|Date||8th November 2019|
|Society||Chelmsford Young Generation Amateur Musical Society|
|Venue||The Civic Theatre Chelmsford|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Director||Jeremy Tustin Assistant Director Jill Burtenshaw|
|Musical Director||Bryan Cass|
Author: Christine Davidson
It’s not hard to see why Chelmsford Young Generation are NODA winners. They always seem to produce great shows and this one is no exception. Based on a novel written by Bradford Ropes, it was an Academy Award winning Warner Brothers film starring Warner Baxter and Ginger Rogers. Recently selling out to audiences in the West End this endearing age old classic brings a huge young cast onto the stage directed by Jeremy Tustin with Jill Burtenshaw as his Assistant Director.
It tells the story of Peggy Sawyer who joins the cast of Pretty Lady and takes the lead when the leading lady falls and breaks her ankle at the last minute. She rescues the show and saves the jobs of all her friends in the company becoming the star she was meant to be.
The huge young cast onstage had obviously worked extremely hard to learn all the choreography and dance moves which are fundamental to the show and the choreography was as usual superb. All the routines were excellently impressive, with some wonderful synchronised tap dancing sequences, of a very high standard, from all of them.
Georgia Clements as Peggy Sawyer was an utter delight. Bubbly and very talented, she showed innocence and vulnerability that the character should have she was excellently cast. Georgia is a great dancer with a lovely singing voice; she was really entertaining to watch.
Julian Marsh (Finley Walton), showed huge confidence and stage presence, he kept his first rate American accent going throughout. Julian gave an excellent portrayal of the role; I hope to see him again on stage soon.
Maggie Jones and Bert Barry (Millie Parsons and Aleks Gulliver) were simply brilliant; both were such fun, a joy to watch. Millie has such incredible stage presence and is a truly comedic actress, as well as having a superb singing voice. I remember seeing her play Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables, thinking then that she really does have what it takes to be a great character, comedy actress, this role certainly suited her down to the ground. Aleks was her perfect foil. Well done both of you.
Charlie Toland showed his experience on stage as Billy Lawler, the juvenile lead. with some great numbers to sing on stage. While sometimes his voice seemed a little strained he was always completely charming and charismatic in his role.
Noah Miller was Andy Lee the dance captain, boy can he dance! I loved the opening sequence which he commanded really well.
Kat Maahs as Anytime Annie was a delight as were the girls Izzy Murphy, Izzy Churches, Becki Baldock, Katie Ince, Lauren Wright in their respective roles.
Sean Lomas as Pat Denning was the love interest to Dorothy Brock, bringing some fine vulnerability into the role. There were also some good cameo roles from Matt Wickham as Abner Dillon, Matt Hedges as Oscar and Finley Gooch as Mac.
But for me the accolades of the evening go to Liv Khattar as Dorothy Brock. Wow this young lady can dance, sing, act and looks like a movie star. I have seen her now in many productions; she just gets better and better. I felt she epitomised the role, was just outstanding and gave an excellent portrayal on stage.
The professional set was stunning, the backstage crew moved it around with ease and speed under the direction of Stage Manager Maggie Stanton.
Costumes, wigs and makeup were excellent although I did feel a little uncomfortable seeing the little ones dressed up to look like adults with the wigs. Maybe letting the much younger ones having their own hair might have worked better.
Bryan Cass and his orchestra were again masterful giving us a very professional feel to the music. Bryan should be commended for his dedication to the many productions that he is involved in.
Lighting was fine although I did not think that the shadow sequence worked particularly well. Props were excellent as was Sound.
Thanks to Jimmy Hooper who looked after us so well during the show. This was an excellent evening’s entertainment and enjoyed a standing ovation by the audience. Congratulations to all.