Whistle down the Wind

Date 5th June 2013
Society Stevenage Lytton Players
Venue Gorden Craig Theatre
Type of Production Musial
Director Dave Slade
Musical Director Julie Daviess
Choreographer Louise Airey

Report

Author: Vicki Avery

This show is an emotional show with hauntingly beautiful songs and a simple story line. Think back to 1961 film staring Hayley Mills, Alan Bates and Bernard Lee and then reset the action in Kansas USA. Would it work? I asked myself, yes it did.  The part of “The Man” or Jesus was played to perfection by Steve Anderson and there was a definite connection between him and the children. He was able to deliver every type of emotion, the anger towards the villagers when he was captured and ending with the passion towards Swallow came over to the audience without any doubts whatever. The delivery of the “Annie Christmas” song was particularly poignant. The part of Swallow was a massive part for anyone to play, (remember this was played by Hayley Mills) but this time it was in the very capable hands of Chloe Roberts. The character grew as the story unfolded and she was able to sing the many difficult songs with ease, at the same time looking after her younger siblings played by Liberty Arnold as Poor Baby and Caitlyn Gee as Brat, these two also showed themselves as extremely capable and convincing actors. There are some beautiful songs in this show, not all of which are easy ones to get over but the cast worked hard and “Tyre Tracks” at the end of Act 1 which was sung well by Candy played by Sharon Curtis and Amos by Adam Rush. Sharon was able to deliver this as a typical rock chick singer and combined with Rob certainly got the audience on their side complete with motorcycle to complete the scene. There was good support from the chorus and smaller parts and I particularly enjoyed the delivery of the title song “Whistle Down the Wind” Lighting design by Andy Rouse was superb and complemented every change of both scene and emotion but unfortunately sound was an issue. Sound cues were often late or mics’ were left on when they should have been turned off. I also found that the amplification of the orchestra was far too loud and the underscoring often blocked out the dialogue. This was a real shame as the orchestra, under the baton of Julie Davies, was otherwise well balanced and the numbers had both punch and pathos. The set was well chosen and gave the company plenty of room to move in the well- choreographed dance numbers. Costumes and make-up were appropriate for the time. Over all this was a good production spoilt by poor sound quality, an issue that I am confident would have been addressed by the next performance. Thank you once again for you hospitality.