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Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen

Giz Giz
Thoroughly Modern Millie

7 July 2017

This tale of a 1920’s small town girl coming to New York, not to find fame but a career and husband, was an ideal vehicle to show off the talents of the youngsters in this company. Rebecca McCall was outstanding in the lead role of Millie Dillmont with a powerful singing voice, whether in the upbeat numbers such as the title song or the more reflective love song “Jimmy” at the close of Act 1, and excellent stage presence. Bradley Philips as Jimmy Smith, the undercover millionaire, was excellent as Millie’s (eventual) love interest and I particularly liked his rendition of “What Do I Need With Love?”. Hollie Cunningham as Miss Dorothy, the society girl out to discover how the other half live, had a beautiful voice and a nice ditzy blonde comedy touch. Ewan Bruce as Trevor Graydon,...

Full details for “Thoroughly Modern Millie”

Whitehall Theatre, Dundee

Thomson-Leng Musical Society
Grease

1 July 2017

The cast exploded on to the stage at the show’s opening singing “Grease Is the Word” in a brilliant hip-hop dance routine filled with choreographic ingenuity which continued throughout the show. Everyone knows this show, filled with great song numbers, about Rydell High's first day of the new school year. We met Danny, leader of the T-Birds, brilliantly played by Kieran Bole at his swaggering best in the John Travolta role and totally at ease with his character, always “combing” his quiff , and uttering “uh-hu” when required! The object of his dreams was Sandy (Niamh Anderson), coming across as a bright-eyed, innocent-looking, young lady, giving us a wonderful rendition of “Hopelessly Devoted To You”. She makes friends with the Pink Ladies – wonderfully brought to the stage by Connie...

Full details for “Grease”

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen

AOC Productions
Chess the Musical

28 June 2017

A cast of 27 singer actors, assisted by 10 members of the Scott School of Dancing, and a 22 piece orchestra held the audience enthralled with the powerful music and lyrics of this modern classic from the opening notes until the last note of the finale. By using a simple, black and white multi-tiered chessboard inspired set and black and white costumes the producer let the music and acting bring colour to the production – from the upbeat “Merchandisers” number through the comic “Embassy Lament” to poignant duet “You and I”. Scott Jamieson as American Chess Champion Frederick Trumper had the arrogance of the character to perfection (to the point where you almost wanted to hiss and boo) but was also able to bring out the vulnerable side as displayed in his renditions of “Pity the Child”....

Full details for “Chess the Musical”

Wyness Hall, Inverurie

MSD Productions
Comedy Of Errors

24 June 2017

This adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s early plays used puppets, magic and music, along with the Bard’s words to tell the story of two sets of estranged identical twins and the confusion which arises when their paths cross. The back story of the piece is set through puppetry, magic and mime by Dr Pinch (Josh Simpson) and his troupe of players (Meg Stranger, Ruby Harrison, Katie McLean and songstress Carys Taylor). Paul Patterson and Reuben Gedge as twins Antipholus of Syracuse and Ephesus respectively gave excellent performances. So too did Imogen Watt and Erin Stark as Dromio of Syracuse and Ephesus respectively, their twin servants, with their comic antics and expressions eliciting lots of laughter from the audience. Strong performances were also given by Olivia Watt (Adriana) and...

Full details for “Comedy Of Errors”

Florians Theatre, Inverness

Florians Drama Club
Barefoot in the Park

17 June 2017

Neil Simon’s 1963 comedy, telling the tale of newlyweds Corrie and Paul setting up home in their New York bijou top floor apartment, had the audience smiling and laughing from the start as they recognised from experience the trials and tribulations the main characters were undergoing. Kadee Fraser as the young wife Corrie Bratter, trying her best to make the tiny flat into a perfect home for her new husband, portrayed the part perfectly running the full gamut of emotions from love to hysterical banshee to seething anger. Matthais Kremer as Paul Bratter, a young hard-working lawyer, who would do (almost) anything to please her – including catching a dreadful cold by walking barefoot in the park through the snow – was a superb match to her. Both actors brought the humour in the piece to...

