The WOW Show

Date 21st April 2017
Society WOW Youth Musical Theatre
Venue Weymouth Pavilion Theatre
Type of Production Song and Dance Show
Director Martine Burt
Musical Director Heather Reed
Choreographer Martine Burt


Author: Sylvia Coates

The 35th Anniversary WOW Show was billed as ‘Scintillating Song and Dance’, and scintillating it certainly was, with never a dull moment as the Company shifted seamlessly from one number to the next, through an interesting and varied programme including numbers from less-familiar musicals and contemporary popular songs.

I loved the big opening number of ‘Once and For All’ from Disney’s musical ‘Newsies’, with excellent use of stage and space and brilliant choreography by Director-Choreographer Martine Burt, whose skill at moving quantities of young people in the right direction and for good reason is beyond impressive.  Harry Lake, Luke Southorn and Alex Rogan led the Company into a spirited call for action in ‘Seize the Day’,  and Luke Southorn’s impassioned rendition of ‘Santa Fe’, shortly followed by Shannon Parfitt’s sweet and wistful ‘Someone Like You’ (Jekyll and Hyde) made a powerful conclusion to this opening section.

‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ and a medley of songs from the show was led by the girls, with a particularly lovely ‘Hushabye Mountain’ from Lucy Breakwell  and the Company. Charlie Vaughan flung himself into the Disney section with an unforgettable ‘I Just Can’t Wait to be King’; Harry Lake and Danielle Brunell were seated in a challenging position to sing ‘A Whole New World’, which they carried off creditably, and Molly Thorne’s slow and powerful ‘Reflection’ (Mulan) was sung most touchingly.

Harrison Burley rang true in ‘One Song Glory’ (Rent) and took us into the pacy rock number ‘Rent’ and the moving ‘Will I?’ building beautifully from a solo to include the Ensemble.  Georgina Mason treated us to a spine-tingling ‘Without You’, which was measured and strong (and with very clear diction), in company with Sean Roberts, followed by a massive ‘Finale B’.  Terrific use of space and movement enhanced the excellent singing in this section, as it did throughout the show.

Danielle Brunelle’s characterization of Babe in ‘I’m Not at All in Love’ was very good, leading us into The Pajama Game sequence, with a lively ‘Seven and a Half Cents’ with Jamie Dovell and further strong characters for Sid (Luke Southorn) and Babe (Maggie Ayles)in ‘There Once was a Man/Woman’.

The Rock’n’Roll session swept us into the interval, the older boys supporting the younger and with attention to detail such as good eye contact between the characters.    Aimee Hoddy’s version of ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?’ was strongly sung.  Alex Rogan led ‘Jonny B Goode’ as the younger members of the Company took their turn to shine in the excellent finale sequence.

‘Alexander Hamilton’ was a revelation and a great opening number to Act Two; Luke Southorn excelled with ‘My Shot’ and Maggie Ayles, Charlotte Watson and Molly Thorne gave meaning to the ‘Schuyler Sisters’; the Company led us to believe that it’s all happening in New York Town, and Jamie Dovell’s excitement about his date ‘Tonight at Eight’ (She Loves Me) was positively contagious.

A complete change of pace now, as the Songs of Harmony section opened with Sean Roberts and ‘Chasing Cars’, a hauntingly beautiful performance which stunned the audience. Lucy Bone touched our hearts again with ‘From a Distance’, a particularly poignant choice reflecting WOW’s charitable connection with Uganda.  Charlotte Watson had great presence and brought bags of character to ‘History of Wrong Guys’ (Kinky Boots), kicking us into the finale section of songs from seventy years of musicals.

Samuel Bates and Jamie Dovell were impressive in ‘A Musical’ (Something Rotten); ‘Stick It to the Man’ rocked; Luke Southorn and Lucy Bone led the Company in a rousing ‘I Got Life’; Georgina Mason moved us with ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.  Maggie Ayles brought sparkle and fizz with her powerful voice in ‘Wherever He Ain’t’; Charlotte Greenman was a ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’; Harry Lake leaped through ‘Flash Bang Wallop’ with no loss of breath and Molly Thorne led the Ensemble into 42nd Street. 

With an excellent band, a fabulous tap number and a director and musical director who know how to show performers at their best, this young and talented company were scintillating throughout, and will surely be WOWing us for another thirty-five years to come.

Congratulations to you all for this outstanding production.