Thoroughly Modern Millie opened on Broadway in 2002 and won a total of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. This comes as no surprise when you consider what a fast-paced, lively show it is! Kidderminster Operatic and Dramatic Society (KODS) have certainly proved that it has lost none of its sparkle with a colourful, slick and up-beat version of the show.
Attiye Partridge (Millie Dillmount) shines in the title role with an expressive face and confident, assured vocals. Her energy and characterisation remain constant throughout the performance and she copes well with some demanding physical comedy! Ryan Donnell (Jimmy Smith) has an excellent voice and performs some of the most poignant songs in the show such as What Do I Need with Love and I Turned the Corner.
There are some strong performances from Emily Preece (Dorothy Brown) and Tom Paine (Trevor Graydon). In fact, the Falling in Love reprise in Act 2, when all four principal characters sang together, was a real highlight and demonstrated their excellent vocal skills.
Jill Parmenter (Mrs Meers) is clearly no stranger to the stage and came alive in her comedy number Muqin, alongside Chris Paine (Ching Ho) and Tom Farley (Bun Foo). I would personally have liked her to be even more evil at times to enhance the darker side of the show.
Despite some technical hitches during the performance, the show was fast-paced and set changes were done quickly, although not so quietly! The large company was well-drilled and there was some excellent choreography (Hannah Kearns), utilising the whole cast and using the limited stage space effectively.
Under the baton of Chris Passey, the band were excellent although it is such a shame that the space does not allow them to be seen and heard without the aid of amplification. Chris has clearly worked extremely hard to ensure that, even without a visible conductor, the cast never missed a single musical cue!
I would have liked some of the dialogue to have been slowed down slightly so we could have picked up on more of the comic lines, but this is only a minor point as a lot of the comedy was brought out well by the Director (Pat Scully).
Overall, colourful costumes, a simple but well-designed set with the use of projection and an extremely enthusiastic company made for an excellent evening’s entertainment.
Thoroughly Modern Millie runs at The Rose Theatre, Kidderminster until Saturday, 17th March.
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