Under The Rainbow
24th November 2017
Banstead Community Hall
Type of Production
Author: Jon Fox
Devised and directed by the innovative Lynda Barrett-Mercer this revue was a celebration of colours. In fact, all the colours of the rainbow. Comprising nearly forty songs and sketches - with the prominent aid of a large projector screen, which was much used throughout and which greatly enhanced the overall effect - the evening was an eclectic mix of songs full of melody, much humour, many from well loved musicals or films, others from chart songs, standards and ballads.
BANOS include a wide mix of players, including some children who impressed me with their evident enthusiasm for their budding art. The programme chose not to list cast surnames, apart from a few, so I can credit only first names. Songs and sketches were too numerous to describe all, but I will highlight a good number of the more impressive ones as follows:-
In Act 1
"Summertime"- Jess, Sophie, Sue M, Fiona, John, Roger, Colin, Alex - Pleasant use of harmony, with rainbow screened above houses.
"Over the Rainbow" - Amy, who though very young, showed a confident, tuneful voice putting over this iconic song very well.
"Rainbow Song" - Sam, Amy, Grace - starting with a nice dialogue scene and altogether quite charming.
"Lady in Red" - Steve - showcasing his fine tenor voice and confident stage presence. Assisted by a young lady (in red) being courted in song.
"Red, Red Wine" - nice comic drunken touches for Colin and Roger, well put over.
"Masochism Tango" - Colin. This Tom Lehrer classic which requires fine acting and goes down a treat, as this version certainly did! The screened flames aided the effect.
"Smoke gets in your Eyes" - Lynda using all her artistry and beautiful vocal tone to give us the song of the evening - jointly with "Evergreen".
"Evergreen" - Alma, clad in a deep green feather boa - beautifully sung and acted. On a par with Lynda's "Smoke" as the two outstanding melodic songs of the evening.
"Somewhere that's Green" - Sophie - highly enjoyable and emotionally acted song.
In Act 2
"Blue Moon" - a well rehearsed company number with effective harmonies and a pleasant swing rhythm and effectively dressed with nine ladies in blue waistcoats and five men in blue ties.
"Song Sung Blue" - Steve, playing guitar. Good use of screen featuring musical notes - most enjoyable.
"Mood Indigo" - Steve - well put over.
"Galileo" - Alex, Lynda - with Steve playing the guitar - good vocal blend. I liked the Granny, with hip problems, played to the hilt by Sue A.
"Sweet Violets" - Sue M. - sweet and effective comedy number with a nice touch in innuendo. Well handled by an accomplished performer.
"I'm Daisy, I'm Violet and I will never leave You" - Alma and Fiona - good vocal blend and effectively used key changes.
"Look to the Rainbow" - Company - well harmonised. I liked the ribbons /rainbow effect and use of screens.
Somewhere "Over the Rainbow" - again well observed use of harmony with songsheets for audience participation and Steve on guitar. An excellent choice to conclude the evening.
Lighting for this lively production was well handled by Chris Cathles and sound equally effectively provided by Colin Hannah and Louise Carter.
The script was written by director Lynda Barrett-Mercer and Emily Aldridge, with great thought and much inspiration, I might add! Musical director Debbi Lindley whose fine piano accompaniment skills were immediately evident had clearly worked tirelessly to achieve this fine standard of singing by this willing company. Suitable and colourful costumes were provided by cast members themselves.
Much rehearsal and dedication had clearly gone into this interesting portrayal and most enjoyable celebration of rainbows. I would make a special mention of the three BANOS children used so well. All three can and should be very proud of themselves. They are Amy Cleather as younger Dorothy, Grace Kain as Judy and Samuel Millard-Burda as Joe.
Director Lynda, whose brainchild this whole production was, succeeded in giving us a sparkling and richly enjoyable evening, with melody, comedy and pathos.The wonderful way that the screen enhanced and gave life to the songs made a huge contribution to the evident enjoyment of the audience.