13th April 2012
Norwich Plyhouse Theatre, Norwich
Type of Production
Stage and Musical Director Adrian Connell
Orchestral Director Mark Sharp
Author: Susan DuPont
Thank you for all your hospitality to the NODA contingent of National President Fred Piggford, East Councillor Jim Farr, Reps from Districts 4N (Steve Hayter), 5 (me), 6 (Terry Rymer), to cover the whole of Norfolk, East Youth Adviser East Zelda Rolfe, and Editor East Julia Rymer, (and Weinbergers Rupert Sharp) and especially for allowing me to show off the special talents of NYMT in a mind blowing production that impressed all who saw it; truly an excellent finale for the NODA President in his visit to Norfolk.
Where does one begin with this production? The settings and lighting just so imaginative and clever and good in creating the atmosphere and mood, and the myriad of costumes to compliment the settings and action, all so right and good on the eye. Then to the music! A great accompaniment with this difficult score, and the talented singing youngsters of NYMT just tackled every note with ease, and each member of the cast to high standard even those with just one line to sing. All the Company should be congratulated on their stage presence, their interpretation of the roles both large and small, their total commitment to being in exactly the correct spot and position at the right time, and their singing of that magnificent and demanding score: but we know that NYMT are very special and talented; I feel so privileged to have watched so many of this cast over the years and to have seen them develop and blossom.
The line-up of principals was amazing in their casting: in the title role Callum Bicknell was quite outstanding, could this performance and strength of singing really come from a 17-year-old, what power and strength of acting and emotion and total domination of stage; and I remember a very much younger Pendragon and a recent Secret Garden. And opposite him, and perfectly matched in strength of voice and action, Harriet Millsopp gave an amazing and professional interpretation of Mrs Lovett, and not forgetting the perfect timing and comedy from last year’s Madame Thernadier; this duo just blew the audience away with their performances. As Judge Turpin, Daniel Herman gave style and strength of action and good tone to the music of this role (I remember his Javert), a character not to be tangled with; and his support team of the Beadle played by Jack Edwards just added to the amazing strength of male voices. As the Beggar Woman, Lucy Barker, Emma Hume sang this such difficult role with style and on tone, (I think that I have seen all 16 of her performances in NYMT). The fun extravert Pirelli very well sung and portrayed by Alex Salzado, good comedy. In the role of Anthony, Frazer Davidson surprised by suddenly growing, and also strengthening in amazing vocal tones, where did this 16 year-old develop this voice to die for, and so very expressive in the scenes with the Johanna of Emily Stanghan, wonderful duets, and her numbers exquisite with their golden notes (expected from previous roles). What promise of years to come from 12 year-old Marland Barsby as Tobias, where do those superb vocals come from, but he impressed with Gavroche last year. But above all, as usual, it is the ensemble numbers that impress with their strength and potency, what a company to congratulate! Adrian has surpassed himself again with this talented group, but I am leader of his fan club!