|Date||7th June 2019|
|Society||Stevenage Lytton Players|
|Venue||Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Musical Director||Chris Phelps|
|Choreographer||Tess Dowdeswell, Louise Edwards|
Author: Nova Horley for Vicki Avery
A rousing overture heralded an energetic production, with minimalistic set, that suited the flow of the piece, not allowing the audience’s attention to wander.
The set and props were good, with lighting that enhanced the action. Sound was a little suspect at times, balance between stage and pit at the start was not good, but over time it seemed to right itself, but I thought some of the mics made the cast’s voices sound a little raw at times. Overall though I enjoyed the production.
Musically good, with some stand out moments, e.g. Kath, Reecey, Sarah and Joe’s Dad excelled in their solos, with the ensemble adding their voices with enthusiasm.
I did not like some of the costumes, straight skirts on stage are not a good look for me, and attention to detail was needed in some cases.
Choreography was interesting, but because of the sheer numbers of ensemble it was often difficult to get any shape to the dances, that said mostly the numbers were kept within the capabilities of the cast, but beware of making a feature of anything with arms in opposition to feet, as most people do it naturally, but when asked to do it on stage, they fail! – and unfortunately this draws the eye!!
I liked the use of slow motion behind some of the action, it kept the interest but did not deflect from the main points.
Allie Neal as Kath, Joe’s Mum, gave a lovely performance, caring and warm but also ascerbic, and her solo was sung with meaning.
I liked the cheeky chappy persona of Reecey, played by Craig Prutton. He pitched it just right, was very expressive with twinkling eyes, but with a hint of his darker side as well, good solos and dance moves.
Steve Weston played Joe’s Dad with feeling and strength, which I liked.
Charlotte Yates and Joe Reddan as Sarah and Joe created a good partnership, Sarah singing her solo particularly well. However, I felt their dance scene was a little awkward at times.
Pressman was a good role for Ross Edwards, the slightly slimy businessman, he carried it off well.
Alice Rush, Georgia Vary, Tom Beirne and Austin Arnold created a good quartet to support Charlotte and Joe, although I would have liked Georgia to lower her speaking pitch occasionally, I can see that it was a good contrast to Alice, but needed a little downtime!
Overall I enjoyed the show, it was good to see so many youngsters involved, however they should ensure they know what they’re doing in the musical numbers if they are at the front!! I thought the direction and musicality were good, but it was a little raw at times. Plenty of energy and contrasts.
My thanks to Bob Sage, David Slade and Mike Payne for their attention and hospitality, it was good to meet with them and get some insight into the production and the Society.