Viva Las Vegas

Date 13th October 2017
Society Essex Police Musical Society
Venue Essex Police Headquarters
Type of Production Musical
Director Lauren Brimson
Musical Director Nic Graham
Choreographer Justina Bartley & Donna Stevenson


Author: Christine Davidson

This was my first time at Essex Police Musical Society and I was looking forward to seeing their review, ‘Viva Las Vega’s’.  We arrived to a lovely front of house team all in sparkly pink waistcoats and silver top hats and after some initial hic-cups were very well looked after by George Lambeth, retired -Chairman of the group.  The auditorium had round tables and chairs giving a relaxed nightclub atmosphere. Photos in the foyer and down the stairs added to the interest for the show.

A talented four piece band with piano, guitar, drums and reed, ably musically directed by Nik Graham, were a good combination, with all of the 30 songs very well accompanied.

The stage setting had a ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’  lit sign and four side flats with stars and stripes, an additional second set was used, this was dressed with black cloths and sparkly different coloured drapes. This worked very well.  Lighting, (Roger Corrie. Nicky Lee and Derek Merriday), used a general wash with colour changes for the different musical numbers, unfortunately there were some shadow areas stage left and stage right, but this did not detract from the overall lighting effects. Sound quality (Tony & Jaki Smith, Brett Faris and Nicky Lee) were generally good and the mixing, levels of the numerous wireless mikes were effective.

The compere for the evening, Lauren Brimson, looked sassy in her Basque and shorts adding to the glamour of the evening. Her walk-ons between numbers with some of the cast were great fun and suited the show.

The show opened to Take That’s ‘Could it be Magic’ and was a good ensemble piece to start with.  The large cast of 20 all showed lots of energy, excitement and smiles to make you feel that the night was going to be a great deal of talent and fun.  I was also glad to see that almost all the cast got a chance to sing one of the songs and I did feel that a lot of thought, effort and time had gone into the choreography (Justina Bartley & Donna Stevenson) as they all went into different formations as the songs progressed.

There was a super choice of songs which showed the talent of all the cast and I was really impressed by the quality and ability of everyone on stage.   My personal favourites were Grace Ward singing ‘Wind Beneath my Wings’ and her duet with Dave Ward and group,’ Dead Ringer for Love’.  Michael Pearce leading the whole cast really brought the house down at the end of the first act with ‘American Trilogy’ and his duet with Ross Rogers  singing ‘Me and My Shadow was also a great crowd pleaser.

There was also a lovely song called ‘Colour of my Love’ which I had not heard before, sung by Justina Bartley.  Her quiet understated singing was beautiful and I would have loved to have listened to more of her during the performance. Jess Merriam also gave a classy performance with Baby Love.

The evening was a success and the hard work that all the cast had put into their performances paid off.  The entire cast can all pat themselves on the back for a fun night of entertainment as the audience really loved the show.  A great finale with Viva Las Vegas with everyone in sparkly costumes was a good choice for the end of the show.

I am so glad I came and I’m sure they will continue to do well with their spring show of ’Guys and Dolls’. We were treated at the end to a song from this show and it looks like they will have another good production on their hands.

Congratulations to all for a lovely evening’s entertainment.