All Together Now!

Date 13th November 2021
Society Dryburn Theatrical Workshop
Venue Chester-le-Street Community Centre
Type of Production Concert
Director Michelle Coulson
Musical Director Luke McGarey


Author: Helen Abraham

I had the great pleasure of standing in for a fellow rep at Dryburn Theatrical Workshop’s convert “All Together Now” one of MTI’s global events celebrating local theatre.  MTI as I understand it put the programme together with various for local groups and had obtained permissions for various songs to be performed from some of their rights holders.  All had to be performed over the same weekend, with a selection of songs and format prescribed by MTI.

Dryburn didn’t just produce a concert however, they well and truly celebrated their return to the stage!  The joy on their faces throughout was fab to watch and the glamour was present from the start.  All were immaculately presented welcoming back their audiences with a gusto and their energy was infectious.

Superbly lit and with sound provided immaculately by Martin Warden from Hi-Lights who can always be relied upon for a slick solid technical assistance no matter what the production, we were introduced to the evening aptly with “Be Our Guest” led by Joe Coulson, Anne Holt and a very animated Adam Donald.  The whole company were dressed in black tie dinner wear with personalised embossed towels which were a lovely touch.  The choreography was extremely effective – well done.

This was then followed by the prescribed “Welcome” from Chairman Lee Passmoor followed by “Matchmaker sung beautifully by Claire Archer, Kirsty May and Frances Wood.  I enjoyed “Meadowlark” sung by Erin Boyle, not a show I’m familiar with at all.  “Gimmie Gimmie” was then performed by Emma Scott, an absolute powerhouse of a song from one of my favourite shows which definitely did not disappoint.  “Spread the Love” then followed with the entire company, very lively and had all the audience tapping their toes, though I think it was a different arrangement to the one I’m familiar with.  Loved it!

We then had the prescribed speech reflecting on 2020 where Dryburn introduced us to their video put together digitally which was fantastic and a real testimony to their community spirit.

We then came to “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” which director Michelle Coulson created superb and moving imagery reflecting the weekends Remembrance Services perfectly.  Musical Director Luke McGarey made a beautiful male ensemble arrangement, all bearing their poppies from what is usually a solo number, beautifully delivered by the male ensemble creating a stunning moving piece.  Absolutely stunning and the number everyone was talking about throughout the interval.

The first act closed with “The Human Heart” led be Frances Wood whose voice is always consistently beautiful to listen to and the ensemble delivered this number in a controlled soft delivery which was absolutely wonderful.

Julie Duncan brought us back into Act 2 with “Somewhere That’s Green” which was excellent in its delivery, really well done Julie followed by “Seize the Day” which was a lovely arrangement with some fabulous effective choreography I really enjoyed.  Joe Coulson and Stephen Shield can always be relied on to deliver solid performances and they did not disappoint.  

We then had a video of what Theatre is provided for by MTI which was indeed reflective of what theatre means to us all.  That safe place of belonging where we can just enjoy loving our passion for the stage, whether off stage or on.

We then went into “When I Grow Up” with the entire ensemble with a beautiful ballet interlude from Victoria Clark, followed by “Take a Chance on me” by Abbey Rutherford and Pete Johnson delivered in a comedic fashion making excellent use of humour which fitted perfectly, well done.

I was apprehensive when I saw “Astonishing” on the playbill as it’s a big song and a tough one to deliver but I needn’t have worried as Katherine Donald was controlled, note perfect and did not disappoint.  She nailed it!

“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” was an absolute delight, such intricate and really difficult choreography with a delightful vocal led by Claire Archer, Emma Scott, Rebecca Scott and Phil Martin with the full ensemble.

Lee Passmoor again led the prescribed Thank You speech followed by an amazing acoustic version of “Good Riddance” by Peter Lynn, Phil Martin, Erin Boyle and Luke McGarey which I really did enjoy a lot.  Peter’s voice especially shone through in this number although all four did a superb job.  Really enjoyable relaxed number which seemed very intimate and sincere.

The concert was closed with “Seasons of Love” which was absolutely excellent with outstanding solos from Julie Duncan, Peter Lynn and Frances Wood.

There was colour, glamour, sincerity, talent and costume changes making this a most enjoyable evening from Dryburn Theatrical Workshop.  Thank you.