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Me and My Girl

Date

8th November 2017

Society

WOW Youth Musical Theatre

Venue

Weymouth Pavilion

Director

Martyn Knight

Musical Director

Heather Reed

Choreographer

Martyn Knight

Type of Production

Musical

Report

Author: Sylvia Coates

‘Me and My Girl’ offers new challenges for any musical theatre company, but WOW did not falter in this shining performance, which evoked all the classic features of life in the 1930s, from the bumpy car journey from Mayfair to the final jolly holiday snap at the country house.

Characterisation was excellent, so there was no doubt as to the status and function of everyone present, nor of their personality - no mean feat, when a play is set in an era which might trap the unwary into blank stereo-types. All principals were of a very high standard: young lovers Bill and Sally were lovably unsophisticated, sweet and loyal; Sir John Tremayne skilfully avoided the many pitfalls of depicting an ageing, rather fey aristocrat and instead found the comedy in playing it straight; Lady Jacqueline’s scheming ways were entirely believable, we enjoyed her calculating ways and the relish with which she pursued her prey - with her fluid movement and wonderful ges-tures, she was simultaneously saucy, selfish and classy; Gerald Bolingbroke simpered and sulked as the jilted suitor; the Duchess was impressively haughty, but human; the dignified and oily Butler aided and abetted the family; Lord and Lady Battersby and Sir Jasper Tring offered strong support in these unlikely times at Hareford Hall; and Solicitor Herbert Parchester rose to the challenge of playing out of his comfort zone, to maintain the stuffy, rather pompous character and yet to find the humour in his song.

The voice-work was impressive, with all aristocrats sporting polished cut-glass accents, and the cockneys flattening their vowels and dropping glottal-stops at every opportunity; maintaining these accents in speech and song is no mean feat, but maintained they were, and throughout the show, with Sally demonstrating twice the skill, in mastering both accents.

A wonderful feature of WOW productions is that everyone is a star: it is such a pleasure to watch the ensemble perform with the energy, skill and commitment which makes demanding choreography look so easy, and draws the audience into the plot. Particularly strong were the strapping tennis players and the disciplined and tidy kitchen and household staff. From the sunny opening scene to the finale, the ensemble was responsive and engaged, with strong physical and facial expression.

A text-heavy show is a new experience for WOW, but they rose to the challenge beyond all expectations: this was a mature, well-rounded and accomplished production, with everything well done, not over-done, beautifully-dressed and supported by a stunning set and, with the pinkest love scenes I have ever beheld, gloriously camp lighting. What an excellent orchestra, a thoroughly entertaining show, and an inspirational company.

Congratulations to everyone at WOW.