Broadway Nights

Date 31st October 2015
Society Urmston Musical Theatre
Venue Urmston Leisure Centre
Type of Production Revue
Director Rita Taylor-Bentley
Musical Director Deborah Holmes
Choreographer Sally Wild

Report

Author: Kevin Proctor

This year, Urmston Musical Theatre revived the idea of treating us to a melange of favourite show tunes with ‘Broadway Nights’ - presenting, in a very traditional manor, mini-trailers from classic shows.  

Director, Rita Taylor-Bentley, had given this show an elegant approach (following suit from ‘A Night At The Musicals’ two years ago) as her cast were dressed to impress; the Gents in their DJ’s and the Ladies donned selections of prom dresses / evening wear for the most of the show. Some sections were costumed appropriately to the show they were paying tribute to with some supplied by the cast themselves (Mamma Mia) whilst others were made in-house (Barnum) all working to reflect the 'look' of the show they were celebrating.    

The stage was presented nicely with a false proscenium arch made up of marque lights and simple (but effective) screens along the back which, with the help of lighting, helped to accent moods while also adding splashes of colour where needed.

Bill Platt as our host for the evening held everything together with light humour and interesting facts about the upcoming sections and even a sparkly dinner jacket - a grand job!

I know this is a bugbear for so many directors, and I have no doubt that the cast would have been given this note on more than one occasion but it does make such a huge difference to any performance if you look happy while you’re doing it! I know you all enjoy doing this hobby so please show us that in your performances and SMILE!

In the past, societies have struggled to sell tickets for this concept of show as revues can appear to be quite vague in in what they offer and it can be a struggle to engage interest from a cast perspective too, but there was no evidence of either of those points here as both the cast and the audience were fruitful in numbers.

Highlights of the show for me were Daniel Mellor’s rendition of ‘Ol Man RIver’ from ‘Show Boat’ and Charlotte Booker performing ‘Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again’ from ‘Phantom’. I enjoyed the dancers performance of ‘One’ which looked slick and appropriately stylised and the ‘Can Can’ was just good fun!    

Deborah Holmes took on the role of Musical Director for this production, you can guarantee it’s the MD who has the most work to do with revues such as these as organising, arranging or even writing some parts for the band can be an arduous task. The previous musical compilation two years ago was staged with just three players, it was nice to see this had been expanded which certainly paid off!

This show treated us to a broad spectrum of titles, some of which are favourites of mine, including 42nd Street, Show Boat, Mamma Mia and Barnum to name a few.

Should the Society continue to offer more musical compilation shows, perhaps a fresh idea of presentation would be worthwhile – ‘UMT’ have a lot of skill to design and build which should be taken advantage of, we all know how the famous saying goes - “If you’ve got it…”