West End Tonight

Date 2nd November 2019
Society West Kirby Musical Theatre Company (WKMTC)
Venue Westbourne Hall
Type of Production Concert
Musical Director Rob Bowness
Choreographer Deborah Clark

Report

Author: Joanne Rymer

West End Tonight

West Kirby Musical Theatre Company

2nd November 2019

 

The West End came to West Kirby in great style tonight. West Kirby Musical Theatre Company formerly known as West Kirby Light Opera Society (WKLOS) gave us an evening of pure magic.

The programme was introduced by Keith Phillips who together with the Wallasey School of Ballet (WSB) plus full Chorus, began the evening with a favourite from The Greatest Showman ‘From Now On ‘. What an opening number! We knew from now on we were in for something special!

For this West End Tonight concert WKMTC have chosen a wide reaching menu of West End musical numbers and included a few surprises. This was both demanding and challenging to the ensemble. Praise must go to Rob Bowness for his arrangement and musical direction which was both imaginative and faultless! Congratulations, Rob.

Congratulations must go to Victoria Wells who provided the fabulous accompaniment to this production.  A fine job indeed.

Mike Ellis took to the stage introducing the next act of this very different musical production and was his usual sartorially elegant and charming self providing the audience with insight and humour throughout the evening. 

The first surprise number came from ‘Something Rotten’, an original musical comedy which opened on Broadway in 2015, being nominated for 10 Tony Awards. The song ‘Right Hand Man’ was sung beautifully by Beki Jenkins and Keith Phillips.  Judging on the comedic content of this song, which they captured brilliantly, it would be well worth seeing this show when it arrives on the West End.

Most of us know ‘Ghost ‘as the 1990’s romantic thriller starring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. ‘Ghost' the musical opened in 2011 touring the UK till 2013. Helen Roberts delivered an extremely moving ‘With You’ capturing the depth of lyrics beautifully, a fine performance.

We were then thrown into ‘Ragtime’ another non mainstream musical telling the story of African Americans and European immigrants in early 20th century America. We were treated to three radically different numbers here. ‘New Music ‘, ‘Wheels of a Dream’ and ‘Till we reach that Day’. Steve Meadows, Caitland Edwards, Michael Kennedy, Tia Gill, Keith Phillips and Sophie Cottrell were joined by the WSB dancers, plus a perfectly balanced talented Chorus. Beautifully executed by all concerned. A mention for Tia Gill who supported by the Chorus sang ‘Till We Reach That Day’ it was a truly compassionate performance. Well Done.

Continuing the uniquely different song choices, we were treated to the wonderful trio of Joanne Poston, Amy Duggen and Beki Jenkins who were glorious singing ‘I Wish I May’ from the musical ‘Witches of Eastwick’,  for me a concert highlight.

Dreamgirls, a musical about an all-female group, opened on Broadway 1981, winning a Tony Award and arriving at The Savoy Theatre London in 2016, closing earlier this year.  A UK nationwide tour is being planned. The song ‘One Night Only’ was energetically delivered by Tia Gill, and I have to mention costume here, fabulous!  Both Tia and the members of WSB could have been on a Las Vegas stage. Well Done.

One of those WKMTC surprise choices I mentioned earlier is Jekyll and Hyde which opened on Broadway in 1997, having had a number of tours of the UK. It has never had a long run on The West End. Sophie Cottrell sang the song ‘Someone Like You’ beautifully, her soprano voice was pitch perfect, lovely performance Sophie.

Mike Ellis then announced two songs from the musical Bugsy Malone:  ‘Bad Girls’ and’ So You Want to be a Boxer’. This premiered in the West End in 1983 and originally featuring only children. Members of WSB took to the stage. They were splendid! Not only could they dance but they could sing beautifully.  I am sure Debbie Clark was justifiably proud. Great performances.

The final introduction of act one from Mike Ellis was for two songs from the popular musical ‘Chess’. The haunting ‘I Know Him So Well’ demonstrated just how the combined vocals of Tia Gill and Helen Roberts were absolutely stunning! How do you follow that? Well it was with ‘Anthem’ of course! Michael Kennedy sang splendidly and with both clarity and conviction.  Perfect end to a memorable first act, well done.

The second act continued in style with the Chorus and WSB’s rendition of the memorable song from ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’  ‘Moon River’. Definitely an audience favourite. The musical ‘Wicked’ has been wowing audiences since its opening in 2006 in the West End. The song ‘The Wizard and I’ is performed in the beginning of the first act of the musical. This begins Elphaba's desire to change herself, with the aid of the Wizard. Amy Duggen has a terrific voice giving a stunning performance of what is fundamentally a sad song.  For me, a show highlight.

 Continuing the showcase for WSB dancing and singing, the song ‘When I Grow Up’ from the musical Matilda which opened in The West End in 2011, was a delight. Firm favourite songs from ‘The Lion King’ ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ and ‘Circle of Life’ had the full Chorus and the WSB wowing us with beautiful harmonies with individual contributions, an absolute delight!

Another one of the surprise musical song choices is ‘Hairspray’ based in the 1960’s.  The song ‘You can’t Stop the Beat’ was brilliant, enthusiastically attacked by, Jason Jump, Beki Jenkins, Joanne Poston, Amy Duggan, Keith Phillips, Nick Hawksworth, Helen Roberts, Sophie Cottrell and Jemma Durston. Then we had ‘Momma I’m a Big Girl Now’ cheekily performed by Sophie Cottrell, Jemma Durston and Beki Jenkins, a perfect interpretation beautifully sung.

Mike Ellis introduced the next two musical choices. The Merseyside favourite ‘Tell Me It’s Not True’ from Willy Russell’s ‘Blood Brothers’ and ‘Come to the Garden’ from ‘The Secret Garden’ which was an RSC production in 2000. With the full chorus splendidly delivering both songs, fully showcasing their combined vocal talent.

Mike Ellis brought the concert to it finale introducing songs from Mary Poppins the musical, based on the 1964 Disney Film. One of the things I love most about the role of Mary Poppins is her confidence within herself. She doesn't claim to be perfect, she says she's practically perfect. Joanne Poston’s performance of the song ‘Practically Perfect’ was for me perfect. Beautifully timed and delivered, interacted with both the small children at her feet and the audience. Brilliant Jo!

We were all ready to celebrate so ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ was the finale for this masterly put together and performed concert. Congratulations to you all, thank you for inviting me it was a blast.

Special mention must go to The Wallasey School of Ballet and Debbie Clark, whose undoubted talent contributed to a very special evening.

Joanne Rymer  NODA