The dark and murderous tale of Jekyll and Hyde was bought brilliantly to life by Coleshill Operatic Society last night at Solihull Arts Complex.
Following the story of Dr Henry Jekyll who truly believes everyone has a split personality, he seeks to expose this as truth, with harrowing consequences. Playing Jekyll/Hyde was Mark Hughes and he was excellent. A powerful stage presence, with voice to match, I thoroughly enjoyed his performance. This Is The Moment was brilliant, as fire blazed in the background, mounting the tension and engrossing the audience. Along with this, his transformation was faultless and Hughes' characterisation never wavered.
With supporting performances from Claire Collins as Emma and Debbie Phillips as Lucy, Phillips was stunning. She gave a fantastic rendition of Someone Like You and A New Life. Special mentions must also be given to Allan Recardo as Sir Danvers Crew and news crier Paul Gosnay, for their strong vocal performances. As the play neared the end Molly Bache suddenly appeared and delivered a beautiful solo performance. I later discovered she was only 15! She has a bright future ahead of her.
Musically directed by Kris Chase-Byrne, the ensemble were fabulous, with tight harmonies and the entire show was smoothly and superbly directed by Joyce Eyre.
Well done to all at Coleshill Operatic for a great show!
Jekyll and Hyde, presented by Coleshill Operatic Society, must end at Solihull Arts Complex tonight, Saturday 21 March.
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I had the rare opportunity of seeing tick, tick...BOOM! yesterday at Lichfield Garrick Studio, presented by South Staffordshire College Performing Arts students. A rather compact studio, it was hard to imagine Jonathan Larson's musical coming to life in such a space, but it did!
Sitting, watching the BTEC Performing Arts students felt, in a way, rewarding. It was as if I'd had the opportunity to look through a window into the future and watch the emerging talent in the Midlands.
At only 17 years old, Elliot Lolley took the leading role of Jon, a wannabe composer, with a dream that feels unachievable. Lolley played the part with conviction and there was a particularly touching moment when he performed Why? He also brought great humour to the role and with support from Lee Fisher (Michael) and Alex Littlehales (Susan), No More and Therapy were two brilliant duets, respectively. The former including a rather hilarious moment with a dishwasher...
A stand-out performance of the night came from Paige Thompson, playing Karessa. Her rendition of Come To Your Senses, a pivotal moment in the play where Jon's future as a composer hangs in the balance, had the audience erupt into applause at the end. Also, a special mention to Georgia-Kate Abnett whose vocals stood out in Sugar.
Only having one night to get this show right was a daunting challenge that the entire company handled brilliant. There may have been some little hiccups as set was brought on and off, but it didn't even matter, because it was covered well by the performers.
The closing scene was incredibly poignant, which highlighted the beautiful direction from Laurie Asher and musical direction from Mark Bayliss.
There is no doubt that this production was filled with promising performances and it reinforces the need for people to come along and support the talent of tomorrow.
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I was fortunate enough to see The Addams Family Musical last night, presented by Knowle Musical Society at Solihull Arts Complex.
Following the story of the macabre family, Gomez, Morticia, Fester, Grandma, Wednesday, Pugsley and Lurch, they are faced with the terrifying prospect of dinner with Wednesday's fiancé, Lucas, and his parents. The question is, will the evening run smoothly, will love conquer all or will Grandma pee her pants?
Knowle Musical Society are, yet again, presenting a Midlands premiere this year and it was a bold decision. The Addams family was cast faultlessly, with Jonathan Busk as Gomez and Penelope Simpkins as Morticia, heading the weirdly, wonderful family unit. Simpkins exuded a Christine Baranski-style quality and Just Around The Corner was a particular highlight.
Sophia Bailey took the part of Wednesday Addams and she was a delight. Pulled was a sure-fire favourite, as her powerful voice resonated round the auditorium and there wasn't a fault in her excellent characterisation. Wednesday's love interest, Lucas, was played brilliantly by Matt Branson and Wednesday's younger brother Pugsley was played by Sam Cox at this performance. A little star in the making. Excellent voice, excellent stage presence, bloomin' excellent!
It has to be said, the two characters that garnered some of the most hilarious reactions of the night (aside from Lurch who we'll move onto next) was Uncle Fester and Grandma, played by Dan Peet and Joan Ransom respectively. Each were hilarious, with fabulous comic timing. And without spoiling the surprise for those that haven't seen it yet, the fact that you can get a Miley Cyrus and Pussycat Dolls reference into The Addams Family is beyond genius. I was crying with laughter!
However, somehow managing to steal every scene of the show, even though he barely spoke (and when he did it was nonsense) James Gough was utterly fantastic as Lurch. There was many an audience member laughing uncontrollably!
The set design was brilliant, with a strong ensemble of ghoulish characters, and there were no stops or pauses as set was brought on or off, helping with the fluidity of the show.
Kudos to the director Richard Agg, musical director Chris Corcoran and choreographer Rachel Tuton, who together united the cast and crew in a fantastic production filled with marvellous music, song and dance, that all at KMS should be justly proud about.
KMS's production of The Addams Family runs until Saturday 14 March at Solihull Arts Complex. Click here to book tickets or call box office on 0121 704 6962.
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It's hard to write a review when you're speechless.
Wolverhampton Musical Comedy Company (MUSCOM) achieved something special tonight. They unequivocally blurred the lines between amateur and professional theatre. Taking on a musical as beastly and energetic as Legally Blonde deserves to be applauded. But to then pull it off with such style really is something to be proud of. Oh and did we mention, it's the amateur premiere?
Following the story of Elle Woods - who decides to pursue her dream man by doing everything she possibly can to get into Harvard Law School - it soon becomes clear that she has the potential to become a talented lawyer.
Undoubtedly the star of the show was Katie Astbury, who captured Elle perfectly. With some mannerisms not too dissimilar to Sheridan Smith, she could easily be placed into a professional production now and sent out on tour round the UK. Her voice was powerful, crisp and controlled, with comedy timing to match. The West End should watch out for her.
Stand-out performances also came from Harry Golightly (playing hairdresser, Paulette) who's rendition of Ireland (Reprise) was pitch-perfect and Liam Sargeant was charming as Emmett Forrest, with a lovely voice to match. Strong supporting performances came from Tye Harris as Warner Huntington III and Pascale Rollings as Vivienne Kensington.
Hilarious moments from the incredibly talented ensemble, included Emma Marsh as the overly energetic Margot, Adam Starr as Carlos, Adam Partridge as Nicos and Zachary Hollinshead as Kyle. However, we can't forget the adorable dogs, Rufus and Bruiser, who each received rapturous applause at the end!
A massive challenge of this production was the amazing set, but with the help of a brilliant stage crew team (and skilled directing), scene changes were slick and professionally executed. The entire show would have been incomplete without the excellent choreography from Denise Robinson (who is also producer and director), and the fantastic musical direction from Karl Babarczi brought the show to life.
Legally Blonde is a show to lift the spirits and MUSCOM have created an outstanding piece of theatre that could sit comfortably in the semi-professional, or even potentially, the professional theatre scene.
MUSCOM's Legally Blonde runs at Wolverhampton Grand until Saturday 14 March, 2015. You can buy tickets by clicking here.
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