Paul Johnson | 12 Apr 2014 21:49pm
On Friday 14th June 2013, I was delighted to be invited to review Woodley Light Operatic Society’s latest presentation “Sweet Charity.” I always think that this show has a ‘Feel Good Factor’ and which was evident on the night of my visit, it had a good pace throughout with some interesting graphics at the beginning of each act and which lent a new dimension to the show. All the various facets of this show were brought together so that one was presented with a most enjoyable evening’s entertainment. Melissa Harper – (Charity Hope Valentine) – This character is an enormous challenge for any actor to undertake, being on stage virtually the whole of the performance. It requires stamina, a good singing voice, a choreographic ability and the necessity to portray all the various emotions required, and this we had with Melissa. – Congratulations on a superlative performance.
Matt Adamson – (Oscar Lindquist) – I liked Matt’s interpretation of this role. He was the nervous tax accountant who suffered from claustrophobia which was well portrayed in the lift sequence with ‘Charity’. His initial falling in love with her to his disillusionment after learning of ‘Charity’s’ past as a taxi-dancer was well acted, making it believable. Singing wise Matt has a good baritone voice which blended well in the duet “I’m The Bravest Individual” with ‘Charity’ and his solo with the company “Sweet Charity,” – Congratulations.
Clare Kendall – (Nickie)
Andrea Adamson – (Helene) – I have combined these two as they both gave faultless performances as dance-hall hostesses at the Fan-Dango Club and close friends of ‘Charity.’ They both interpreted their roles very well, clearly displaying their friendship with ‘Charity’ and at the same time their disillusionment with their lot in life. Vocally they blended well together particularly in the trio with ‘Charity’ “There’s Got to be something Better Than This” and their duet together “Baby, Dream Your Dream,” both well sung.
David Wilson – (Herman) – David made ‘Herman,’ the boss of the Fan-Dango Club, an unpleasant character but did reveal a softer side to his character towards the end of the second act, when he was involved in the musical number “I Love to Cry at Weddings.” A good characterisation.
Chris Hatch – (Vittorio Vidal) – As the Italian movie star Chris ensured he maintained the necessary accent throughout. The scene in ‘Vidal’s’ apartment when he was trying to seduce ‘Charity’ was well portrayed particularly when confronted with his jealous paramour ‘Ursula’ and his hiding of ‘Charity’ in the closet, very slick and amusing. His musical number “Too Many Tomorrows” was well sung – Well done.
Jane Andrews-Wilson – (Ursula March) – As the jealous paramour of ‘Vittorio’ Jane gave it just the right interpretation. I have seen Jane play many characters over the years, but I think this is the first time I have seen her play this particular role. Her jealous confrontation with ‘Vittorio’ was of a high standard – Well done.
Tony Towers – (Daddy Brubeck) – Tony improves with every show I see him in and the character of ‘Daddy Brubeck’ was made for him. This character really came to the fore in the number “The Rhythm of Life” at the start of the second act. Tony together with the chorus gave full meaning to this number presenting an excellent singing voice which was well within his range – Well done.
Gemma Bagshaw – (Rosie)
Jane Murphy – (Carmen) – These two minor roles were well presented with Gemma playing the part of the new girl at the Fan-Dango Ballroom and Jane in the role of ‘Carmen’ showed her friendship towards ‘Charity’ and both of them involved themselves fully into the action and routines.
Chorus of Hostesses, Customers, Congregation and Townsfolk – The twelve members in this chorus gave good support to the principals lending their voices to the musical numbers, making a good balanced sound, and at the same time, presenting various characters which ensured some good, balanced pictures were presented on stage, they certainly made an impact as the congregation in the “Rhythm of Life” number.
David Parsonson – (Director & Choreographer) – David is fully conversant with the facilities and the dimensions of the Kenton stage having directed and stage managed many shows at this venue, and it showed. His positioning of his cast and the movement together with entrances and exits could not have been bettered. Within the membership of Woodley L.O.S., he had cast some excellent characters bringing out all the correct characterisations. David also showed his expertise in the choreographic movements he had devised with the cast dancing the various routines precisely – Congratulations.
Jonathan Heard – (Musical Director) – Jonathan had gathered together eight excellent musicians who played the music by Cy Coleman with a good balanced sound under the strict control of Jonathan which ensured the music did not overshadow the performers but was an integral part of the musical numbers. The principals and chorus had been well rehearsed in the many musical numbers giving a good balanced sound in the chorus numbers.
Stage Manager & Crew – This was a well managed stage with swift and silent scene changes by the crew – Well done.
Lighting and Sound – The lighting and sound plots by Dinrino Theatre Services had been well devised. The lighting plot ensured the right atmosphere was generated in the various scenes with all having the necessary impact. I found the sound had been well balanced with no distortion of voices and which ensured the words could be heard. All cues on the night of my visit were well picked up and I saw no late cues – Well done.
Set – The set had, according to the programme, been sourced from various suppliers but it certainly was effective in the various scenes required for this show, I was particularly impressed with ‘Vittorio Vidal’s Apartment’ set which worked very well indeed, which combined with the other sets, set the scene for the whole of the production.
Film, Graphic Images & Animation Design – This was a new innovation that I have seen in amateur musical theatre in the use of graphics during the overture and the entr’acte for act two. For the opening we had rolling credits which I found eye-catching and interesting. For the entr’acte of the second act we had a selection of coloured high rise buildings which gradually approached the audience which certainly gained their attention. This was a most effective innovation and congratulations to James and Michael Gribble who I presume devised this system.
Costumes – A good selection of costumes sourced in house and from Shinfield Players wardrobe. They looked clean and fresh and suited the period and all the characters and chorus on display.
Programme – A well laid out programme of the right size by Jane Murphy and Kate Shaw containing all the necessary information. Cast photographs had been well reproduced and printed on high quality paper. How good to get a programme that is not overshadowed by adverts.
Front of House – Smart Front of House staff, friendly and welcoming to their audience. This aspect is always of a good standard by WLOS.
Thank you for inviting me to review your latest production and I look forward to your next two productions “The Gondoliers” and “Calamity Jane.”
NODA Representative – London Region – Area 13
- : admin
- : 12/06/2013