9th December 2017
Riverside Theatre Company
Type of Production
Emily Wainwright, Rowan Marshall, Ian Tipping
Author: Julie Armstrong
Dear Riverside kids!
Well, what a great afternoon I had watching your super show, Riverside Live. It was lovely to recognise some familiar faces from your previous productions this year and see you perform in different roles.
Act I was an exciting mix of song and dance numbers, performed by various members of the group. Opening with Fame, you did a good job and had the audience tapping their feet to a familiar song - well done. A little tip for next time (and I know that your teachers will have told you this!): I know it is often nerve-wracking to open the show, but try to smile a bit more, even though you may be feeling nervous. In fact, smiling will hide the fact that you are nervous and the audience would never know! However, this was a good start to the show and I did enjoy it.
Next up was Megan singing Candy Cane Lane. It was very brave of you to be the first soloist. A great job Megan, well done, what a shame you dashed off and missed the wonderful applause that the audience gave you at the end!
This was followed by Jacob singing Ariana Grande’s One Last Time. Jacob - you were fabulous! What an improvement in your confidence since I saw you in The Wizard Of Oz. Walking through the audience as you started the song was very brave and the vocals and emotions that you put into the song were lovely - a brilliant job young man!
What Is This Feeling from Wicked was next, performed by the senior company. Two good soloists did well with a tricky song (think about breath control girls, it will help with those bigger notes). The choreography and staging with the company was lovely. Well done.
Isobel gave us her very sweet rendition of I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus. Another super solo, beautifully staged with the Christmas tree and nicely sung too - thank you Isobel.
Next up Chloe and Hannah danced the Hot Honey Rag from Chicago. Some nice work here girls, remember to really go for it and perform right to the back of the room. I liked your choreography in the Fosse style and your ‘show faces’ were superb. A good job, well done.
Next we had a cheeky monologue as Ava performed a piece from Alice In Wonderland. Try to add a little more inflection in your voice Ava, to give the piece more expression. It was performed well though, with some excellent diction, and your projection was good too.
Next we had a very difficult song - Naughty from Matilda. Amy, I thought you did a superb job with this! You sang beautifully with excellent diction throughout, performed well, acted the words nicely and had some super choreography. You even managed the awkward pauses in timing! Keep up the great work Amy, you are a little star in the making!
Then we had a toe-tapping company number again, this time Jacob leading them in Prepare Ye from Godspell, well done - followed by Oh Holy Night sung beautifully by Bella. I Think I Got You Beat from Shrek was very well performed by Esme and Rhys. Some excellent acting through song from both of you and lovely vocals too.
Everyone returned to the stage for Our House, with some great choreography and super staging. This was a fun number and everyone had relaxed by this stage and were clearly enjoying themselves on stage. This made the audience enjoy it even more, seeing you all having such a great time up there - and lots of smiles too. A fantastic number everyone!
Abbie then sang Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. This was a lovely solo Abbie, make sure you look right up to the back of the room and not just at the people in the front row - but well done, you sang it beautifully.
We then had Girls Night Out from Jess and Willow, performing their dance routine to a mixtape of many different songs. Gosh, there was a lot going on in that soundtrack girls - just remember to finish off every single move, extend right to the end of the line - but you did very well to keep up with it! Some nice moves and interesting song choices in there, well done girls.
Hannah then gave us The History Of Wrong Guys from Kinky Boots. This was performed well, with some nice work from the two actors downstage right. Hannah, you sang this really well and had some great acting so that we really understood the song. A super job!
Act I closed with A Little More Homework from 13, performed by the whole company. What a great number to finish on. A couple of technical issues meant that some of our brave soloists had to really sing out, but with so many performers on stage, mics being swapped around at the last minute and (oh dear!) a couple of damaged mic packs, this was never going to be an easy number. However, it looked great, all of our singers did a super job and it certainly ended Act I on a high and left the audience with big smiles on their faces. A super way to close the first act.
Act 2 took the form of a surprise Mini Musical, entitled Photobomb, penned by Riverside tutor Rowan. It was now the turn of Riverside Juniors who appeared as pupils in a school room with their Headmaster and Ms. Kirby, the photographer, who had come to take the annual school photographs. Esme, I thought you captured your eccentric character perfectly and you led the cast with confidence in the ensemble song and dance numbers. With five familiar songs from popular shows in this mini musical it was a great chance for the juniors to show off their skills, whilst telling us a new story at the same time. The whole performance was delightful and your hard work showed with everyone contributing to the piece well. A great job and an enjoyable watch.
Act 2.5 (not Act 3!) was another piece written by Rowan, this time for the senior group and took the form of a one act play, “The Beautiful Terrible Thing Behind The Impossible Door”. Actors, you did a great job, bringing Rowan’s words to life and creating some good characters. Apricot, in particular, was very entertaining to watch and, as the storyline unfolded, you all tackled a sensitive subject with great maturity, performing it beautifully. I would suggest that slowing down the dialogue would really help you to add more depth to the piece but overall a very good job. The two leads were superb, perfectly cast and with great delivery - and the flashy jumper was a triumph! Personally, I would have opened with Photobomb, had the one act play in the middle and finished with all the song and dance numbers from Act 1, to go out with a bang!
Of course the Riverside kids are the stars of the show but there would be no show without the talents of Ian and Ellen Tipping, Rowan Marshall and Emily Wainwright as the creatives behind it all. Well done to all of you on a great show. Not to mention the backstage crew, the front of house team and the technicians who all did a sterling job, allowing the show to flow seamlessly. The sound and lighting team, Dave and Kate Maltby, deserve a special mention as these were super, the lighting in particular was used to great effect and added an extra dimension to the performances.
The show finished with a perfect finale number, Brand New You, again from 13, performed by the whole Riverside company. This was a fantastic ending to what was a super show - thank you Riverside for a wonderful and entertaining afternoon, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with you.