Kiss Me Kate
2nd November 2017
Walmersley Church Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society
Walmsley Church Hall
Author: Christine Hunter Hughes
Another Op’nin’: Another Show … could well be a good signature tune for every Operatic Society everywhere, and maybe even every NODA Rep settling down to watch it? In this case however, it is also the opening line of the Musical ‘Kiss Me Kate’ by the prolific Cole Porter both of which have an impressive list of credits.
This is the second Cole Porter musical presented by this Society this year, so they have obviously found a winner for their audiences, and what’s not to love? The toe tapping, well-known tunes of Cole Porter come in rapid succession throughout the show.
The plot focuses on a touring theatrical company producing a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew, with the ‘director also playing the leading man and the leading lady being played by his ex-wife, and therefore becomes a musical within a play, within a musical!
The music was, once more, very good and you managed to maintain a very good sound balance, meaning we could hear the cast very well, accompanied by the very good orchestra.
I did find the opening rather too long – although “Another Op’nin” is a great tune, it is possible to have just a little too much of a good thing and I found that from a very personal perspective, I really wanted to ‘get on’ with the show – it also meant that, for me, the pace of the show itself (certainly NOT the song which was punchy, and full of life and energy with lots of smiles – exactly as it should be) was just a little slow in actually getting started.
Once started however, we were treated to a most enjoyable rendition of this well-known ‘classic’. I must congratulate you on the casting there was certainly some wonderful singing and characterisations across the whole cast; but for this show to work really well, we must be convinced that Lilli and and Fred had been married and therefore have a considerable history together which is nicely topped with a large dollop of bitterness. It worked wonderfully well, and the relationship really came over the lights well. Many congratulations to all the singers, principals and chorus alike as some were clearly struggling with coughs, colds and ‘throats’ – but the show certainly ‘went on’ adapted on occasions to suit, and worked really well. Facial expressions, actions and reactions were all good, and the whole cast was with it every step of the way.
The extensive choreography was well drilled and effective, with the ‘big musical numbers’ executed with energy by the bucket load and lots and lots of smiles you certainly looked as if you were having a whale of a time, so naturally we in the audience did as well.
I must, once more, congratulate your wardrobe department on some really quite stunning costumes, the ‘Shakespearian Costumes’ were very good. I was slightly less certain on the time-line for the ‘rehearsal costumes’ though. The dressing robes worn by the principals were superb and looked exactly right for, I assumed the 50’s, but I felt some of the chorus looked perhaps a little too ‘modern’, but the impression created worked well.
The light-hearted humour of the piece was brought out excellently, and our Shakespeare was ‘Brushed Up’ with style and pizzazz, and we heard all the words! Thank you.
Once more, a thoroughly enjoyable evening for which I thank all concerned. I was, again thrilled to see such a wide range of ages all working together to produce a common goal and giving such enjoyment and pleasure not just to themselves but to the audience as well. My thanks to everyone connected with this production in any way whatever, and I look forward very much to my next invitation to this talented society’s next production.