“Show Stoppers” an evening of songs from popular musicals, promises to be “something for everyone”, and it certainly did not disappoint on that level. Sheffield based theatre company - Ellesmere Theatre Company, who recently brought us the Dolly Parton musical 9 to 5 in Spring this year, are currently performing “Show Stoppers” for just four performances (including a Saturday matinee).
Hot Flush! by Julie Benson, with music and lyrics by Ollie Ashmore, is billed as ‘The Naughtiest Musical in Town’ and certainly Zodiac’s Director, Laura Bason, and Musical Director, Tim Walker, have combined perfectly to deliver what is undoubtedly one of the most entertaining, funniest and enjoyable productions I have seen this year.
Let me start by saying that BOS Musical Theatre Company’s Annie would have been impressive even for a professional show - the fact that it is an amateur company, featuring nine children, is nothing short of breathtaking.
The Mid Cheshire Amateur Operatic Society (MCAOS) were formed in 1960 with the amalgamation of the Northwich Music Society (formed 1949) and the Winnington Amateur Operatic society (1954) and continued to perform under that name until a recent name change and they became the Mid Cheshire Musical Theatre Company (MCMTC).
A Perfectly Delivered Classic Comedy Farce
Derek Benfield's 1982 comedy piece is a well-woven tale of suburban married life, affairs and all the complications that entail as each character twists and turns to avoid being caught out whilst misunderstandings aplenty run alongside. It is rightly considered one of the great classic farces and as such it is well presented in this production from Players Theatre under the direction of Bren Brooks.
“Once in every” month, you see one of more shows that astound you with their quality and impressiveness. Hardly a surprise with the talent in the city of Manchester but when you attend, with an open mind, not knowing anything about the show or having any preconceptions the pleasure of seeing such a spectacle unfold is more enjoyable. This stands for NK Theatre Arts’ latest offering of the (“lovingly ripped off”) Monty Python and the Holy Grail musical adaptation for stage “Spamalot”.
Originally created for Youth Music Theatre UK, and was performed for just two performances at South Hill Park, Bracknell in 2009, Loserville is a musical with music and lyrics by James Bourne and Elliot Davis. The story is based on an album entitled “Welcome to Loserville” from Bourne’s second band, Son of Dork. (With his first band being the chart-topping boyband Busted). The show then performed at both West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds and The Garrick Theatre, in the West End in 2012 and revived in 2015 at London’s Union Theatre.
A Brilliantly Funny Production
The Farndale series of plays by David McGillivray in collaboration with Walter Zerlin Jnr (and with a little contribution from William Shakespeare) are a spoof of local amateur productions, with their take on Macbeth first staged at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1976. It is a brave move for any company to attempt a play within a play, especially when all the characters are excruciatingly bad, but as their season opener, The Carlton Players, under the direction of Marc Smith, throw themselves enthusiastically into this intentionally shambolic production of the Scottish play involving last minute changes of cast, a variety of accents, a collapsing set, witches in wheelchairs, flying props and much, much more.
LIDOS (Leeds Insurance Dramatic and Operatic Society) presents an amateur production of Company at the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds. Sondheim’s award winning musical, based on George Furth’s book, premiered on Broadway in 1970. The musical focuses on Bobby (James Sidgwick), a 35 year old single man, who is unable to commit to a relationship. He associates with his best friends who are five married/engaged couples and has on and off relationships with three girlfriends; April (Mariah Young), Marta (Sophie Ketteringham) and Kathy (Gemma Buck).
They say that 'train'ing is key to success but that isn't always the case. Mossley AODS' show tonight, at the George Lawton Hall, is just that - a success. They also say that the best actors are those who engage with the audience and act even before walking on stage. This bunch clearly are as each member seen by the audience before the show created director Michael Jones-McCaw's cleverly desired effect of us being in a real train station.
I suppose that one must come to accept that modern adaptations, reworkings and updatings of Shakespeare are not only acceptable but preferable to both modern actors and audiences. My personal feeling towards this is that if the work is to be changed to bring it more 'up-to-date', then don't just change the setting and the costumes, but the language also needs to change too... in other words, do as Shakespeare himself did with most of his plays... find a good story already in existence, and then write your own version. West Side Story is a classic example. A contemporary Musical set in New York using original dialogue and song. All too often do I see a modern interpretation of a Shakespeare play to find that the spoken word is at odds with action and costume. And so whilst the themes of Shakespeare's plays way well be timeless, the setting and language certainly are not.