Full details for “Barefoot in the Park”

Stonehaven Town Hall

Ury Players
The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society: Murder Mystery

16 June 2017

I was delighted to be dragged out of “retirement” to cover this show for my successor Gordon, who was on holiday. It has always been a delight to attend the Ury Players’ plays in Stonehaven Town Hall and this trip was no exception. This comedy has probably the longest title in theatre but on this occasion the smallest cast playing numerous characters. How the members of Ury Players even remembered who they were at any time during the show beats me but remember they did and the collapsing set, falling pictures and confused props brought back many memories of on-stage disasters over the years. The murder mystery is set in the drawing room of Checkmate Manor where the family are gathering for the reading of Sir Reginald Bishop’s will. In total control at all times was Lynn Zaccarini as...

Full details for “The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society: Murder Mystery”

The Little Theatre, Dundee

Dundee Dramatic Society
Whisky Galore - The Radio Play

10 June 2017

Everyone knows this tale from Sir Compton Mackenzie’s famous novel. I’ve seen the film, the musical and, now, here was the tale in a radio play form. And very interesting it was all, too. The action takes place in the recording studio of the BBC Home Services in 1944, with three cast members – two male and one female - playing the 26 characters required. The stage set was cleverly constructed and showed a sound studio and a recording booth, plus the necessary microphones. We then met our lead actors and, as was the custom at the time in 1944, suitably attired in evening suits and evening gown! Then, John Snagge (Mat Dodson) announced what was going to happen during the performance and that, at times, there would be some audience participation required! He then retired to the sound...

Full details for “Whisky Galore - The Radio Play”

Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen

Aberdeen Youth Music Theatre
Footloose

9 June 2017

What a display of energy and talent we were treated to by this group of teenagers – from the opening number “Footloose” to the closing hand clapping and foot stomping mega mix. Callum Adams as lead character, troubled teen Ren McCormack, was outstanding not only in his acting and singing but also his sometimes gymnastic dancing. Taylor Henderson as his love interest, preacher’s daughter Ariel Moore, portrayed equally well the rebelliousness and vulnerability of the girl on the brink of womanhood as shown in the numbers “Holding Out For A Hero” and “Almost Paradise”. Alastair Eddie as the Reverend Shaw Moore was very strong as the grieving and over protective father and his rendition of “Heaven Help Me” was very powerful. Stephanie Walker, as his wife Vi Moore, also gave a strong...

Full details for “Footloose”

Blyth Hall, Newport-on-Tay

Tayport Amateur Musical Society
Rock of Ages

7 June 2017

Again, a completely new show for me. And it is confession time . . .  I approached this show with trepidation because I knew it was a Rock Musical and . . . this music does not appeal to me at all! That said, I went with an open mind. The show began with an energy-fused number with the entire company taking part and bonded as one to bring an extremely pulsating show to the stage. Now I knew many of the players on stage but, due to wigs, additional facial hair pieces etc., I had great difficulty in recognising who was who! The story line is rather complicated and, at times, rather raunchy, and has a great variety of characters playing the many various parts. Neil Hutton made a first class Lonnie Barnett, who narrated the show, set in Hollywood 1987; and Gavin White, was his side-kick,...

Full details for “Rock of Ages”

Lochgelly Centre Theatre

Lochgelly & District Amateur Musical Ass.
Mack & Mabel

1 June 2017

"Mack & Mabel" the musical written by Michael Stewart and music by Jerry Herman has had a patchy history. Poor success on Broadway - running for only sixty six performances - and a limited West End run in 1995, has given cause for the show to be rewritten a number of times in an effort to achieve more audience appeal. 

However, tonight's performance certainly appealed to the audience in Lochgelly Theatre!  From the very first note of one of my favourite overtures, played by an excellent band in the very safe hands of Suzanne Stewart, we could tell we were in for an evening of first class musical theatre.   

The show is narrated by Mack (Mark Grieve) who looks back over a twenty year love story, as he came to meet and then lose his leading lady, Mabel Normand. Mark's performance as...

