The West Bromwich Youth Theatre’s annual concert has always been a highlight of many a local theatre goer’s calendar and this year is no exception. ‘Time to Shine’ lived up to its name; showcasing the very best musical, dramatic and dancing talent of the company.
The concert exploded into life with a colourful and dramatic rendition of ‘Barnum’. Thomas Rantell, welcomed us and invited us to join the entertainment; which included clowns, ribbon dancers and energetic choreography.
The variety of numbers shows a performing group who is not afraid to put their own spin on old classics: ‘The Rodger’s and Hammerstein medley’ with bounding energy and life, as well as a striking array of check shirts through to ‘City of Stars’, ‘Miss Saigon’ and ‘Stick it to the Man’. There were also a number of modern pop songs which provided a clear change of pace and tone. ‘I’m Still Standing’, ‘The Beach Boys Medley’ and popular numbers like ‘Price Tag’ all contributed to the varied programme.
You might be forgiven for looking at the programme and being concerned that old numbers like ‘A couple of Swells’ and ‘Do Re Me’ might have seen better days, however, in the hands of this company the dedication of the young people brought them to life again.
This year the company has taken another great leap in how it develops the young people in its care, by appointing from its ranks assistants to the production team. Tim Harding, the Musical Director worked with his assistant, Dan Hardy to create a beautifully crafted sound and Kathryn Hemingbrough, herself a new Choreographer to the team, worked alongside her dance captains: Beth Logan and Fiona Winning. The complex harmonies can be clearly heard, adding to the professionalism of each number and the choreography and characterisation combined to make each number a standout piece of entertainment.
I couldn’t possibly mention every solo, duet and small group number, nevertheless, each one had a memorable moment, some of which were very evocative. The audience was moved from humour to sensitivity and back again in a skilful and fluid way. One feature that I loved this year I shall dub ‘The Strictly effect’ – that of having a singer and an interpretive or lyrical dancer in combination. This effect helped to showcase the best singing and dancing talent and ensured that a good performance became a slick, polished one.
The example of this that I felt was mesmerising was a ballet based on the Evanescence song ‘Bring me to life’. Sung powerfully by Ben Hayfield, Will Foggin, Nick Myatt and Valentino Scattone produced a commanding and emotional dance.
I also have to mention Will’s rendition of Seymour in ‘Suddenly Seymour’ performed with Arabella Yardley as a piece of musical theatre I will remember for a very long time.
The combination of a very professional band, well-polished choreography and young performers who looked totally at home on the stage, made this the best concert I have seen this year.
Time To Shine is on at The Mill Theatre, Dormston School, Sedgley, with further performances at 2.30 and 7.30 on Sunday 6th May. I believe there are still tickets available, and this is highly recommended.
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