Mounting a musical production on a small stage is no easy challenge and in the beautiful but intimate space of Sunfield Community Theatre there was a risk that the show would be overpowered by the technical limitations. Despite a few clumsy set change hiccups and and mic issues on opening night however, the company manage well with the resources on hand to deliver a charming production that was well-received by the sell-out audience. They are well supported by a fantastic band who, under the direction of MD James Bradbury really bring the show to life, without overpowering the performers in the small space.
Set in the inter-war years at a time of prohibition, Thoroughly Modern Millie follows the story of country girl Millie Dilmount as she begins to make her way in the new ‘modern’ lifestyle in New York City. The audience is immediately transported back to the Roaring Twenties as the curtain opens to reveal a classic monochrome montage of the cast set against the New York skyline. It is the attention to costume design that really stands out from the start and Wardrobe Mistress Sheila Davies deserves a special mention for the subtle yet effective costuming throughout.
Chloe Turner leads the company with great energy in the title role of Millie, delivering an assured, confident performance and with strong vocals throughout. She blends very well with Rhian Clements (Miss Dorothy) in their duet How The Other Half Lives and they are joined by their two romantic suitors (Ollie Edwards and Peter Holmes) to create a beautiful quartet Falling In Love. Together the four carry the show well, jumping as it does from romance to farce and from complicated patter songs to tap routines in elevators effortlessly.
Typically in these productions there is always a supporting role that has the potential to win over the audience and steal the show. Learning an entire role in mandarin is no mean feat and credit is due to Jenni Bradbury (Bun Foo) and Lewis Doley (a delightfully charming Ching Ho) for their credible performances.
Thoroughly Modern Millie taps on until Saturday 20 February.
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