Back to Broadway
1st October 2011
Burgess Hall, St Ives
Type of Production
Author: Don McKay
A well presented Front of House team, lead by Dick Forway, welcomed us and showed us to our seats in the cabaret style auditorium. A simple stage by Gary Arthur and Hugh Phillips, with just a few props, chairs tables etc. The lovely star cloth could have been tidied up at the track and the stage left house curtain, that was tied back, let in light from the wing and exposed the fire extinguisher, which was on show throughout and quite distracting. However the lighting by Chris Glenton and Matt Watson was well done, subtle when needed and a touch of Las Vegas when it suited the songs. Unfortunately some of the soloist had trouble finding the fixed overhead spot. Sound by Scott Andrews would have been perfect, had it not been for the late switching on of a handheld in act 2.
This variety show was a combined effort by SIMADS, the Masterson Irish Dancers, Riverside Theatre Company, AJS Dance Academy and the CIFA Majorettes, who all performed well, but for the purposes of this review I will concentrate on the SIMADS performance.
Young Luke Wilson was our host for the evening, and a very competent one he was too.
The show was opened in great fashion by the old Classic “I Wonder Why “, sung with style and confidence. Most notable numbers in Act 1 were, “ Out Here On My Own “, “ Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again “, “ Don’t Rain On My Parade “ and a great comically characterised song called “Sleeping on our own “, shame about the missing words in the middle, but nicely recovered by all three ladies... The Act closed with three songs from “ My Fair Lady “ including a beautiful rendition of “ I Could Have Danced All Night “, a very rousing “ With a Little Bit of Luck “ and a very energetic “ I’m Getting Married in the Morning “ that had us all singing along.
Act 2 maintained the standard very well, with one of the best versions of “Cell Block Tango “ I have ever seen. “ Dance 10 Looks 3 “, was very well sung and performed. “ Well Did You Ever “ was an excellent tribute to Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. The very funny “Seventeen“ was sung and acted by all concerned with good comic timing. We ended the night with the beautifully sung “Unexpected Song “ and a Medley of songs from the emotional rollercoaster that is “ Blood brothers “.
June’s direction was well constructed for a variety show. It’s always difficult to know what to do when there is no actual story to be told, but June and the cast gave us a very enjoyable taste of Broadway.
Musical Direction by Keith Oliver was very good, and the band most complimentary. I am not sure why they were substituted for backing tracks in some numbers, because they were more than capable. Choreography by Amanda Coulthurst, Nicola Hatton and Eve Redgrave, was imaginative and made good use of the stage in the chorus numbers.
All in all, a very enjoyable evening.