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The Witness

Date

27th April 2019

Society

Park Productions

Venue

Burn Park Methodist Church

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Nick Thompson

Musical Director

Suzy Wake

Choreographer

Hannah Bowerbank, Katrina Wake and Rachel Wigham

Report

Author: Peter Oliver

When invited to Park Production’s performance I am always intrigued as to what I am about to review, this year’s production was no different, as a society that has a history of performing many different genre’s of music Park Productions have a passion for religious musicals and this years choice “The Witness” a musical narrated drama written by Jimmy and Carol Owens tells the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as witnessed by the apostle Peter, the people who follow him and the miraculous events they have Witnessed.

Beautifully Directed by Nick Thompson, who I am delighted to have watch this young man’s confidence and skills develop over the past few years, produced an emotional and awe-inspiring account of this wonderful story. Musical as ever was in the competent hands of Suzy Wake who I must admit can cause me to become distracted from the performance I just love to observe how Suzy demonstrates through her conducting how much commitment and passion for this society she has, and it was obvious the work that she put in with the cast as the harmonies sounded delightful to this beautiful musical score. Choreography was in the capable hands of Katrina Wake, Hannah Bowerbank and Rachel Wigham, I loved the choreographed dances and movement that was interwoven throughout the story. You couldn’t have had a more perfect venue to produce this production, Burn Park Church is a beautiful piece of architectural history and I may not have had the opportunity to observe the lighting plot due to me  attended the matinee performance but I must mention that it was absolutely stunning when the sun come through the stain glass windows casting a rainbow of colour throughout the church which for me created a perfect atmosphere considering the content of the story, it gave a whole new meaning to natural lighting. Appreciation to the production team, Ken Thain as stage manager, Philip Wake on sound and lighting, John Casson and Connor Woodward for their technical support and Susan Casson as chaperone all of whom worked behind the scenes to ensure a polished performance was delivered.  Special mention also for the quality overhead projection which supported the story, it looked fantastic and compiemented the story.

Playing the part of Peter was Nick Thompson, Nick delivered a sterling performance, great interaction with the other cast members, his dictation was excellent as was his vocals, I loved the musical opening number “The Witness” sang by Nick and the choir, I also enjoyed “I Love You Lord” and “The Room Upstairs” which were beautiful delivered. Playing the part of Mary was Hannah Bowerbank, I love how Hannah’s confidence is developing, she delivered this principal role with conviction and vocally she is becoming more confident I particularly enjoyed “Lullaby” and “ Mary’s Song” which she delivered well and “Crucifixion Dirge” my only advice would be to try and engage more with the audience we prefer to see your lovely face rather than you looking at your feet but overall a confident performance in this fundamental part. Jim Kirkland delivered a worthy performance as James, as a veteran of the stage Jim certainly knows how to deliver his lines and musical numbers especially with the apostle John played by Robert Whitfield, I predominantly enjoyed “Nothing Ever Happened” and “Make Me Like You” which were supported by the chorus. Katrina Wake as always delivered a notable performance as Peter’s Wife, great stage presence and I loved her musical number “When You Find The Truth” delivered with the other wives which were played by Margaret Metcalf, Elsie Davison and June Whitfield. Playing the mother of James and John was Kathleen Carter who delivered an excellent performance, Kathleen certainly knows how to interact with the audience and has the natural ability to draw you in to whatever role she plays, I loved her musical number “My Boys” which was beautifully delivered. Finally, in the named parts was Corey Clark as Judas great performance from this young man, Corey puts 110% into everything he does great acting and lovely vocals I loved his interpretation of his character and he delivered his musical number “Silver and Gold” exceptionally.   

It was very refreshing to see the number of new younger members in the group and how they all engaged and looked as if they were having so much fun, well done to all the other cast members including Tom Hutchinson, Suzy Wake, Madoc Atkinson, Peter Allan-Robson, Brian Carter, Brian Gibb, Joan Hardy, Joyce Howe, Audrey Horton, Abbi Mole, Rosemary Nash, Noreen Reay, Joan Stoddart, and Joan Wigham all of whom contributed to the overall success of this beautiful musical. Well Done to everyone involved and thank you for your kind invitation another great success.