Marking their 50th year as a musical society, Tamworth Arts Club continue their year of celebrations with a concert featuring songs from the popular classic and contemporary musicals. The Sound of Musicals Showtime features a good selection of well-known numbers from golden era musicals such as Singin’ In The Rain and Oliver! set alongside lesser known hits from more recent shows such as Avenue Q, Shrek and Matilda. The programme offers something to suit all tastes and ages in the opening night audience.
The staging was simple but effective throughout, with a split level set put to good use to vary blocking for both chorus and solo numbers. The choreography for the ensemble numbers was well-executed, with some particularly effective touches in the Joseph and Mamma Mia sections.
The production showcased the range of talent in the company well, providing opportunities for many of the adult and youth members to shine in solo, duet and group numbers. Perhaps it was due to opening night nerves, but the production began rather tentatively and lacked energy in the early numbers. All worries of this were set aside as the production progressed however and the later pieces had a lot more energy once the cast had relaxed. There were a few glitches with microphones and amplification which left some of the early numbers being overshadowed by the band but overall the production team (Jenny Barlow Jennings, Natasha Beckett, Sue Arthur and Alex Priestley) should be commended for creating such a smooth running and varied production.
There were a number of strong solo performances throughout the evening; particularly from Nikki Downs, Stacey Ward and Connor Brooks who all handled their demanding songs with just the right level of emotion. Yet, it was the performances from the youth members of the cast who really stole the show with strong ensemble work particularly evident in the Annie and Matilda sequences, while Maisie Chatfield, Caitlyn Jennings and Taylor Hill all impressed in their solo songs, both with their vocal ability and their characterisation. Without a doubt, the performance of the night award has to be attributed to Mia Scutt for her rendition of Quiet from Matilda: a challenging song for any young singer that was handled with great skill and maturity.
Playing predominantly to a family audience of parents, siblings, children and fellow TAC members, there was a palpable warmth from the audience towards the performances, but the true heart of this production is in the blending of adult and youth companies onstage; highlighting the talent inherent within the current company and giving the audience an exciting taster of the potential talent coming up through the ranks ready for future productions.
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