In the Heights
6th December 2017
Mossley Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society
George Lawton Hall, Mossley
Type of Production
John G Barry
Simon Fitzpatrick & Gary Jones McCaw
Author: Sharon Drummond
I have seen this show a couple of times now and love the music and the energy needed for a musical set in Washington Heights a district of New York which is predominantly Hispanic/Latino. This show was brilliantly executed by this cast who threw themselves (sometimes quite literally) into the characters, dances and story.
The set looked fantastic with a great Brroklyn Bridge and covered the three businesses well with open space in front for the dances. The lighting plot worked well and the sound was good with a band who had a large percussion section which was mostly kept in check against the balance of the cast. The problem to overcome is with such a large percussion and brass section, a show which isn’t familiar and predominantly rap music with fast lyrics, it can be difficult to keep up. The hair and costumes suited the characters and the props looked great.
The Ensemble all had their own personalities and these were portrayed well. The ensemble numbers sounded beautiful and the dancing was unbelievably energetic which left me breathless. The choreography with its emphasis on street dance and hip hop was stunning and brilliantly executed. Simon Fitzpatrick and Gary Jones McCaw did an amazing job on these routines.
Gary Jones Mc Caw played Graffiti Pete an artist who decorates the area with his spray cans and paints that not everyone appreciates. Gary did a great job on this role with dancing that is not his normal style.
Rhys Nuttall played Usnavi fantastically well with fabulous clear diction on rap songs where lyrics can often be lost but in this case are instrumental to the story telling. His acting especially with his nervousness around Vanessa suited the part beautifully.
Piraguero guy was well played by Tom Kehoe who made me laugh a lot with his mannerisms and dry delivery. Alison Foy-Thackwell was very endearing as Abuela Claudia and delivered a beautiful warm performance with super vocals
I loved the sassy style of the girls in the salon with Katherine Farrow playing Carla with fabulous dance moves and Jordanne Woodward as Daniela who sang superbly and has bags of stage presence which was perfect for this role.
Jon Crebbin and Samantha Bates were great as Kevin and Camila Rosario with totally believable performances as the parents of Nina, They had bags of chemistry together and I loved their solo numbers.
Frank Williams put in a lovely sweet and cheeky performance as Sonny and Lucca Chadwick Patel playing Benny looked the part, with great vocals but lacked an evident emotional portrayal that I felt this part required, I never felt Nina and Benny were in love with each other.
Maia Van Spall was fabulous as Vanessa who is Usnavi’s love interest. She looked fantastic, sounded superb and danced her heart out in the company numbers. A lovely performance.
Rosie Plummer put in a cracking performance as Nina Rosario with amazing vocals with clear diction but I didn’t feel any chemistry between her and Benny. However the relationship with her parents and her portrayal and characterisation of this side of the part was very accomplished.
The show was full of colour and lively performances and had some of the most energetic dance routines I have ever seen with any non dancers well disguised or hidden. The songs unbeknown to most are an interesting collection of street dances, hip hop, rap but with some lovely ballads thrown in for good measure and delivered brilliantly by this talented cast.
The first time direction from Samuel Maurice was well done with great casting and a piece that was well plotted and kept moving at an incredible pace. Well done to all involved