The Witches is one of Roald Dahl’s darkest stories, telling the tale of children being turned into mice, with no hope of reclaiming their human form. This stage adaptation was created in 1992 by David Wood, who has also adapted other Dahl stories including The BFG and The Twits, as well as writing a series of other original plays and musicals for family audiences. So it was with great anticipation that I took both my Junior Reviewers to the delightful Hall Green Little Theatre to see their production of this classic story.
The performances, led confidently by Sammy Lees as the unnamed Boy and the delightfully creepy Zofja Zolna as the Grand High Witch, were committed and delivered with clarity (as someone who spends most of their time in the musical theatre, it was great to hear dialogue being projected properly, without the aid of mics!). Alfie Redmond, as the constantly gorging Bruno, and Jean Wilde, as Boy’s cigar-smoking, story-loving Grandmother offered excellent support.
The entrance of the Witches had more than a hint of Monty Python about it; the echoes of Terry Jones were very clear, and that’s absolutely fine by me! And the pantomime kitchen scene added a much needed boost of energy in act 2.
When tackling a well known story like this, there is a certain expectation about how scenes requiring a magical transformation are tackled. Director Roy Palmer and his technical team did well here with their limited resources, but we did all feel a couple of the scene changes could get slicker as the run goes on.
It was just a shame that the performance was poorly attended. A classic tale told with conviction in a charming little theatre deserves more support. It is running until 26th May.
Having seen a mixture of shows hitting the stage in recent months, from the eccentric hilarity of Spamalot to the real events of Made in Dagenham, the audience at The Core found themselves treated to a step back in time to the more traditional toe-tapping style of show as Solihull Theatre Company presented David Heneker's Half A Sixpence.
The story, based on H.G Wells' book Kipps, tells the tale of Arthur Kipps, an apprentice draper who comes into a fortune but who does not find happiness in it's wake. Kipps was played with energy and conviction by Chris Johnstone; he was barely off the stage and credit must go to his stamina in delivering the role throughout without missing a beat. His first love interest, Ann Pornick, who he in turn woos, loses, then finally marries after a few of the usual mishaps along the way, was played with sure footed feistiness by Lizzie Stainton. This was her first principal role and she portrayed the character with the assuredness of a more seasoned lead actress. The audience was suitably entertained by their duet Half A Sixpence in particular.
Ann's rival for Kipps's love, Helen Walsingham, was played with authority by Meghan Doheney, another principal debut which was worthy of a more experienced performer. Meghan and Lizzie acted as excellent foils to each other as they both in turn gained the romantic attention of Kipps; the haughtiness of the former balanced well by the down to earth nature of the latter.
There was some delightful chemistry between all the employees in Mr Shalford's Emporium; Sid Pornick (played by James 'O' Grady), Buggins (played by Stuart Harrison) and Pearce (played by Jake Blue Reeve-Yates) were a very tight knit group and delivered some pleasing harmonies in All In The Cause Of Economy. Equally the girls in the shop, Flo Bates (played by Charley Branson), Kate (played by Jo Murphy) Emma (played by Sarah Murphy) and Victoria (played by Hannah Gray) gave sure footed performances throughout.
In every show there is always a role which has the chance to steal the show and Chitterlow, played by Dan Gough, was the whisky swilling burglar on this occasion. His portrayal as the inebriated actor looking for a break who happens to appear in the shop where Kipps works riding a bicycle brought many laughs from the audience, and his duet with Kipps The One Who's Run Away was very assured.
Other roles which supported the principal cast well and which are worthy of a mention include Pauline Dyer's portrayal as the battleaxe mother of Helen, Mrs Walsingham, and Katherine Allen's excellent portrayal of the unbearable Mrs Botting.
The ensemble was well drilled and disciplined under the expert baton of Stephen Perrins; their numbers were energetic with good diction and some superb harmonies. The Old Military Canal'and the well known Flash Bang Wallop particularly stood out.
The costumes and set were fresh and colourful and added to the overall spectacle.
Credit must go to the whole production team of Terry Wheddon (Director), Stephen Perrins (Musical Director) and Pauline Elliker (Choreographer) for a slick and sure footed show.
This show really hits the mark!
