Wow. Just wow. Walking out of the Old Rep Theatre last night, it was an incomparable feeling. The talent that was on that stage was incomprehensible. Every single BOA Musical Theatre student involved put their heart and soul into Little Women and it was an absolute joy to experience.
Little Women was originally written by and is based on the life of author Louisa May Alcott. Following the adventures of four sisters Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March, Jo is desperate to get her vivid books published, to no avail. When Professor Bhaer suggests writing something a bit closer to home, she weaves the story of herself and her sisters growing up in Civil War America.
The music throughout was utterly beautiful and how fantastic to see such a rarely performed show introduced to Birmingham audiences, by Year 13s! It is hard to imagine the majority of these students are 18, they all have such exciting futures ahead if last night is anything to go by. Taken on an emotional roller coaster, the audience are instantly introduced to the vivacious, tomboyish Jo, played endearingly and expertly by Elise Jones. Her stunning voice filled the theatre to the brim, especially in the closing number of Act One, Astonishing (and it was).
Supported by her sisters Meg, Beth and Amy, played respectively by Mia Richards, Louise Francis
and Charlotte King, they formed a formidable quartet. Francis' portrayal of Beth was excellent and her duet with Jones of Some Things Are Meant to Be was heart-wrenching.
Other stand out performances of the night came from Chelyr Hume playing Marmee, she flawlessly performed Here Alone and it was thoroughly mesmerising. Eliciting much of the laughter through the evening was the delightful performance from Alex Cardall playing Laurie. His energetic portrayal added something special to the amazing talent already on stage. Finally, Bradley Walwyn delivered a heart-warming performance as Professor Bhaer. There was a particularly touching moment at the end as Walwyn and Jones sang Small Umbrella in the Rain.
The ensemble were faultless, with spine-tingling harmonies, there was not one weak link. It is abundantly clear that BOA Musical Theatre have on their hands a melting pot of talent. This is what theatre is about, it made me proud to see this had been created and performed right in the heart of the Midlands.
With outstanding direction from Stephen Whitson, exquisite musical direction from Michelle King and excellent choreography from Amy Ferguson, it reinforces the absolute need for people in the Midlands to come and support the future Musical Theatre talent that was clearly at The Old Rep last night.
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