Oklahoma

Date 25th July 2019
Society Llandudno Youth Music Theatre
Venue Venue Cymru
Type of Production Musical
Director Anne Davenport
Musical Director Philip Jones
Choreographer Linzi Grace & Jenny Appleton

Report

Author: Matt Hampson [on behalf of Lyn Emmerson]

It was my first time visiting Llandudno Youth Musical Theatre and I was certainly not disappointed! Following a very warm welcome from President Colin Wickens and Safeguarding Officer Margaret Jones I was shown around the theatre prior to the evening performance and it became very clear from the outset that LYMT are what I consider to be a complete youth theatre. They are a very good example in every way from production to safeguarding. I have to say I was very impressed. So on to the production - Oklahoma! Certainly one of R&H’s more popular musicals. 

The set was excellent! They’d used the arena at Venue Cymru to its full potential creating a flexible and professional performance space. The set was placed stage right and stage left leaving a huge performance space for the all singing all dancing musical numbers to come. The band who were behind the set were good but I did feel a little overpowering in some numbers. Lighting was cleverly designed with some lovely mood lighting on the rear white Syke. 

This is of course all about the Youth Theatre and the cast were outstanding! Without naming every single person I would like to highlight a few stand out performances. The 4 male leads - Curly (Max Anglesea), Will Parker (Joshua Davies), Judd (Euan Butterworth) and Ali Hakim (Louis Davy) were very well cast with each of them delivering a very complete performance of their characters. Joshua Davies is one of the most complete youth performers I’ve seen in some years! Definitely a triple threat! Euan Butterworth’s acting was sublime at times and I couldn’t take my eyes off him when he was on stage.

The ladies were also fantastic - Aunt Eller (Mabli Jones) Laurey (Calista Frangos) & Ado Annie (Katie Haywood). It’s always hard playing a much older character but Mabli gave it 100% and delivered an excellent performance, maintaining a very good American accent. Calista as Laurey, well what can I say other than perfect casting! I’ve heard it runs in the family with another family member having played Laurey in the west end! It’s certainly runs in the blood. And no musical would be complete without comedy! Katie provides this in abundance in the role of Ado Annie. 

One thing I noticed was the full dance numbers! These are often cut down dramatically even with Adult societies however they were delivered so well by the children including a wonderful moving end of Act 1 ballet which I loved!

All other roles in the show were played with such wonderful energy. The ensemble were brill from start to finish and gave me everything I’d want from an ensemble.

Congratulations to the show’s creative team - Anne Davenport, Kate Russell, Kate Maguire, Phillip Jones, Catrin Wright, Linzi Grace and Jenny Appleton. You’ve worked wonders with these youngsters! I take my hat off to you all.

LYMT are a fully inclusive company and one who since 1978 have provided a musical theatre hub for youngsters in North Wales. It was an absolute joy to spend the evening with them and I look forward to Blitz in 2020!