Reefer Madness

Date 25th May 2017
Society Stevenage Lytton Players
Venue The Lytton Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Dave Slade
Musical Director Derek Blyth

Report

Author: Vicki Avery

When I was invited to review Reefer Madness at The Lytton Theatre my initial thoughts were, this is going to be a challenge, not only for the cast themselves but also for me reviewing the piece.

I need not have worried. With a strongly committed cast and excellent direction from Dave Slade, the whole performance went off without a hitch. Based on a 1930’s public information film about the evils of drug taking, Reefer Madness is a musical sending up the supposed American lifestyle of some of the young people in the 1930’s. This is a crazy, silly, at times quirky musical that could not help but make the audience go through a host of emotions from shock to hilarity.

The main playing area was the floor of the Lytton Theatre making it almost theatre in the round. A great use of space I thought. Projections on the back wall were most appropriate and props and furniture, though minimal, worked well.

Ross Edwards (Lecturer) was well cast in the role, an experienced actor who held his American accent well and took full command of the stage whenever he delivered his lines.

Tom Beirne (Jimmy) was excellent in his role showing a good contrast between the square and the liberated all American boy!

Richelle Brundle (Mary) was convincing as the twee, innocent or not so innocent young lady whose heart is set on Jimmy and her death scene was very well done.

Aaron Govey (Jack) gave a commendable performance as the “pusher” but I would have liked him to be darker in mood and more menacing. I wanted to be more wary of the character and I wasn’t.

Sharon Curtis (Mae) demonstrated just what could happen if you got into and became dependent on the wrong sort of people and once again her body language told the audience far more than words could do. A good portrayal congratulations.

Dave Salomon (Ralph) and Rebecca White (Sally) completed the principle line up, both showing thoughtful characterization and I complement you both with the intensity of emotion you managed so well throughout the performance.

Derek Blyth did a great job with the score and all the performers were able to show complete commitment to some tricky counter melodies and harmonies. I loved the music.

The remainder of the ensemble worked very hard throughout and obviously enjoyed the experience. The choreographed numbers needed a little more work but never the less it appeared that all involved were totally committed.

This performance was enlightening and liberating and I enjoy my evening very much.

Thank you for your generous hospitality