Whistle Down The Wind

Date 24th October 2017
Society The Burton Musical Theatre Company
Venue De Ferrers Academy
Type of Production Musical
Director Karen Hambleton
Musical Director David Blackwell

Report

Author: Alan Bruce

Based on the novel of the same name by Mary Hayley Bell. An impressive opening to the show, sporting a large cast bringing the feeling of a small deeply religious town in 1950s Louisiana.

There were some great full cast numbers with splits between the children and adults working really well.

The set was well designed, all of the set and costumes were designed and made or supplied in house, most of which were very good, being picky, a few costumes and hairstyles were just too modern and short.

The Southern USA accents were well maintained throughout by all of the cast the three lead children particularly deserve a mention, nice voices, spoken and songs came across convincingly well.

The emotional turmoil losing both wife and mother still deeply felt by the family members leads to some lovely tender moments and songs.

The lighting team were excellent, well balanced, effective creative and moody.

The sound overall was well balanced, only criticism which may have been down to opening night, in some parts the orchestra drowned out the solo vocalists, due to the varied and emotive vocal performances required, also some late mic cues, a delay effect left on after a song causing speech echoes, nothing really major, Act Two was a big improvement.

Musical Director David Blackwell has done a fabulous job, painting a lovely sonic palette, some really nice orchestration utilizing a variety of instruments really brought the music to life. I loved the parts played in unusual time signatures that Webber has written into this show to create tension. Great light and shade.

Basic choreography, limited by the scope of the show, really good movement by all of the cast throughout, all engaged with their characters.

Director Karen Hambleton brought the best out of her talented cast. I must mention Holly Twells and Lee Smith's performances as Swallow and The Man, these roles were beautifully portrayed, desperate criminal versus sweet, gauche innocent in both action and song came over really well.

All of the main characters sang very well. This is a very emotive show in lots of ways, it is quite morbid as well. Not a show with a feel good factor but certainly thoughtful and entertaining.