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Sing as we go

Date

24th January 2014

Society

Harrogate Phoenix Players

Venue

Harrogate Theatre

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Wendy Walker

Musical Director

Oliver Longstaff

Choreographer

-

Report

Author: Terry Harrison

After two rather unfashionable shows, the Society chose a different course this year, by putting together their own piece of work.   Quite simply, this was a show of two halves, the first a Music Hall, the second a selection of World War 2 songs, with the bare bones of a story linking the two.  The script was minimal, which was a pity since there were some good lines amongst those which one of the members had written and it would have been good to have heard more.

As it was, all the favourite songs of the two eras were there, with the audience invited to join in as much as possible.  They needed little persuasion to do so, beginning with the first line of the National Anthem with which the evening began. The format provided many members of the company with opportunities to do a “turn” and, to link it all, we had all the usual verbal dexterity from the Music Hall’s Chairman, with a similar role played by the Sergeant Major in the second half.  There was a guest appearance from a local close harmony group, The Songbirds, who added their own expertise to each section of the programme.  The hard-working trio accompanied it all with scarcely a break.

I would have liked to have seen more changes of mood, perhaps to reflect the outbreak of the Great War; after all songs such as “Tipperary”, “Roses of Picardy” and “Pack up your troubles” are more closely associated with the trenches than with the Music Hall. Similarly, the World War 2 section seemed to progress without any great variety in the tempo of the music.

Described in the programme as “a great new sing-along”, this was exactly what it was. The audience thoroughly enjoyed every minute, with almost every item receiving rapturous applause.