City of Angels

Date 15th October 2015
Society Stevenage Lytton Players
Venue The Lytton Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Richard Absalom
Musical Director Mike Payne
Choreographer Rebecca Yenney

Report

Author: Vicki Avery

Richard Absalom assembled a strong cast to perform this show with roots in ‘Film Noir’ and instead of filling the stage with superfluous trappings of scenery and props, stripped the extras back to the absolute minimum and let the audience do the work. For me it worked.

The feel of 1940s was well maintained in action and in costume.

The harmony singing from the Angel City 8 (Louise Airey, Slava Budin-Jones, Sharon Curtis, Lesley Humphreys, Justine Mileusnic, Wendy Wartnaby, Rebecca White and Imelda Wilks) was well executed and for the most part linked the scenes together convincingly.

As Stone, the private investigator, Stephen Deaville was powerful in style, acting and vocally, with excellent interactions with the author, his wives (real and reel) and his secretary.

As the author Stine, frustrated in his efforts to make an adaptation of the book into film, Clive Dancey was well cast and his interactions with secretary, wife, film director all very credible, enhancing the story line. We could feel for the tensions and problems in his life.

In the double role of Donna and Oolie the secretary, Michelle Airey had the personality and voice to match both her male employers in her efforts to organise their lives.

The femme fatale Carla/Alaura played by Richelle Brundle, had style and panache and, again, the vocals were good.

Allie Neal as Gabby and Bobbie (Stone’s wife and ex-wife) gave a master-class in the jazz vernacular style vocals with emotion and powerful rendition plus the acting skills expected from her performance pedigree.

In the masterly portrayal of magnate and film producer, Irwin S. Irving, Ross Edwards found his role of power both in actions and in the vocals, certainly a performance to relish and admire.

The slightly smaller roles, which were all double-cast roles for ‘real and reel’, were well cast and given over with powerful vocals and attention to details.  

The humour was well realised plus the aggravation stakes of Pancho/Munoz from Tom Beirne in another well studied character role.  

The pushy naivety and glamour of starlet Avril/Mallory of Grace Maynard, the voice of movie crooner Powers from Brett Sayer (a young man to watch out for in the future) and all who contributed with the smaller roles, made this production a tour de force from the company.

There was plenty of company involvement with energy and drive: as is to be expected of a Lytton Players production.

‘With Every Breath I Take’ and ‘You’re Nothing Without Me’ and ‘You Can Always Count On Me’ were quite stunning!

Congratulations to Mike Payne M.D. for working so hard on a very demanding score and bringing it altogether.

Thank you for your generous hospitality.