Full details for “Mack & Mabel”

Johnstone New Town Hall

Johnstone Phoenix Theatre Group
The Little Mermaid - Disney

1 June 2017

This classic musical fantasy was an inspired choice for the Youth Theatre. Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s 1836 story, the tale is about the beautiful young mermaid Ariel who longs to leave behind her home in the ocean (and her tail and fins) and live on land and to convince the handsome Prince Eric that she is the girl with the enchanting voice he has heard from the deeps.
Sarah Smillie took the role of Ariel with Katie Wood as her best friend Flounder. Sebastian (Abbey Bone) is a caring and anxious crab who does her best to keep Ariel safe. King Triton (David Mackenzie) is ruler of the undersea kingdom and not someone to be trifled with. But he has an adversary in Ursula (Sarah Carruthers), the wicked sea witch who seeks to overthrow the King. She is supported by a group of poor...

Full details for “The Little Mermaid - Disney”

Whitehall Theatre, Dundee

Downfield Musical Society
Aladdin Jnr & The Jungle Book

27 May 2017

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Downfield’s new musical youth bounded on to the stage in an abundance of lively enjoyment, energy, and enthusiasm to present to their audience two very popular Disney stage shows (abridged) both of which were popular with young and old alike. We were whisked off to the world of green foliage in the jungle to meet the well known Jungle Book characters. Jungle boy, Mowgli, was played with great boyish charm by Fraser Paterson, who was guided by a bossy Bagheera, fantastically played by Tilly McLardy with fine, clear diction. Hannah Shepherd made a loveable Baloo the Bear who gave us a wonderful Bare Necessities musical number. Then there was the menacing Shere Khan, full of evil intent, brought to life by Ava Divers, and the hip-hop King Louie, dancing around with great...

Full details for “Aladdin Jnr & The Jungle Book”

Howden Park Centre Livingston

Livingston Players
9 to 5

25 May 2017

The show opens on a busy scene of folk getting ready for a normal 9 to 5 day’s work in an office dominated by the typical alpha male ego. Office politics, broken relationships and gender bias involve three ladies who grasp the opportunity to get their own back, redress the balance and grow in stature along the way. Some hilarious scenes including the marihuana induced fantasies and the kidnapping and ‘suspension’ of the boss tickle the audience - certainly the female punters. Violet the talented and overlooked office manager is well characterised by Lynne Hurst who strikes a keen balance between uncertainty in a new relationship and assertiveness in her ability to run a large organisation.  Unrecognisable as herself in the part of Doralee, Suzanne Smail catches the Dolly Parton accent...

Full details for “9 to 5”

Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

Harlequin-Eastwood Theatre For Youth
All Shook Up

25 May 2017

Now in its 40th Year and for something special, Harlequin decided to repeat a favourite which they last performed in 2009 and again, it all shook up the theatre at Eastwood with the songs of Elvis, the King of the 1950s – reminiscence for some and new but still quite fresh to others.   Sophie Aziz was well cast as Natalie, the young mechanic – later masquerading as “Ed”.   Jack McNeilage took the lead role of Chad, the hip-swinging rock guitarist just released from prison.    Chad, in need of a mechanic is introduced to Natalie who is instantly smitten.   Dennis (Max Yuill) who is Natalie’s best friend has a real crush on her but she is oblivious.    The glamorous Sandra (Rebecca Baillie), curator of the local museum appears and Chad falls instantly in love with her.   Kevin Glasgow as...

Full details for “All Shook Up”

Falkirk Town Hall

Project Theatre
The Jungle Book Kids

20 May 2017

This happy troupe of youngsters gave an enthusiastic performance of Disney’s adaptation from the film. Human Boy Mowgli has lived in the jungle all his life but has now been banished by tiger Shere Kahn who senses he is still in the jungle and tries to track him down. Mowgli has his champion in Bagheera the panther who tries to get him safely out of the jungle. On the way they have to deal with the scavenging Vultures, the wily and sinuous snake Kaa, a herd of elephants, a very threatening set of monkeys and a giant bear Baloo until all of his jungle friends rise up to challenge Shere Kahn and then all is resolved. Mowgli is played by Aaron Ross with innocence and sangfroid, Shere Kahn by Aiden Johnstone in steely, dominating fashion and Bagheera by Eilidh Smith as agile, clever and...

