Date 27th February 2020
Society Clifton Academy of Dance, Drama and Music
Venue Lowther Pavilion, Lytham
Type of Production Musical
Director Joe Appleton
Choral Director Joe Appleton
Choreographer Amy Appleton & Sarah Cosgrove


Author: Chris Higgins

Tonight’s trip to Lowther Pavillion Theatre, Lytham was for The Sound of Musical Theatre’s production of Chicago.  This talented group of young performers has a strong local reputation for polished performances and for tackling big titles.  I was confident that this show would give the audience a high level of performance with some strong choreography and I wasn’t let down.  Sarah Cosgrove and Amy Appleton are accomplished choreographers and the movement in this production was well suited to the cast with some very strong numbers, namely “The Cell Block Tango”, which was every bit as good as the touring shows I’ve seen - good job.  The scenery on stage was simple but made for some slick scene changes and creative use of lighting.  Joe Appleton (Director / Choral Director) had worked hard with the cast on the characters, which are mature for a youth company, however he did a great job of injecting just enough sass! 

The tech team for this show outdid themselves! Mark Deacon as lighting designer and operator designed a truly professional light show and it was expertly controlled.  The strong lighting was linked with a fantastic sound design from the very popular Stuart Shawcross, making the watching of this show a pleasure.

The cast of young performers, as a whole, really did deliver a strong group performance with a great cast dynamic.  There were obviously some stand out performances that need mentioning when it comes to the leading roles.  Catherine McGinty as Roxie Hart was performing in her first leading role with this group and with her strong vocal performance and faultless character acting, I’m sure we’ll be seeing plenty more lead roles in the future.  Millie Quine, a local favourite leading youth actress, gave a bold and professional level performance as the murderess Velma Kelly.  As always, her vocals were on point and her confident acting gave an engaging performance - well done.  The smooth, silver tongued lawyer Billy Flynn was performed by Nick Godfrey and his energetic and acrobatic performance was a good balance to the 2 female leads.  Well done Nick, your performance was charming and accomplished.  I was delighted to see Conor James as the practically invisible husband of Roxie, Amos Hart.  His touching performance of “Mr Cellophane” went down really well with the audience - good job.  The big role of Matron ‘Mama’ Morton was very well presented by Joanna Challenger.  Her performance as ‘Mama’ to the inmates was excellent.  Strong vocals and a big character was delivered to a high standard and another crowd favourite.  The positive journalism of Mary Sunshine was delightfully played by Jess Banks, she was lovable and engaging to watch.  The adulteress furniture salesman Fred Casely was played by Sam Hothersall and his performance as the ill fated adulterer, especially the physicality in the number “Reached For The Gun”, was great.

I’d just like to mention the performance of “The Cell Block Tango” once more and highlight some very impressive performances both vocally and in movement by Catherine McGinty (Roxie Hart), Millie Quine (Velme Kelly), Rhiannon Willoughby (Liz - Pop), Megan Hill (Annie - Six), Erin James (June - Squish), Bethan Palmer (Hunyak - Uh Uh) and Alexandria Bury (Mona - Lipschitz).  This number set the audience on fire with them delivering a lengthy applause and cheers - which was very well deserved. 

This was a slick performance of a big title and I congratulate the team at The Sound of Musical Theatre on another top quality and successful show.  Keep it up guys and I look forward to the next offering!