Carousel

Date 30th October 2014
Society The Burton Musical Theatre Company
Venue De Ferrers Academy, Burton-On-Trent
Type of Production Musical
Director Steven Foster
Musical Director David Blackwell
Choreographer Helena Stone

Report

Author: Liz Talbot on behalf of Rachel Millar

A visit to a high school in Burton for a musical production may fill some enthusiastic theatre goers with apprehension, expecting perhaps a ‘school-like’ production. However, on attending Burton Operatic Society’s production of Carousel, this was far from the case. A professional size orchestra, quality sound, thoughtfully designed set and costumes and a commendable portrayal of this classic musical proved a great night out.

As a musical director in the ‘Business’ it’s easy to sit and focus primarily on the musical content of a show, however I firstly would like to congratulate the set building team for the wonderful construction of the carousel in the Prologue. What a fabulous idea those horses were! The company was used extremely well during this opening, setting the scene and telling a ‘story within a story’. Some lovely characterisations from ensemble members are to be noted as they brought all the fun of the fair to life!

Strong performances were given by the two female leads Christina Bailey and Lindsey Biddle who were vocally strong and showed a real contrast to each other in character. Much praise must also be given to Lee Smith, as Billy, who performed the notorious soliloquy with ease, gusto and sensitivity. Lee worked tirelessly throughout the piece to portray the complex character. From where I was sitting one could have been mistaken for thinking it was a young John Barrowman on the stage! Cameo roles of Jigger, Mr. Snow, Nettie and Mrs. Mullins were performed with confidence. Jigger was suitably Mr. Nasty and Mr. Snow, as the quirky husband to be, had a lovely operatic voice.

Alongside the principal characters were a host of supporting cast, taking minor and company roles, without whom, no show is possible. I would particularly like to mention Laura Hodder who I noticed time and time again recognising the importance of interacting and involvement even when stood as a crowd in the background. Credit must also be given to Helena Stone as Louise. Clearly a competent dancer who worked hard to bring life and emotion to what is sometimes a long and tiresome ballet!

The use of set was adequate for the limited stage and facilities, although I did smile at the line “There’s not a cloud in the sky” when at the back of the stage we were faced with a beautifully painted cloth of clouds!

Well done on a lovely portrayal of this R and H classic. I look forward to another possible visit to see how you tackle Sunset Boulevard.