Sunset Boulevard

Date 26th September 2019
Society Worthing Musical Theatre Company
Venue The Pavilion, Worthing
Type of Production Musical
Director Tony Bright
Musical Director Michael Winter

Report

Author: Jose Harrison

Congratulations to the entire company for a very professional production of Sunset BLVD and for giving the audience a memorable afternoon. Technically this show excelled, the set construction, lighting, sound and props were all of a high standard. Well done to the stage manager and lighting designer for expertly guiding us through a large number of scene changes with ease. The whole was most certainly a creative variation from much of this company’s previous work but all concerned can be well satisfied with the exceedingly high standard achieved.  

I have always advocated that a director shouldn’t actually be part of the cast in any production.  I am having to ‘eat my words’ as Tony Bright proved me very wrong. His direction was excellent and he gave us a superb character performance, with great singing. As Joe Gillis, an out of work play-write, who stumbles upon a faded, elderly silent-film queen who has been writing a play for herself, and plans to make a come-back, he was superb. Joe enables himself to become entrapped, like a fly in a spider’s web. The spider, in this case was Norma Desmond played by Sarah Esser-Haswell. She was just right for the part and her delivery of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical greats, especially ‘With One Look’ and ‘The Perfect Year’, were outstanding. She managed to convince us that she was more than a little ‘unbalanced’ building on this steadily throughout up to the dramatic finish bringing her the resounding applause she so richly deserved.

Jonathan Stamp, as Max von Mayerling, Norma’s long time butler and sole companion, had great stage presence oozing self confidence or lurking in the shadows. He combined the many aspects of his character from down-trodden to commanding with ease, demonstrating excellent acting and singing abilities. Chelsea Love as Betty gave a good performance, as the love angle, singing her was through ten numbers with great feeling and the other four principals gave strong interpretations in their various roles.

There were very accomplished vocal deliveries from the seventeen strong ensemble who received excellent support from the competent and talented orchestra. Sadly I felt this was not a good choice of production for this excellent society as the chorus was very short on appearances and the dancing was almost non-existent but their singing was great with some lovely harmonies. Well done everyone.