Full details for “The Jungle Book Kids”

Corn Exchange, Cupar

Cupar Amateur Musical Society
CAMS in Concert 2017

18 May 2017

One could easily imagine, having attended CAMS in Concert for at least four consecutive years, that some elements of repetition in the programme might occur. Not a bit of it!  MD Kate Doig’s inventiveness when it comes to putting a concert programme together, is second to none.  Of course a programme can be as good as you make it, but it fails unless you have the quality of performers to realise it  -  and CAMS demonstrated once again tonight that they can do just that – and do it justice!  

Thirty-four musical numbers split over three sections - Transport and Travel, Friend or Foe and Showstoppers – successfully covered the timeline from the 1940s to the present day, beginning with Oklahoma! and coming bang up-to-date with Aladdin. It was encouraging to see a cast of twenty six,...

Full details for “CAMS in Concert 2017”

Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

EROS Musical Society
Anything Goes

18 May 2017

The music of Cole Porter is always a winner and a story set on board ship is ideal by the compactness and versatility of the set.    Billy Crocker (Thomas McFarlane), the young Wall Street broker is in love with the attractive debutante Hope Harcourt (Lynne Fyffe) but she is engaged to the stuffed shirt Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, amusingly played by Roger Topping.   Lesley Gamble cast as Hope’s mother Evangeline was suitably haughty and overbearing, although near penniless and Lindsay Stevenson gave a solid portrayal of a Wall Street Ivy League banker.   Comedy was safely entrusted to Fiona Prior as the attractive evangelist turned night club hostess Reno Sweeney with her Angels with the dubious names of Purity (Alison Mathers), Virtue (Jennifer Claire McKay), Chastity (Marianna McLauchlan)...

Full details for “Anything Goes”

Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

Runway Theatre Company
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

12 May 2017

Runway Theatre Company started life in 1967 as The Glasgow Airport Players, all members being staff at the old Renfrew Airport.  Until 2003, a pantomime was produced each year, then after a break in 2007, with many members not then being airport staff, the name changed to Runway Theatre Company.  In 2010 there was a breakaway from purely panto, and Camelot was produced in Glasgow’s West End, in a theatre on University premises, sadly no longer available.  The die was cast, however, and since then the company has produced a musical and a panto each year, each to great acclaim, as they have drawn on talent from all over the West of Scotland.

And WOW! this production of Priscilla certainly kept up the standards Runway has been nurturing for years.  Eastwood Park Theatre is not the...

Full details for “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”

Dobbie Hall Larbert

Larbert Amateur Operatic Society
The Addams Family

11 May 2017

This new musical comedy adds to the list of firsts for the District from LAOS and offers a variety of challenging roles and music. The story line really concerns the love story of young Wednesday, daughter of Gomez and Morticia the leaders of the dead and the ugly, who has fallen for a normal boy Lucas from a respectable family. Wednesday engineers an invitation to dinner for Lucas and his family but with Gomez torn between granting his daughter’s request and keeping it a secret from his wife, problems abound.  Lynsey Craig gave a realistic portrayal of Wednesday fearing her mother’s reaction and singing well particularly in Pulled. Stewart Borthwick was suitably cast as Gomez, catching the complexity and tension of the father and husband loyalties and singing Trapped and What If with...

Full details for “The Addams Family”

Brunton Theatre Musselburgh

Encore
Oklahoma!

11 May 2017

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The music of Rodger’s and Hammerstein takes a bit of beating particularly Oklahoma! with it’s well known and memorable melodies.

Hazel Gray set the scene at a dreamy pace at the opening and throughout gave an animated performance as the salt of the earth Aunt Eller. Enter Kevin McConnachie (Curly) very much looking the part with a lovely voice and a relaxed stage presence. He is of course trying to win...

Full details for “Oklahoma!”

