42nd Street

Date 12th May 2016
Society Riverside Musical Theatre Company
Venue Park View Theatre, Chester-le-street
Type of Production Musical
Director Sheila Rouse
Musical Director Colin Galley
Choreographer Sheila Rouse


Author: Michelle Coulson

For their 40th anniversary, Riverside MTC chose to celebrate with the entire company tapping us into 42nd Street, the backstage story of dancer Peggy Sawyer who lands on Broadway looking for a big break and is cast in Julian Marsh’s new musical. The entire cast were enthusiastic and well-rehearsed and put a great deal of effort into the dance numbers, the tap dancing throughout the show was particularly strong.

Katie Howes as Dorothy Brock played the role perfectly delivering both the humour and the pathos of her character together with great vocals; Katie also looked stunning with all of her outfits making her look every inch the Broadway star. As Peggy Sawyer, Catherine Rouse was able to showcase her excellent tapping skills and got the vulnerability of the role just right. Lawrence Chadwick as Julian Marsh gave a strong performance of the brash impresario and James Forster as Billy Lawler, the dashing juvenile lead, very capably danced and sang his way through the show.

Julie J Laws (Maggie Jones), Michael Beckford (Bert Barry), Peter Johnson (Pat Denning) and Graham Alex (Andy Lee) gave strong support throughout and worked well to bring out the humour in their respective roles. There was also good support from Peggy’s friends played by Catherine Hillam, Kirsty Neasham, Jenn Tweddle, Penny Rouse, Angela Mavin and Jessica Edmonston, and who also, together with the other dancers, performed some excellent tap routines.

The staging was minimalist, and perhaps the “Dames” number would have benefitted from a touch more glitz, but it worked adequately and the small orchestra coped amply with such a big score. It was also notable that a great deal of effort had gone into sourcing suitable costumes for the production.

The enjoyment and camaraderie of the cast was tangible and the audience were suitable entertained by this feel good musical.

Congratulations on your 40th anniversary Riverside and best wishes for many more years of performance!