|Date||15th May 2015|
|Society||Stevenage Lytton Players|
|Venue||Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage|
|Type of Production||musical|
|Musical Director||Derek Blyth|
Author: Vicki Avery
A good start to this show with the “Carousel” horses on trucks rather than on the usual carousel ride we are used to seeing, and this set the scene for a show which for the most part had a good pace and made effective use of the minimalist scenery available to them.
The two leading girls of Julie and Carrie were played well by Sharon Curtis and Richelle Brundle respectively, both able to deliver their songs and also act out their scenes with ease. There was an obvious difference between the two characters which was picked up on right from the moment they came on stage and I liked the variables in height, colouring and vocal timbre. A well matched pair.
Jaysica Marvell gave a commendable performance as Mrs. Mullins but I am not sure if it was the costume or lack of confidence but a times the character did not ring true for me.
The part of Nettie Fowler, usually played as a sort of mother of the show, had a different twist on the characterization and here we had a formidable woman, who was used to being in charge and was comfortable not having a man about the place. I enjoyed this refreshing interpretation and I think it worked well. Allie Neal delivered her lines expertly and also gave a very personal, almost intimate rendition of “You’ll never walk Alone”. A risk from the norm’ but for me it worked.
Ross Edwards gave a good performance as Enoch Snow and was able to get over the sort of mildly pompous personality called for in this part, Tom Beirne played Jigger convincingly and the moments when he was not delivering lines he remained totally in character. There was a menace about him which confirmed the sinister character we have come to know, He did a good job of the “Blow High, Blow Low” number with the men’s chorus.
This show rests heavily on a good leading man playing the part of Billy Bigelow, and I have to say Luke Crouch gave this a very good shot, his interpretation of the “Soliloquy” was just about perfect and he was able to deliver all the different emotions required for this complex part. Musically, a strong developing voice but phrasing and at times weak breath control, compromised some of the longer notes, never the less definitely someone to watch in the future.
The ballet with the “Carousel Ladies” was somewhat limited. It is never easy when one is trying to use a full stage with only a small group of dancers and it may have been slightly better visually if more of the chorus ladies had been placed statuesque to give the impression of more bodies.
Louise and Enoch Jnr. Karina Redmond and Aaron Govey respectively, danced well together and dialogue was clear.
The ensemble made a great sound and were obviously well rehearsed. “Clambake” was lively and “June Is Busting” allowed some voices to be featured.
The orchestra under the baton of Derek Blyth blended beautifully and only once did I sense the underscoring of the dialogue a little on the loud side.
Staging was good and lighting very well designed.
Costumes and hair complemented the period and sound rightly placed.
At times the pace was a little slow and cues could have been tighter but all in all a good show and full of enjoyment for the audience.
Thank you for your generous hospitality