St Ninian's Hall Stirling

Stirling & Bridge of Allan Operatic Society
Let The Good Times Roll

6 May 2017

This fund raising concert showed what this company can do. This was a bright and varied programme of songs from musicals and musical film with favourites from musicals the likes of Cabaret, Sound of Music , and Oliver! and from the repertoires of Cole Porter and Irving Berlin. Delightful harmonies from the company in the opening numbers, and later, and plenty of rhythm throughout were a mark of the evening. Two comperes ably introduced the sections, the soloists and the links between them. Ross Nicol effortlessly reprised his role from White Christmas with Count Your Blessings and later delighted with On The Street Where You Live and This is the Moment. Chris Taylor showed her versatility in a variety of songs from I Hate Men to comedy in I Shall Scream with David McCabe and Almost...

Full details for “Let The Good Times Roll”

Whitehall Theatre, Dundee

Thomson-Leng Musical Society
Bugsy Malone

6 May 2017

As the show opened, we witnessed a gangland fight with splurge guns which resulted in dead bodies lying all over the place! Welcome to the world of Bugsy Malone! This was the time of mobsters, molls, guns, and speakeasies! I was amazed to learn that this large cast of youngsters on stage ranged from 9-13 years of age and, believe me, watching them go through their dancing, singing and acting roles, whether as a soloist or a member of the company, was a privilege! Each and every young person on that stage was full of energy and exuberance. In the name role was Ross Brownlow making a very convincing Bugsy, all suave and assured, as he tried to befriend girl friend, Blousey, and carry out orders for mob boss Fat Sam, played by a strong and confident Neave Macfarlane, literally showing who...

Full details for “Bugsy Malone”

The Fullarton Theatre, Castle Douglas

The Fullarton (Castle Douglas) Ltd
Hairspray

6 May 2017

Hairspray is perhaps one of the most energetic musicals of recent times, bringing together issues around tolerance, integration, and acceptance of others.

It was great to see such a young cast in this show and this can only be a great benefit to The Fullarton going forward. The set was simple but very effective with the excellent use of back projections to help change the scenes.

The cast burst on to the stage with energy and confidence and their vibrant enthusiasm was sustained throughout. This was a well cast show with strong characterisation, fast movement, good singing and choreography.

The leading light was Rowan MacDougall (on the night I saw the show) who turned in an exhilarating performance playing the huge role of Tracy Turnblad. She provided an impressive and flawless...

Full details for “Hairspray”

Priory Church South Queensferry

Forth Dimension Musical Productions
A Spring Concert

5 May 2017

The small company of eleven adults and eight juniors immediately had the audience on their side with the bright opening number ‘Dancing On The Ceiling’ with the audience clapping along enthusiastically. This was an interesting programme of contemporary numbers comprising of fun and moving numbers which appealed to this most supportive audience.

‘Water Under the Bridge’ sung by Caty Kerr was certainly one of the moving numbers whilst ‘Venus’ sung by the ladies chorus was full of fun. In contrast ‘Chasing Cars’ demonstrated some very smooth, harmonious singing. An old favourite,Petula Clark’s ‘Downtown’ was very well delivered by Gill Sullivan with a strong backing trio,Caty, Zoe and Holly.

One of my particular favourites in the first half was Cold Play’s ‘The Scientist/Yellow’ which...

Full details for “A Spring Concert”

Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen

Aberdeen Youth Music Theatre
Seussical the Musical

5 May 2017

Over 60 children, in the P6-S1 age range, took to the stage to bring to life the colourful characters of the world of Dr Seuss – from the microscopic Whos to Horton the Elephant. Sophie Love, as the narrator of the piece Cat in the Hat, had an excellent voice and stage presence. The hero of the piece, Horton the Elephant, was played by the excellent Joel Anderson whose portrayal of the loyal pachyderm had the audience sympathy from the start. Playing his neighbour (and unnoticed admirer) Gertrude McFuzz the bird with the one feather tail, was the petite Rachael Henderson with a strong singing voice and good stage presence. JoJo, the young Who befriended by Horton, was well portrayed by Tiana Mudkavi and the duet with Horton “Alone in the Universe” was extremely touching. Olivia Douglas...

Full details for “Seussical the Musical”
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