13th February 2016
Queens Theatre. Hornchurch
Type of Production
Author: Tessa Davies
I have to confess of a particular fondness for this show. Despite some of the darkness in the storyline it is essentially a ‘feel good’ show and Shenfield Operatic did it justice.
Kerry Cooke gave an outstanding performance as Aunt Eller, commanding the stage whenever she appeared. Jamie Fudge (Curly) and Liberty Watts (Laurey) made a lovely couple. Jack Lloyd (Will Parker) Joanna Hunt (Ado Annie) and Rick McGeouch (Ali Hakim) all gave strong performances.
The outstanding performance, for me though, was Allister Smith as Jud Fry. Rarely have I seen a performance that portrays the scripted character so well. Both in appearance and attitude he was, truly, the menacing individual required by the author.
The secondary Principals all gave strong performances and the ensemble were terrific. It is always a pleasure to see a company where the chorus is so enthusiastic and talented. Shenfield Operatic have a very strong core of performers who give their all and this is certainly much appreciated by the audience.
I liked the minimalistic look of the scenery. If I am not mistaken, this is the scenery from the recent West End production and I think it works very well in today’s more modern productions. The props were outstanding, in particular the butter churn, such an improvement on previous incarnations! There were a couple of longish scene changes but given what had to be done, I cannot see how these could have been avoided.
Costumes were beautiful, full of detail and, as always with this company, accessorised correctly. This is such an important point and adds greatly to the look of the production. Lighting and sound were spot on at all times.
Finally, I want to express my appreciation for being properly hosted, it does make such a difference to be looked after in such a lovely way and I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening, thank you.