Based on the book by Jeffrey Lane and with music and lyrics by David Yazbek, this sparkling musical comedy is based on the well-known and loved movie of 1988, starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin. In brief, Lawrence Jameson (Joe Bromfield) is a suave English con artist posing as the deposed Prince of a fictional country. He targets rich ladies who are all too happy to finance his undercover missions in order to regain his throne. Small-time crook Freddy Benson (Dan Robb), swindles women by stirring their compassion with stories about his Grandmother's ill health. Freddie is befriended by Lawrence, who is all too happy to offer him insights into the mysteries of women, how to woo them and depart with the readies. Local hangdog police chief, Andre Thibault (Elliot Bishton) is also fully conversant in dipping into the delights of the wealthy, unattached female and the comedy twists and turns with hilarious consequences.
As part of Freddy's training, he observes the Prince's wooing of Oklahoma oil heiress, Jolene Oakes (Chloe Lang). Unfortunately, Jolene is more trouble than Lawrence has bargained for as she starts planning their wedding. In an attempt to throw Jolene off, Lawrence enlists Freddy's help and introduces her to his 'younger brother', Prince Ruprecht, who creates enough havoc to get Jolene running for the next plane home. Freddy quickly becomes proficiently slick enough a swindler to compete directly with Lawrence so Lawrence decides to set a challenge to get rid of Freddy - the first man to make fifty thousand dollars stays, the loser leaves town. Determined to outwit each other, the fraudsters make a bee-line for the new Soap Queen in town, Christine Colgate (Stephanie Leeson).
This show by Mellow Dramatics , directed by Tom Brassington, really hits the mark. Much of this show's success depends on the relationship between the two lead men and there is certainly great on-stage chemistry between Joe and Dan. Bromfield is charismatic and perfect for the role. He combines sophistication and wit with just a hint of naughtiness whereas Robb manages to be boyish, outlandish and endearing. Robb, for me, was the man of the stage - hilarious facial expressions, great comedy timing and just enough crazy for the character of Ruprecht, which must be one of the funniest scenes in the show. Becky Winfield plays Muriel Eubanks with passion, bubbly excitement and a great understanding of Lawrence's situations treating us to a great rendition of What Was A Woman To Do.
Stephanie Leeson plays the sweet and unassuming Christine Colgate confidently and faultlessly with her lovely singing voice and turn of character as the story unfolds. Excellent performance of Nothing Is Too Wonderful To Be True by Dan and Stephanie and a heart warming Like Zis/Like Zat by Elliot (who is no Prance) and Becky. Chloe Lang played a fabulous Jolene and performed a really entertaining Oaklahoma backed up by a full set of colourful, dancing cowboys. The show was supported by an excellent ensemble of actors, dancers and singers who were clearly enjoying every moment.
The nicely designed and personality-lead choreography by Andrea Osborne was well suited to the varying abilities of the cast and the on-stage 12-piece orchestra was competently conducted by Musical Director, Sara Kimber. The striking set received a good lighting scheme and the crew were very well orchestrated with quick, transitional set and prop changes. Nicely costumed this strong team effort resulted in a lovely warm, well performed, slick production that the group must be proud of.
Very funny, get a ticket.
I admit I did check my pockets on the way out!
Runs to 19 May, suitable for everyone
The instantly recognisable theme tune of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em immediately transported the excited audience back to the golden age of the sitcom and as the curtain rose, we were welcomed back to the home of Frank and Betty Spencer!
Sarah Earnshaw was perfectly suited to the role of long-suffering wife, Betty. Her timing and rapport with the other actors was second to none and her facial expressions had the audience belly-laughing before she even said a word!
A spontaneous round of applause welcomed Joe Pasquale onto the stage as the hapless but loveable Frank. He was able to recreate some of Michael Crawford’s mannerisms perfectly, but his signature vocal tone reminded us constantly that we were still watching Joe Pasquale.
Timing was everything in this well-rehearsed and well-drilled production, directed by Guy Unsworth. Not only was the comic timing perfectly executed in the fast-paced dialogue but the amount of physical comedy and moments of pure genius when pictures fell from the wall, only to be caught by the actors within a split second showed immense skill and preparation!
David Shaw-Parker’s vocal nuances and tone were perfect for Father O’Hara and immediately took me back to the priest in the original TV series who tried so hard to be patient with Frank but was constantly pushed to the limits of a man of the cloth!
Mr Luscombe and his secret alter-ego, Mr Worthington (Moray Treadwell) was an excellent addition to the cast and played two very contrasting characters with versatility and aplomb. He was ably supported by Mr Worthington’s assistant Desmond, played by Chris Kiely. Chris looked every bit the part of a 1970s TV production assistant and transformed into the upright police constable seamlessly.
