The End of the Pier Show

Date 17th August 2023
Society Cloud Nine Musical Theatre Group
Venue The Academy, Selsey
Type of Production Concert
Director Rebecca Townsend
Musical Director Simon Townsend
Choreographer Amelia Aburrow
Written By Rebecca Townsend and Simon Townsend

Report

Author: Mark Donalds

The title “The End of the Pier Show” evokes memories of happy family holidays by the sea and going to see a show at the pier theatre with lots of singing and dancing, mixed with some bawdy comedy. Even though Selsey doesn’t have a pier, that’s exactly what Cloud Nine gave us, in spades.

Co-writers Rebecca Townsend and Simon Townsend have done an amazing job pulling together such an eclectic mixture of music, monologues, and melodrama - some familiar, others new to me. With Rebecca’s sure handed direction, Simon’s amusing commentary, and the hard work of the efficient stage crew, the whole show flowed swiftly and smoothly (with hardly a sign of the chaos wrought by a power failure the night before) and it was all over far too soon. Amelia Aburrow’s choreography was most imaginative, and well executed by the cast. I was particularly impressed by the full company number that ended Act 1: You Will Be Found. A stunning way to leave us wanting more.

With just a simple black stage, pertinent back-projected images were used to set the scenes: real West End quality here (sadly no credit in the programme). Lighting was well designed, with good use of follow-spots. MD Simon Townsend had rehearsed his singers well. Singing, whether solos or chorus, was of a very high standard throughout, helped by an excellent sound system that never allowed the top-quality backing tracks to swamp the singers. Costumes (Rebecca Townsend and Maddi Butler-Townsend) were beautiful: bright, colourful, and sparkly. Everyone looked well dressed in costumes appropriate to their numbers.

I can only pick out a few of the items for individual praise – but rest assured, every number was superb. Mike Beal’s two monologues were well delivered and hilarious. “At the Chippy” (great to see a Victoria Wood song) was performed with great style and accents. Annabella Rich’s performance of “Burn” from Hamilton was utterly sublime. Sadly, her second solo “If I Could Turn Back Time” was sabotaged by an uncooperative hand mic, but somehow she kept going, adding humour to the situation and ending triumphantly to huge applause. Janet Langford’s “Scat Singing” was a gently performed intro to a form of singing I was previously unaware of. Hannah Skelton and Kimberley Genziani wowed us with their duet from “Half a Sixpence” and I can only admire the steely determination of Karen, Peter, Mary, Roland, and Josette for getting to the end of “Jobs” without corpsing – it was so funny!

What a great time we had! This show lifted the spirits and sent us on our way with a song in our hearts and a spring in our steps. Thank you so much Cloud Nine for a thoroughly entertaining and uplifting evening.