Summer Holiday

Date 12th July 2017
Society Zenith Youth Theatre Company
Venue Kingwood School Theatre, Bath
Type of Production Musical
Director Scott Rogers
Musical Director Roy Page
Choreographer Julie Dallimore, Delia Lee

Report

Author: Dee Way in place of Petra Schofield

This production was very well planned. The changes of scene and the flow of the show demonstrated clear forethought and consideration for people changing costume and moving around backstage. There were one or two rather long pauses between scenes, but I am sure these will tighten up. The bus was great! The way that there were seats one moment then a shower room the next, and the opening side of the bus created great spaces to play in. Also the changes in lighting within the bus and its gingham curtains worked very well.

The opening set was inventive, with the bus stop down stage and the projection onto the backcloth of blue skies and clouds. This left plenty of room for the chorus to dance and act. The use of the downstage left table for the workshop chat was lovely and worked well around food and drink being served. Many of the scenes were brilliantly created using simple touches of acting, costume or props, such as the umbrellas, newspapers and the elderly couple with the walking frame.

The stage management of so many cast members and set changes was to be envied.  It all worked smoothly – apart from the forgotten sandwich – with the bus taking a starring role! There one or two rather long scene changes which, hopefully, will speed up as the week progresses. However, the sheer logistics of moving so many people around backstage - and around the bus - must have been enormous.

Lighting throughout was very good. The light boxes around the proscenium arch area gave five different destinations, including London and Paris. The colour of lighting in the boxes changed throughout the production. This worked well, although they could also have been used to indicate where the characters had reached? The use of spotlights worked well in the later bus scenes, although one needed a little adjustment. Lighting cues were promptly acted on and the changes were often nicely subtle.

The sound was good, with effective rain accompanying the umbrella scene. Mostly the radio microphones were on when required and were well balanced for level. The music was excellent, played by a group of six musicians. It was lovely to hear some old familiar tunes! The combined sound levels were mostly very well balanced between the singers and band.

The Sixties costumes for the whole show were very good. There was a lot of colour onstage that helped to create the atmosphere of a beach holiday really well. The outfits for the singing group were ingenious in allowing quick changes and yet were very colourful. The orange overalls for the bus mechanics worked very well, too, while the bridal group and wedding party looked fabulous.

The choreography was creative and fresh with lovely reflections of the period in the hand jive and the general dance moves. Co-ordinating so many dancers must have been difficult but it all worked exceptionally well. It looked quite crowded onstage at times – would there have been any advantage in possibly splitting the chorus into sections for some numbers, as in the reporters scene? This tap routine towards the end of the show was very creative and fitted seamlessly into the production.

However, the stars of this production are the cast. Everyone played their part to the full and it was hard to believe that you are all so young!  From the French onion seller to the studio crew for the broadcast, from the bride and bridesmaids to the French and Italian police, you all gave the performance energy and interest throughout. So many memorable snippets stand out still: the high speed explanation to the Italian police, the hand jive en masse, the reaction of the four lads to Doh Rae Me singing in harmony, and Barbara acting as Bobby. Well done to all of you!