Susie Blake played Betty’s mother Barbara and was a joy to watch as the evening’s story unfolded. Her penchant for the prune wine allowed for some hilarious consequences but her drunken characterisation was subtle and never too over-the-top, making every facial expression and stagger perfect and had the audience roaring!
Personally, the storyline and content in Act II became just slightly too ridiculous for me and took away from the performances. I felt that occasionally there was too long spent on just one joke and that these jokes were milked for all they were worth and the expense of a believable conclusion to the story. However, Guy Unsworth’s clever fusing together of favourite scenes from across the three series of this iconic sitcom brought back wonderful memories and certainly gave the audience a feel-good evening of real laughter and joy.
The set design (Simon Higlett) was complete perfection, allowing action to seamlessly move between the living room and the kitchen as well as creating brilliantly clever effects when Frank’s DIY clearly started to fall apart!
A must-see for any sitcom fans, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em runs at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Saturday, 19th May.
An Officer and a Gentleman takes flight once more in a breathtaking musical adaptation at the Birmingham Hippodrome.
Troubled Zack Mayo (Jonny Fines) tries to make something of his life by taking part in gruelling officer training to gain his wings with the US Navy in this Oscar-winning tale, but romance blossoms when he meets local girl Paula Pokrifki (Emma Williams).
Fines and Williams make a wonderful leading pair and there is strong support from Ian McIntosh as Zack’s hapless buddy Sid and Ray Shell as brutal drill instructor Emil Foley.
Meanwhile Darren Bennett skillfully portrays Zack’s profligate father Byron and Rachel Stanley is exceptional as Paula’s mother Esther.
The story is told with a seamless, rapid-fire tour de force of the decade's chart hits as its backdrop. And the most striking feature of this production, beyond the fact every fibre of its being is so wonderfully 80s, is its clever deployment of those hits and the incredible standard of the cast’s vocals in the neat arrangements.
Fines’ beautifully soulful, high voice, which excels in ‘I Was Made for Lovin You’ is matched perfectly by the power and range of Williams which shines particularly brightly in a brilliant rendition of Heart's classic hit ‘Alone’.
Say what you like about the musical integrity of 80s hits, much of them did require immense vocal range and strength and this company’s vocals are a strong as you will find in any show.
Stanley’s belting voice is terrific, particularly in ‘It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World’ and an emotional performance of ‘Don’t Cry Out Loud’ with Williams which brings the house down. Meanwhile Mcintosh’s beautiful performance of ‘Family Man’ is delivered with real feeling.
The energy never dips and Kate Prince's clever, snappy choreography is faultless throughout, as are the rapid set changes.
This clever, energetic and hugely entertaining musical recreation of a classic 80s story is a real hit and audience members were on their feet by the time Paula was swept off hers in the iconic closing scene.
An Officer and a Gentleman plays at the Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 19 May.
Brownhills Musical Theatre Company There are few companies around today who can boast about being a real family affair, but Brownhills Musical Theatre Company are definitely one of them. Having followed the company for many years it is always lovely to see familiar faces returning again and again on stage, not to mention seeing the generations of performers come up through the ranks as children and grandchildren of longstanding members take to the stage in their turn. Brownhills always combine their adult and young cast as one company, regardless of the show and as a result each annual performance is like a big family reunion. It is perhaps fitting then that they should choose Half A Sixpence as their latest offering - the rags-to-riches-to-rags tale of draper's assistant Arthur Kipps, reunited with his childhood sweetheart Ann just as he inherits a large fortune. The classic musical, synonynous with Tommy Steele in its original incarnation, has been revised and updated in recent years, with an award-winning West End revival drawing rave reviews for its staging and detailed choreography.
For Brownhills, the experience and teamwork of the production team shines through. Director/Choreographer Michele Windsor must be applauded for her own punchy routines and perfect-picture staging. The direction is clear and unfussy throughout, allowing the characters to come through, while the choreography is exciting, fast-paced and fills the stage with great energy. Despite a few initial opening night sound issues, under the steady hand of Musical Director Ian Room, the orchestra is well-balanced and guaranteed to send you out of the theatre with a toe-tapping spring in your step! Together they provide excellent foundations for the company to perform on and the cast certainly do not disappoint.
