In the company of GMTG (Guild Musical Theatre Group) we were transported back to the 40s film noir era tonight within the walls of the Guild of Students at University of Birmingham.
City of Angels weaves two storylines together - the writer determined to turn his book into a screenplay and the screenplay itself. As characters entwine, the fallout is a musical with a rich jazz score - music which was superbly delivered by the talented band, under the musical director Geddy Stringer.
This show poses many a challenge, not least the fact that parts are set in black and white and others in colour. A task ably taken on by the lighting team. With the crossover of stories, these small lighting elements and the clever use of costumes made for a different and exciting piece of theatre.
Stine, the writer, was endearingly played by Cam Wilson. At times, his characterisation was reminiscent of Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors. Meanwhile, Stone (from the screenplay) was played with utter conviction by Jimmy Van Hear. Between these two talented gentlemen, Act 1 closed memorably in the number You're Nothing Without Me. Assured performances came from Charlie Harris as the slimy director Buddy Fidler and Tom Ling as Munoz; both garnered many a laugh throughout the night. Special mention to Ling for holding up that Spanish accent!
There was also strong support from the ladies, particularly Oolie/Donna played exceptionally well by Millie Harris. Her performance oozed the charisma of the 40s, with a highlight being You Can Always Count On Me as she transitioned between her ‘screenplay’ character and ‘real’ character. Combined with the vocals from Emily Anderson as Gabby, their charming duo What You Don't Know About Women proved popular with the audience.
Under the direction of Rebecca Maynard, GMTG have taken on a very difficult piece of theatre, but tackled it head on and clearly embraced all the challenges it threw at them. With a talented ensemble of singers delivering beautiful harmonies throughout, GMTG is a society to watch and appreciate.
Love Midlands Theatre
Sharing the latest theatre news and reviews around the Midlands.