The music and lyrics of Frank Loesser were brought ably and brightly to life by Solihull On Stage in their brisk and pacey production of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying at The Core Theatre, Solihull.
With a small but meticulously drilled cast, this slick performance really does bear testimony to the phrase 'quality not quantity'. With a cast of just 23, we were quickly transported into the world of J. Pierrpont Finch, whose rise from window washer to Chairman of the Board of the famous World Wide Wicket Company is charted in this quirky story. Finch, played with supreme authority by Simon Chinery, ducks, dives and wheedles his way to the very top of the company in a very short space of time. Chinery's strong vocals, accomplished acting and excellent comic timing really brought the character of this cheeky chappie to life, and his rise to the top, whilst falling in love with Rosemary Pilkington, (beautifully portrayed and sung by Jess Shannon), was delivered with conviction due to the high quality of the accompanying leads and well rehearsed chorus.
The set was simple and added an effective backdrop to the production; the music, pitched at absolutely the correct volume and tempo throughout, was conducted with perfection by Mel 'O' Donnell, and the choreography by Sarah Golby, which was simple and energetic, was the icing on the cake of what was an extremely entertaining and convincing show.
In a production with so much to praise, it would be wrong not to mention the precise and tight harmonies in Been A Long Day and I Believe In You, and the wonderful characterisation of Dennis Hoccom as the head of the mailroom in The Company Way. The chorus singing was exceptionally strong throughout, with pleasant harmony singing and good diction at all times.
In such a strong line up of lead roles, it seems unfair to refer to specific performers, but special mentions must go to Nicki Willetts as the dizzy gold digger Hedy La Rue and Nicky Ginns as the slightly down trodden Smitty, who both shone in an already sparkling line up. The male cast were equal to the task, with Carl Hemming as J.B.Biggley, Keith Parry as Bud Frump, Adam Scott as Bratt, Sam Turner as Gatch and Matthew Bennett as Jenkins all bringing added value to the overall quality of the lead line up.
A massive congratulatory shout must go to the Director, Peter Haden, for the high standard of this production, and who even made it on stage late on in the show as the outgoing Chairman of the Board (and the ultimate winner of the hand of the opportunist Miss La Rue).
The only down side to this show were the empty seats in the auditorium. So if you want a real lift during these last cold days of April, then get yourselves along to The Core Theatre, grab yourselves a ticket, and sit back and be entertained by this highly talented bunch of people.
You won't be disappointed.
Love Midlands Theatre
Sharing the latest theatre news and reviews around the Midlands.