Leading the company, Brett Dewsbury is a sheer delight as Arthur Kipps, finding the perfect balance between comedy and pathos in the cheeky chappy character. He shows excellent comic timing, dance ability and handles the varying score with ease - a real triple-threat performer! Phillippa Mills gives a beautifully poised performance as Helen Walsingham, with a clear-cut accent and quiet emotion bringing real weight to a role that can often be overplayed in the wrong hands. She really makes this role of Kipps' second love interest her own and is the perfect contrast to the fiesty Ann, played with great zest by Sian Cameron. In this, her first leading lady role, Sian relishes every aspect of her performance and shows a great transition from the giggly young sweetheart to wise wife as the show progresses. With a beautiful, controlled voice and passionate delivery throughout, I am sure this paves the way for more leading roles in the future.
Supporting this trio; Neil Horne is wonderfully exuberant and zany as Chitterlow, Dave Oakley a suitably serious Mr Shalford and there are stand out performances from shop staff Louise Hewitt and Harry Simkin, who both drew attention for their energy and expression in company numbers.
The company excel in the big show piece numbers, with Flash, Bang, Wallop a real crowd pleaser, and thanks to the excellent attention to detail in the costumes they look great! There are a couple of odd make-up choices apparent onstage which are a little unnecessary in a space the size of the Garrick and which detract from performances somewhat, but as with the few hesitant niggles that were apparent on opening night, perhaps these can be toned down and blended a little through the week. Overall BMTC have created a cheery, family-led production and it would be a shame if they didn't see fuller houses as the week progresses.
Well done BMTC - another one to stick in the family album!
Calixto Bieito, a director previously described as "the bad boy" of European theatre brings to The REP an exploration of emotion, mental illness, lust and frustration. Delivered through recitals of poetry, writings of philosophers and classical music from The Heath Quartet, The String Quartet’s Guide To Sex And Anxiety makes a solid attempt to break boundaries in experimental theatre.
There is something incredibly striking about what Bieito has created, particularly within his and Annemarie Bulla’s design. For starters the stage extends past the proscenium arch to allow the performers to get right up in the audience's faces. Perhaps this is a metaphor for the presence of anxiety, depression and all forms of mental illness in society and an attempt to break down the taboo of discussing it. Also, the stage is filled with stacks of dozens of chairs and a cluster of music stands. Throughout the show they are thrown about, knocked over, torn apart and at times stacked tidily almost reflecting the mind of someone with anxiety, like organised chaos. But the vast sweeping stage of The REP dwarfs the performers while they retain a sense of intimacy in their performances, creating a powerful contradiction.
The Heath Quartet are not providing their glorious renditions of Ligeti’s String Quartet No.2 and Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 11, Opus 95 as simply a soundtrack for the evening, but the music integrates with the performers in a unique way reflecting their mental states. They also have a powerful effect on the audience, adding suspense, surprise and uncertainty to the piece, almost like another character altogether in this show. Even when they are not playing it is difficult to differentiate them from the actors.
The cast of four portray unnamed characters with different stages of mental illness and how visibly recognisable it is within them. Miltos Yerolemou opens the show reciting Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy. Armed with his glasses and notepad, like a therapist, he subtly portrays his character with internal pain, while Mairead McKinley is constantly wandering the stage, physically distressed with a sex-addicted personality. Nick Harris is continually fidgeting with props around him in an OCD-like manner; he also has many phobias and medications which he lists – providing a few of the laughs. Cathy Tyson subtly builds up to her heart-breaking recital of Stig Dagermann’s To Kill A Child showing a completely different side of mental illness. There is no denying that these actors are brilliantly talented in evoking this sensitive subject, which they do so with grace and subtly in a harrowing way.
For some, this production may be seen as a bit too avant-garde. It is not exactly the lightest of material to watch, the sexual language and nature is not one for the faint-hearted. Nor may it be seen as the most appealing of shows if you are not used to this type of production, but full kudos must be given to this company and Bieito in tackling such a sensitive, but prevalent subject in a deeply theatrical way. This piece may not have the best structure nor may it be completely clear of what it is, but perhaps that is its intention, as mental illness isn’t clear or structured, it is unpredictable, devastating and an ordeal of emotion. This show is brave, daring and experimental which makes it right for a non-commercial theatre like The REP to produce and is a well-programmed and thought-provoking piece during Mental Health Awareness Week.
