First Date

Date 15th September 2018
Society Melksham Music and Drama
Venue Rachel Fowler Centre, Melksham
Type of Production Musical
Director Justin Haggett
Musical Director Justin Haggett
Choreographer Penny Taylor and Katie Brown

Report

Author: Dee Way

This was a thoroughly enjoyable production mixing rock and pop songs with the theme of hopes and fears surrounding a first date.  Set in the highly believable bar of a pub, this theme was well worked throughout the show and gave a very good framework to the content. The wonderful bar, glasses, bottles, dartboard and dark wood tables easily created the venue for the production, with its convivial atmosphere.  I liked the security check on the way into the hall – a taste of setting the scene.  The adaptation of the bar area into the ladies loo was most ingenious.

The writing, compilation and organisation of the cast by the Director were excellent, with moves having purpose, dialogue sounding natural and sincere. The production was well organised to hold the audience’s interest and move people easily.  It was clear that a lot of thought had gone into the patterns created onstage by the whole cast.  The mix of couples demonstrating the possible outcomes of a first date were wonderfully varied: the young girl flirting with the older man, the gay couple, the fighters, the workmates and the lovers.  

The songs were well chosen to fit the theme, with the nervous dressing of the first date couple being very well acted and sung.  While most of the songs were sung to backing tracks, it was good to have the variety of the live guitar played onstage.  The songs were very well interpreted and sung: full of the longing, fear, hope and anger that pervades such lyrics.

However, it was the choreography as much as the singing and acting that stood out in this production.  It was amazing!  There were very creative moves, exceptionally good company discipline in the big cast numbers, a good variety of tempi and style, while the early dance duet was fabulous. The ability to dance in the mood of a song is quite unusual, so to get a company to do it was exceptional.  

The fight scene opening Act 2 worked very well, with some excellent mock fighting – or was it real?  Throughout the show the acting was very good and the dialogue was clear and well delivered. The costumes, hair and make-up were all highly appropriate, mostly different styles of black for the women that could then be dressed up with spots of colour.  It was all just enough to make the whole presentation slightly larger than life.  

That, with the good singing – excellent from some – and the wonderful movement created a production you should be proud of and a highly enjoyable evening of entertainment.