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Date 31st October 2012
Society Saddleworth Musical Society
Venue Saddleworth School
Type of Production Musical
Director Anita Stuttard
Musical Director Harry Butterworth
Choreographer Susan Roberts

Report

Author: Sharon Drummond

Before the curtains had even opened one couldn’t help but marvel at the beautifully side stage paintings of carousel horses which had been completed by Pat Butterworth. The opening scene in front of the tabs worked really well setting the story up and then immediately into the overture – The Carousel Waltz. Again the full set, props and costumes were absolutely beautiful. There were over 60 on stage for some scenes but so well directed was this show it never felt over crowded.

The Orchestra played the Rodgers & Hammerstein score to perfection, never drowning out the sound of the wonderful singers and harmonies they were performing.

The supporting roles of Star-keeper by Mike Conroy and Heavenly Friend by Colin Watt were really well portrayed by both actors. Lines were well delivered and the interaction with the remorseless Billy were well directed and acted.

Ellie Reynolds as Louise was performed beautifully. Her dance moves and lines looked lovely and her scenes with both Billy and Julie were very sensitive.

Mirriam Lawton did a fine job as Mrs Mullin playing the jealous ex boss of Billy with a real flair. Ian Ball as Jigger sounded great on “Blow High, Blow Low” and led Billy astray in style.

Alison Starrs looked and sounded the part of Nettie with her beautiful soprano voice on “June is Bustin’ Out All Over” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” didn’t just bring a tear to my eye but had me blubbing like a baby.

Abey Bradbury and Brent Andrews worked really well together as Carrie Pipperidge and Enoch Snow despite the age difference. Abey has a wonderful singing voice and sounded great on “Mister Snow” and “When the Children are Asleep” with Brent which blended their voices beautifully together. Both filled the roles with great comic timing too.

Deborah Thew filled the role of Julie Jordan with a naturalness that exuded from every pore. Her gorgeous singing voice and acting skills were fabulous in this role and the duets with Nettie on “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and If I Loved You” with Billy were definite high spots for me.

This show relies heavily on finding an enigmatic, arrogant, cocky but lovable lead with a great singing voice for the stretching numbers in this score to play Billy Bigelow. Martin Bradbury filled these boots with what looked and sounded like ease. His voice was stunning and sounded effortless on “If I Loved You” and the lengthy “Soliloquy”. This part with all the characters problems can sometimes be difficult to empathise with, but with Martin’s portrayal and Anita’s direction it was easy to will him to succeed.

The strength of voices and great acting from this cast gave the audience including me a wonderful evening’s entertainment with laughs and tears a plenty. I fully intend to invest in waterproof mascara for my next visit!