The String Quaret’s Guide To Sex And Anxiety runs until Saturday 19th May at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
A show full of talent, fun, love and madness
This vibrant, Olivier Award-winning show was brought to the Old Rep stage this week by Youth Onstage. The story, written by Tim Firth, premiered in 2002, the musical being rooted in music by Madness, the ska revival band that, at its peak, successfully charted in the late 70s and early 80s.
Directed by Deb Brook, the story centres around Joe Casey (James Woodward) who makes a life-changing decision on his 16th birthday. Camden-born Casey, attempts to impress Sarah (Stacey Taras) by taking her to a building site that overlooks Casey Street, pointing out where his family live.... at no. 25. The police turn up and, in a split second, Joe has to decide whether to make a run for it or stay and face the music. Our House follows those two possible destinies and Joe has to live with the consequences of that fateful night. The story develops with a nice twist and all is watched over by Joe's late father who pulls the two scenarios together.
In the mammoth central role, James Woodward sang and danced up a storm by successfully portraying both of the Joe's with super-fast costume and persona changes that at first could make you think there were two actors in the role. Stacey Taras was fabulous as both versions of his girlfriend Sarah, with a pretty voice and determined yet sensitive disposition. Joe's dad was payed brilliantly by Alex Currie who pieced the story together with songs, asides and an awful lot of door changes. Gibsa Bah as Emmo and Matt Brook as Lewis played Joe's loyal mates with gusto, treating us to well-timed comedy and sensitive moments of true friendship. Kia Gates as Kath, Joe's mother, and Gareth Yates as the devious Reecey were both good and strong in their roles, Kia having a delightful singing voice and engaging stage presence. Sarah's catty friends Billie (Kitty Roberts) and Angie (Lauren Chapman) were most enjoyable to watch in their roles; funny, confident, both with excellent voices and strong dance ability. Adam Brown played Mr Pressman boldly and with just enough verve, and the super-confident support actors and ensemble completed the cast without a weak link in the chain, sometimes undertaking costume changes at high speed to ensure the scenes flowed seamlessly.
Musically directed by David Jones, the band's strong playing ability lead the show commendably. Choreographer, Amy Evans, designed the dance routines appropriately to the era, keeping the cast uplifted and oozing with energy and happiness - whether driving in cars, paddling boats, twirling umbrellas or dancing in the street.
Supported by a good lighting scheme and performed in a fun set consisting of brick walls and rotating doors, the show moved at a good pace without any hitches, excepting a technical issue with crackly radio mics and a signpost to HM Prison that clearly had a mind of its own although this unfortunate prop fall didn't appear to phase the actors present who continued regardless, demonstrating a high level of competency and professionalism.
In all, Youth Onstage made this a very easy show to enjoy. It was funny, lively, charismatic, moving at times and the cast certainly did justice to the music of Madness, with great renditions of Baggy Trousers, Driving In My Car, Tomorrow's Just Another Day, Wings Of A Dove and, of course, Our House. Ending in a standing ovation this young group should be very proud as it was most definitely a show full of talent, fun, love and madness.
Runs to 12th May
Momentum Performing Arts
"...a colourful, all-singing-dancing delight."
Godspell, based on the book by John-Michael Tebelak with words and music by Stephen Schwartz, is performed at the Garrick this week by the Momentum Performing Arts group, working in association with South Staffordshire College. It’s a musical about the Gospel according to St. Matthew and has been performed successfully since first curtain up on Broadway in 1971 where it broke new ground in its portrayal of dramatised teachings and Jesus’s last days. Vaudeville-styled, the show includes many musical genres including rock, R&B and ragtime and flows with rapidly-fired sequences of well-known parables. It’s a wacky interpretation of one of humanities greatest historical events and a compelling tale of friendship, loyalty, forgiveness and love.
Directed by award-winning director Craig Sanders, this fast-paced production is bursting with energy, fun and enthusiasm, delivered by a young cast who have clearly worked hard to achieve a colourful, all-singing-dancing delight.
The stand-out star is Jesus, played by Jordan Connelly, an actor of great charisma and ability, but this is truly a full cast effort with strong support roles by Eric Hastilow as John the Baptist/Judas, Jamie Jones as Jeffrey, Daniel Roberts as Lamar, Will Allman as Herb, Rachel Newton as Robin, Leah Yates as Joanne, Abbie Mead as Peggy, Sadie Derbyshire as Sonia and Hannah Walton as Gilmer. The show is supported by a lively and competent ensemble - Alex Rozwalka Attebery, Craig Pitt, Emma Percival, Gabba Jones, Jake Rochell, Sharna Hind Friend and Yasmin Lefevre.
