Christmas has come early to the Lichfield Garrick this week and, based on the audience’s reaction tonight, it is welcomed with huge enthusiasm! Scrooge is a real triumph for this young and talented company and the large cast is well drilled by director Ben Cole and choreographer Claire Flavell. The effective staging of the entire show meant that the many young people never looked cramped on the stage. The Christmas Past scene featuring the ghostly dancers was a real highlight!
The set was simple but effective; making scene changes slick and allowing a smooth, flowing production which was generally fast-paced. Further pace could have been gained in some of the more dialogue-heavy scenes by the young actors picking up cues more quickly, but I am sure this will improve throughout the week. The cast who had to fly coped very well with this and never did it deter from their performance!
There are some wonderful performances and there really are too many individuals to mention by name, but I must give special praise to Josh Edge who portrayed Scrooge with real skill and talent. His comic timing, sense of pathos and powerful singing voice combined to create a memorable and professional-standard performance. The Ghost of Christmas Past (Jessica Harrison) had a lovely singing voice and the Ghost of Christmas Present (Fiona Winning) provided great comedy in a larger-than-life performance. Will Foggin was an excellent Tom Jenkins who performed with energy and a has a very pleasing singing voice whilst Young Ebenezer (Ben Hayfield) gave a lovely performance and his duet with Scrooge was a real highlight of the show. All the young people who took a solo part within the ensemble should be really proud of themselves.
Despite some interesting moments when sound effects and props did not behave themselves, this was a very slick and professional production. Musical Director George Stuart led a well-controlled orchestra and had clearly worked extremely hard to ensure that the complicated chorus singing was well-handled by the young cast.
This is most certainly a production that everyone involved with WBOS Youtheatre should be really proud of.
If you fancy a fun night of dazzling entertainment then this show won't disappoint.
The lovely BMTC have put together a rich programme of pop and show songs, cleverly crafted into a story that shows an amdram society 'going through the process of auditioning, rehearsing and putting on a show' (if I may quote Brian Hirst, the Society's Honorary President).
Act One opens to a full house and we are welcomed with a fabulous theatre stage rehearsal set. The hopefuls are warming up and the show director starts the process of auditioning. Directed by long-time member and Chairman, Jamie Norgrove, the show features over 30 well-known feel-good favourites including You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, To Know Him Is To Love Him and The Great Pretender. Lots of great voices, musical interludes and comedy moments; the performers flowed perfectly on and off the stage without hesitation. I dare not imagine how many back stage cues there must have been!
The band, led by professional Musical Director Ian Room, played to perfection and carried the show along with ease. I have to take my hat off to Val Horobin who must have organised hundreds of costumes individually tailored for each scene, no easy task.
With such a big cast it's almost impossible to mention everyone without hogging the entire press page, but highlights for me included Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy sung beautifully by trio Charlotte Fletcher, Louise Hewitt and Philippa Mills, As If We Never Said Goodbye performed by Steph Coleman, Neil Horne's Mr Cellophane and Philippa Mills' I Don't Want To Show Off. Helena King kept us giggling with her rendition of Understudy as did Louise Hewitt with her cheeky Dance Ten, Looks Three.
Some smashing performances from the younger cast members who were confident and enjoying every moment. The star of the show for me was Choreographer Michele Windsor - I salute you! The choreography was superb, lots of variation and the company, which included dancers of different levels of experience, came together as one big family and rocked that stage with precision which, at times, was so good it would have rivalled the red arrows. Particular choreography highlights for me were for Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, If You've Got It Flaunt It and Razzle Dazzle.
Congratulations also to Ian Cheadle and his backstage crew, Peter Revell for a smooth sound design and Andrew Kennerley for an excellent and show-stopping lighting scheme that brought the scenes to life. Well worth a ticket ....if you can get one!
Runs to 4 November.
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