|Date||6th July 2019|
|Society||Hereford Musical Theatre Company|
|Venue||The Tomkin Theatre|
|Type of Production||Concert|
|Director||Jo-Anna Grove and Olle Grove|
|Musical Director||Jenni Axtell|
|Producer||Nicky Willett and Sarah Phillips (Youth)|
Author: Louise Hickey
HMTC went down a new road by introducing some of the musicals currently appearing in the West End and this was a learning curve for the audience who had maybe not heard some of the songs before.
The opening was ‘Hello’ from the Book of Mormon and it grabbed the audience with its vivacity and verve and gave the promise of an exciting programme. The next number ‘Songs’ from Fame was greatly enhanced by the Youth section singing with pure delight at the tops of their voices. Meg, a Youth Section member, gave a confident song and dance routine to ‘When I get my Name in Lights’.
The next section of four songs from Everybody’s talking about Jamie touched several emotions from light to sombre and Sarah and Thomas certainly pulled on the heart strings whilst Richard led Lewis, Steve and Olle in a hilarious rendition of ‘The Legend of Loco Chanelle and the Blood Red Dress. Lewis’s antics certainly raised a laugh and he seemed to be having far too much fun. This was swiftly followed by a raunchy version of ‘Steam Heat’ from Pyjama Game performed by the adult Chorus.
Olle and Lewis came back with ‘You and Me’ from the Book of Mormon which again delighted the audience, as did Richard with ‘You’ll be Back’ from Hamilton and even got them to join in. Tracy did a good job of ‘It must be Love’ from Our House and the Youth Section relished ‘Baggy Trousers’.
The Barnum section was rousing with solo input from Sarah, Olle and Lewis and the Youth section did a signed version of ‘Happy Talk’ from South Pacific which was tremendous. Steve’s solo ‘Stars’ was dramatic with the right emphasis on the phrasing. Charlotte’s ‘Popular’ from Wicked was simply brilliant. The finale of the first half was from Mary Poppins and the youth section were in their element, it was lovely.
The second half started with a trip down memory lane with songs from The Desert Song and Man of La Mancha and then veered into Jersey Boys with Sarah Q, Sarah R and Trudy performing ‘My Boyfriend’s Back’ which pleased the older audience participants’. Steve sang ‘Can’t take my eyes off you’ with a couple of random moments when some of the cast and backstage crew (in little attire) came on for the chorus and then went off again. I’m sure this was supposed to mean something…
Bethan with ‘Maybe this Time’ from Caberet and Jo-Anna with ‘Nobody does it like me’ from Seesaw did them justice but Chloe was excellent with ‘the Greatest Star’ from Funny Girl. The section from Dear Evan Hanson started with a lively number ‘Sincerely Me’ from Olle, Lewis and Riley then Donna with ‘So Big, so Small’ which really suited her voice then Sophie and Trudy’s Found/Tonight which was beautiful finishing with Olle singing ‘For Forever’ which again was lovely but it was such a shame that three songs were a touch on the sombre side. This was followed by Samantha beautifully singing ‘A New Life’ from Jekyll and Hyde giving just the right power into the song to bring out the emotions.
It was nice to be uplifted again with ‘Half a Sixpence from the musical sung competently by Chloe and Lewis then ‘One’ from A Chorus Line from the full cast culminating with ‘Light at the End of the Tunnel’ from Starlight Express led by Sophie which made a really good finale to a most enjoyable show.
The hard work of the MD Jenni Axtel was rewarded by the success of the evening; her accomplished band complimented the singers and Jenni’s constant support to the cast was evident, even from the back! She should be (and quite rightly so) very proud of the concert. Tackling new songs in a limited time must be very stressful but Jenni achieved it.
I must mention that the lighting of this show was, as always, very good and although the stage was fairly stark, with the addition of some staging used for height, was totally enhanced by the clever lighting. I particularly enjoyed the glitter ball effect. Samantha’s choreography suited the numbers perfectly and there was something for everyone. The sound was excellent, as I was seated at the very back of the hall and could hear everything.