11th November 2016
Type of Production
Author: Barry Dilworth
If ever there was a “feel good” show to brighten up cold, damp November nights with Christmas spirit, then surely White Christmas fits the bill. This well-known story tells of a Broadway variety double act Wallace and Davies, who fall in love with the Haynes Sisters and subsequently set out to save the ailing ski lodge and hotel of their old Army General. It was great to see the well-known characters from the film come to life and sprinkle some of that Christmas magic on the audience.
“White Christmas”, requires two talented and capable duos to undertake the lead parts in the show, and Bob (Matt Darsley), Betty (Ruth Moore), Phil (Richard Ross) and Judy (Eileen Rawlinson) were excellent with both believable relationships as double acts and couples. Their experience and confidence in their characterisations was clear and I especially liked the comedic timing of Richard Ross and the lovely rendition of “Count Your Blessings”.
General Henry Waverly was well played by Bob Chaloner his character having both the strength required as the general and softness of a Grandfather. Great support was given by Rita (Lauren Spiers), Rhoda (Sarah Bailey) and Ralph Sheldrake played by Ikaro Gittins with Don Bremner providing some great comedy moments from the part of Ezekiel Foster, he easily had the whole audience behind him from his first entrance. However, the two standout stars have to be Alison Brander as Martha and Milli Patel as Susan both in their own way stole the show, Alison having great stage presence, comedic timing and a wonderful voice and Milli producing a performance well in advance of her 11 years.
The ensemble and dancers all performed with great enthusiasm. It was great to see the hours of hard work paying off and everyone enjoying themselves, something which transferred to the audience very quickly.
Musical Director, Giles Deacon had put together a wonderful band (shame they were hidden away) and created impressive musical numbers that had pace, good harmonies and excellent balance. The choreography of Christine Meadows allowed the cast and dancers to show their skills and was very much in keeping with the style of the show which included a great tap routine in Act Two.
Director, Val Watkinson, had gone for a very modern style of production with projected back drops and simple sets which worked very effectively, giving good pace to the production. The final scene set a beautiful picture with stunning costumes and snow falling freely on the audience, a lovely touch.
Once again AWMTC provided their audience with a real feel good evening and sent everyone away feeling a lot closer to Christmas than the 43 days that still had to go, as they joined in singing along with the title song.