A Show With No Name

Date 27th November 2021
Society Alderley & Wilmslow Musical Theatre Company
Venue Woodford War Memorial Hall, Woodford
Type of Production Concert
Director Bradley Snelling
Musical Director Ed Nurse
Choreographer Vanessa Cockburn

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Author: Joe Clarke

After a long two-year hiatus, Alderley & Wilmslow Musical Theatre Company are back on stage this week with their concert/revue show, A Show With No Name. Directed by Bradley Snelling, this concert was brilliantly staged and entertained audiences throughout the run. Set in a thrust stage, this concert was staged very well so that wherever you were sitting in the audience, you were able to see the action. The song staging itself was also well done which meant that transitions into songs were seamless. This kept the ‘scene changes’ to a minimum too – thus helping the overall pace. The backstage help was particularly good too, holding the curtains open so singers could exit the stage safely etc. This production was very much a company piece, with every department working cohesively to aide the overall production. Well done to director Bradley Snelling and choreographer Vanessa Cockburn for their staging of the numbers. Whilst we didn’t have full out dance numbers, we certainly didn’t need it. Sometimes, less is more!

I loved the band! Having electronic equipment meant that they were not too loud in this small space. The band were sympathetic to the songs and played brilliantly throughout. I loved the fact that we could see the band, if we wanted to, and they were placed brilliantly on the stage. Well done to Musical Director, Ed Nurse and his team.

The lighting design was nothing short of brilliant! I adored the use of the gobo effects which help add layers to songs. I loved the use of the uplighters on the pillars and the coloured hanging lights which captured the audience and brought us into the action even further.

The quality of sound was great too. The cast may have gotten away with not having stage mics due to the room size and structure, however, the use of mics aided projection, articulation and storytelling through song.

Whilst it was nice when soloists used costume to convey character, it wasn’t necessarily needed. I loved the use of the company logo polo-shirts which gave a sense of ‘company’ and uniformity.

The concert revue itself was more of a hit than miss for me. Whilst I’m not a fan of the Karaoke style revue shows that don’t have an overarching theme or storyline, I have to say, this version of revue was more interesting than most, due to the fact that so many singers were great at acting through song and not breaking the fourth wall, thus staying in character. For me, the singers that did this were stronger and more entertaining than those who ‘sang a song’.

The songs that stood out for me were the whole company numbers ‘Skid Row’/’Suddenly Seymour’, ‘Seasons of Love’ & ‘You Will Be Found’ as they gave a real sense of togetherness and the whole company sounded brilliant together!

There are far too many stand out performances for me to mention in this review, however, some deserve a mention. Dave Lambert (Stars) showcased lovely tone, Liz Window, Alison Roberts, Elaine Thorburn and Gilly Thompson were entertaining in the Mamma Mia section, Niamh Carding displayed brilliant storytelling (Back to School) and Emma Swain showcased great vocals (No One Else). The two stand out songs for me in Act One, other than the company numbers, were Lilly Smith (Gimme Gimme) and Niamh Donnelly (Say The Word) who both had excellent vocals!

Act Two had more energy and pizzaz for me. There was more of an eclectic harmony of storytelling, and I felt that singers were more relaxed and more daring. Katy Thomason-Stewart’s version of When You’re Good to Mamma was brilliantly entertaining, Louise Colohan’s version of Get Out, Stay Out showcased her great vocals and storytelling and the Six number was hugely enthralling to watch and listen to – a treat for the eyes and ears! Again, the standout performance for me was Lilly Smith’s version of Burn from Hamilton.

I have to say, A&WMTC have had an influx of new members and they need to keep hold of them as there is an abundance of talent! The more mature members of the company were equally given their chance to shine in the spotlight and they took it! David Lambert (Sweet), Steve Shepard (outstanding vocal range) and Russel Caufield (those stockings and suspenders – dare I say more)!

This concert/revue had great production values and they helped add layers to each song, as well as enhancing the overall piece. As I mentioned, the songs when the whole company were on stage were brilliant and it showcased the talent that this society have (young and old).

I sincerely thank A&WMTC for their kind hospitality and wish them all the very best for future productions.