviating from the script.
Part of Logan's
role in such circumstances was to keep the shows on track
whenever Fyffe’s muse sent him off at a tangent.
Patrick Fyffe died in 2002, George Logan decided that, without a
Hilda, there would be no more Dr. Evadne Hinge. In an interview
recorded at the
Buxton International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in 2004 Logan spoke of working alone should the right
opportunity arise, but made it clear that he did not miss the
Feeling that the appeal of Hinge and Bracket lay in the
interaction between the two characters, rather than with either
of them as individuals, Logan determined that the
body of work he and Patrick Fyffe had created together should
now stand as a finished item.
Paying tribute to his stage partner,
praises Fyffe's comedic genius and observes: "[Patrick was]
fabulously talented, a brilliant clown and a natural comedian.
Since Patrick is no longer with us, [Hinge and Bracket] can
never happen again. When you've worked with the best, there'd be
no point in doing second-best afterwards, so I'd rather leave it
as it is".
Fans of The Ladies still miss the wit, warmth and
musical talent embodied by Hinge and Bracket.
Nothing quite comparable has been achieved since Fyffe passed
away, and Logan
laid aside his half-moon spectacles.
Fyffe's death in 2002, and with none of Hinge and Bracket's
recorded work on official release, it seemed that the Stackton
Tressel well had run dry.
Since then, diligent campaigning by
Paul Dunford, keeper of the
Hinge and Bracket website, has seen BBC recordings of the
act released by Acorn Media on DVD.
In 2012 a new campaign was launched in the form of an online
calling for a celebration of the act on BBC television.
Signatures in support of this initiative are still
Dr. Evadne Mona Montpelier
Hinge (George Logan)
Dame Hilda Nemone Bracket (Patrick Fyffe)
Hilda Bracket is portrayed as a lively, flamboyant doyenne
of opera, dressed in old lace, and sporting a coquettish
lop-sided grin. In concert, she is often seen
with a chiffon handkerchief dangling at the wrist.
Dame Hilda’s mischief, foibles and Tiggerish enthusiasm make
for a winning combination in her songs, accompanying dances and
anecdotes. In every sense an entertainer, she works tirelessly
to engage her audience, with whom she is clearly in love.
Hilda leads every performance with gusto and infectious
humour, but is comically incapable of sharing the limelight.
Co-performers are apt to be ushered off abruptly if they
receive more than their reasonable ration of applause. Even mild
interjections from her friend and accompanist, the
long-suffering Dr. Hinge, are received with bossy impatience.
Hilda’s public is her first love, and woe betide anyone
Evadne Hinge is played in sharp contrast as a reserved,
austere intellectual whose role is to provide piano
accompaniment, musical direction and, where necessary, vocal
support for Dame Hilda Bracket's singing performances.
Somewhat morose and retiring in manner, the antithesis of
Hilda’s cheery egotism, Evadne cuts a modest, almost apologetic
figure on stage. Sliding demurely onto her piano stool and
peering sideways at the audience over half-moon spectacles
draped with a decorative chain, she devotes herself to peering
at the score, and is generally content for Hilda to compère the
However, Evadne is as wedded to accuracy as Hilda is to
adulation. She therefore sees it as her duty
to provide helpful comments on the repertoire, and will
interrupt, or even bluntly contradict, Hilda’s introductions and
anecdotes in the interests of precision. This
behaviour invariably creates friction with Dame Hilda.
Together, Evadne and Hilda play and sing songs from a
traditional light-operatic and musical repertoire, favouring
Gilbert & Sullivan,
Noel Coward and
Ivor Novello (dubbed "Dear Ivor").
Occasionally the repertoire will haul itself into the second
half of the 20th Century, in Hilda’s words "coming
bang up to date" with "modern" shows such as
The ladies’ musical turns are interspersed with comic
anecdotes and frequent discursions into repartee, punctuated by
flashes of cattiness and bickering. Between numbers, Hilda's
wisecracking antics and Evadne's acid reactions to her
companion's blatant attention-seeking generate the comic energy
of the act.
on, Dame Hilda establishes the pecking order, explaining how
they both came by their respective titles: her own damehood was
awarded for "services to music and opera", whereas Evadne's
doctorate was merely bestowed "for hard work".
As a prelude to their performance of Rossini’s Cat Duet,
in which Evadne sings the role of a “ginger Thomas”, Dame Hilda
is fond of alluding mischievously to Evadne’s having “been
Disapproving, but never daunted by the theatrical and
overbearing Hilda, Evadne raises her eyebrows and takes
controlled revenge through terse and well-timed put-downs aimed
at deflating Hilda's ego. In a favourite
assault on Hilda’s vanity, Evadne is fond of reminding the
audience that she is in fact two years younger than her
In spite of their petty squabbles over such details as the
date they first met (“Nineteen Forty-Six, Dear” – “Five”),
or which opera was in rehearsal at the time (“I was sitting
in the stalls with my score for Carmen on my lap and a box of
chocolates…” – “It was Aida, Dear” – “Whichever it was, it’s
easy to mix them up you know.” – “How d’you work that out,
Dear?” – “Well, they’re both Continental. It’s very easy.”),
the ladies are nonetheless portrayed as indivisible companions
and an unassailable partnership.
Hilda and Evadne never fail to address each other as “Dear”,
and occasionally stop mid-concert for a spot of sherry, or to
examine the fascinating contents of their handbags