Date 28th September 2013
Society Blyth Music and Theatre Company Ltd
Venue St Cuthbert’s Church Hall, Blyth
Type of Production Musical
Director Jackie Gray
Choreographer Jackie Gray


Author: Michael L Avery

I could not fault the enthusiasm of the young cast of 23 who occupied the small stage at St Cuthbert’s Church Hall in Blyth on the Saturday afternoon of my visit.  There were 11 males in the company.  How many adult amateur companies would give their eye-teeth for that kind of boy/girl ratio.  Although this was a “junior” version, all the familiar songs seemed to be present -  We Go Together, Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin’, Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee, Beauty School Drop-out, Hopelessly Devoted To You and more.

Just over a year ago, I found myself confessing to not having attended a pantomime for about 25 years.  Now I find I must confess to never having seen an adult show presented by the junior section of a Society.  It took me a little getting used to at first.  My guess is that the youngsters in this production were between about 8 years old and 16.  That age group offers children of various heights, shall we say, and various attention spans!  I was in a minority of one, of course, as the remainder of the audience was made up of parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters – none of whom seemed to notice and all of whom thoroughly enjoyed this production.

I feel churlish to complain but I did struggle to hear much of the dialogue.  The cast were all mic-ed up but the dialogue was difficult to follow.  I know this was a first performance with only one more to go, in the evening.  No real time, then, to rectify the problem. I think if the cast had forgotten they were mic-ed and had worked more towards the audience, it would have been easier to follow.

The vocal numbers came across a lot better than the dialogue.  I must confess a fondness for Shaunagh Kelly, who I nominated for a NODA award at the recent Awards Ceremony.  She didn’t win but I am sure there will be many future opportunities.  I was right, she does have a lovely voice which was shown to great effect in her two ballads as Sandy.  I also rather liked Ellie Burke who stood out more in the acting stakes in her role as Rizzo.  Amongst the boys, I thought Kyle Crook showed great promise as Kenicke and a little feller called Sam Kennedy made his presence felt whenever he was on stage.  Perhaps the highlight amongst the boys was, however, Amonik Melaco in his performance of Beauty School Dropout.

The hand jiving, rock’n,rollin’ finale was an uplifting end to an entertaining afternoon.  I am sure all family members were suitably proud and, very likely, returned in the evening to see the whole show again.  I hope the cheerleaders held their pom-poms up a little higher, and together, second time around!