Well designed choreography by Helen Thom proves that you can successfully pack big moves into a small space and the production team as a whole ensures that poignant scenes flow at the perfect pace, comedy scenes are executed with perfect timing and powerful scenes are performed with just the right amount of righteousness.
Featuring hit songs Day by Day, By My Side, Save The People and All For The Best the show is musically directed by Angharad Sanders on 1st keys assisted by Kyra Povey and Kyle Allen. Daniel Roberts plays confidently on acoustic guitar and ukulele, accompanied by fellow characters on bongos, blues harp and kazoo. Some beautiful harmonies and nice wide vocal ranges carry the songs along effortlessly and the show features some quirky lighting, a commendable set design and is well costumed throughout.
Friendship, camaraderie and celebration oozes from this cast and I congratulate them all not only on their individual performances but also for achieving a group personality that perfectly delivers this joyous and entertaining production. Amen.
Runs to 11th May
The politically incorrect puppets are back in town and this time they’re causing havoc at Lichfield Garrick. Lichfield Operatic Society’s latest production is the brilliantly witty Avenue Q and it’s not an easy show to pull off. Alongside acting, singing and dancing skills, you also need to possess a confident principal cast who are able to execute the intricate puppetry required. From the buzz of the opening Avenue Q Theme it was abundantly clear that we were going to be in safe hands with this company.
The storyline is a simple one, but the beauty of this show lies in its wonderful one liners and catchy score. Robert Lopez (who co-created The Book of Mormon, as well as wrote songs for Disney’s Frozen and Coco) and Jeff Marx’s music and lyrics, coupled with Jeff Witty’s book makes for a laugh-out-loud watch. Talent filled the stage as so many characters were brought to glorious life by this energetic company.
The protagonist of the story is almost 23-year old graduate Princeton, played sincerely by Anil Patel. Patel brings a joyous warmth to the character and his vocals impress through the night. Comic buffoon Brian is played adeptly by Adam Lacey with some delightfully funny moments and his pairing with Kate Pinell’s Christmas Eve is sublime. Pinell impresses in this role and her rendition of The More You Ruv Someone was a real highlight of the night.
Elsewhere, the duo of Rod and Nicky delivers laughs thick and fast. Patrick Jervis and Pete Beck have clearly crafted their performances expertly well in order to generate believable bickering chemistry between these two ‘puppet’ characters. Fine support came from Aaron Morris as Gary Coleman, with standout performances from Ben Foulds as Trekkie Monster and Lucy Follows as Kate Monster. Foulds is reprising this role, having played it previously at the Old Joint Stock and his performance is nothing short of perfection. Meanwhile, Follows brings star quality to the role of Kate Monster. There’s A Fine, Fine Line is the gritty ballad of the piece, ending the first act and Follows delivers it with absolute conviction.
There were some strong cameos from Zoe Albutt and Dan Anketell as the Bad Idea Bears, as well as a rather sultry Lucy Surtees (Lucy the Slut) and a haughty Sarah Mathias (Mrs T).
Shout out also to Nicky and Trekkie’s ‘other arms’ Vickie Beck, Lucy Bishop, Sarah Clark and Hannah Clark. Alongside the rest of the puppeteers, they dexterously gave these characters authentic personalities. There were a couple of missed lines but this is a very small observation and nothing that impacted on what was a highly commendable production.
Having watched this show a number of times, one of the most pleasing things to see is that LOS did not shy away from trying something a little bit different. Although the show does not ordinarily include a large ensemble, this group certainly made it work. Not only did it work, it was a triumph. The additional voices lifted the larger numbers and the presence of more people allowed ‘Avenue Q’ to feel more naturalistic. Particular highlights included Everybody’s A Little Bit Racist and Schadenfreude. Choreographer Charlotte Middleton managed to blend the ensemble in flawlessly, with some superb choreography that really enhanced the pace of the show. Not only that, it was clear that both Middleton and director James Pugh worked incredibly closely with the principal ‘puppet’ actors, to ensure their two characters blended into one. Completing the production team was Musical Director David Easto. The musical score soared through the auditorium, as the orchestra glowed under his direction.
This production was far from amateur, groups are constantly ‘upping’ their game and LOS have really created a masterpiece in Avenue Q. Slick, professional and uproariously funny, grab a ticket if you can, because this is amateur theatre at its finest.
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