A Song in Time

Date 20th February 2020
Society Hayling Musical Society
Venue Hayling Island Community Centre
Type of Production Compilation
Director Zoe Fisher
Musical Director Tom Davison
Choreographer Zoe Fisher

Report

Author: Mark Donalds

A huge welcome back to NODA for Hayling Musical Society and what a stonkingly good show to start with! I always write down my immediate reactions to a show as soon as I get home and I can do no better than to repeat them here: WOW! Tremendous, amazing, energetic, enthusiastic, slick, precise. This show was all that and much, much more.

Written by Zoe Fisher and her daughter Megan and directed by Zoe, this was no ordinary compilation show. HMS have recently relaunched themselves and have attracted a lot of new members. They are also capitalising on the extraordinary talents of their youth sections, the Little Stars and the YoungStars, and this show was put together to showcase the whole society’s talents and boy did it do that!

Taking as its theme a mother reading bedtime stories to her young daughter, Zoe has found, along with some favourites, a huge number of different and unusual songs from shows dating (in their stories) back to before Christ and progressing right up to the present day.

A simple black stage (atmospherically lit by Lee Stoddart) sufficed throughout, with props and bits of set magically appearing and disappearing when required and the projected image of a book with turning pages to tell us what was coming next, along with an apposite phrase from the show featured. Costumes too were kept simple but enough to create the right atmosphere for each number. This all meant that the show could proceed at a cracking pace and it was all over far too quickly!

This was a true ensemble piece – almost every number featured some, or all of the huge cast accompanying the soloists. Every person on stage was equally vital to the success of each song. Each piece was imaginatively staged and choreographed, making use of the entire hall, and executed so precisely by the cast, I dread to think how many hours you must have spent in rehearsals, but it has really paid off! Singing too – both choral and solo – was to the highest standard, a credit to your new MD, Tom Davison.

We mustn’t forget the aptly named Little Stars (some as young as five) and the YoungStars, who have built their own formidable reputation over the last couple of years. They featured in their own numbers and more than held their own when mixed in with the adults, displaying huge confidence and great singing and dancing ability. Every single one was totally engaged in what they were doing and looking like they were having the time of their lives. If emerging talent like this can be encouraged into the adult group, you have a very bright future ahead.

The excellent ten-piece band, directed by Tom Davison, produced a great sound. I know the acoustics of the hall aren’t good, but the sound balance didn’t seem quite right on the first night, and the band tended to overwhelm even some of the strongest singers at times. This is a minor gripe and in no way spoilt my enjoyment of the evening.

A well-deserved standing ovation by the packed audience left us in no doubt that Hayling Musical Society is most definitely a force to be reckoned with. Zoe Fisher, why have you been depriving us of your huge talent for direction and choreography for so long? I’m waiting with bated breath to see what you all do next!