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The only way is Broadway

Date

23rd October 2014

Society

Harrogate St Andrews Players

Venue

Harrogate Theatre

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Louise Denison

Musical Director

Jim Lunt

Choreographer

Louise Denison

Report

Author: Terry Harrison

It was always going to be difficult to follow the sell-out success of last year’s production of “Grease” and to choose a show to achieve this.  The Society’s response was not to rely on just one show but to put together a compilation of excerpts from some of the most successful musicals of recent times and the end result was another entertaining evening from this impressive group.

They are fortunate that they attract a number of younger members, men and women, and they used their skills to the full. With some superb choreography and excellent singing, they demonstrated the strengths of the Society and it was good to see items from less familiar shows such as “The Book of Mormon” and “Pippin”. Nor were we allowed to forget the “Great American Songbook” with the inclusion of well-loved material from Irving Berlin and the Gershwins, without which no trip down Broadway could ever be complete.  The items from “Crazy for You” were particularly memorable with the nine men making an excellent sound in “Real American Folksong” and Laura Jackson’s rendition of “Someone to watch over me” being a highlight of the evening for me.  Whilst the inclusion of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” appears to anticipate that show’s arrival in New York, this hardly mattered when it enabled us to enjoy the contribution of the Junior Company.  The youngsters were also much in evidence in songs from “Matilda” and the youthful appearance of so many of the rest of the cast enabled them to be included in a boisterous finale to the selection.  Even the obligatory “Les Mis” selection was enhanced by the “little people” who made an excellent job of the song of that name and I thoroughly enjoyed the excellent choral arrangement and soloists in “Drink with me”.  

There were times when the on-stage six-piece band seemed over-amplified, although this was perhaps not inappropriate for the rock medley which provided a particularly rousing finale, sufficient to bring some of the first night audience to their feet.  Conversely, I would have liked to hear the duet from “Carmen Jones” build to a more exciting climax than the simple piano accompaniment could provide but this is a minor criticism of another excellent and contrasting item.

I look forward to this Society’s production of “White Christmas” next year, even though such is the intransigence of the Harrogate Theatre that it appears that the festive season might need to start early!