Musical and Dramatic Society
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NODA Review -
What a lovely warm welcome greeted me when I arrived at Thalian Hall, the Welwyn Thalian’s headquarters. A modest sized hall with a wide stage at one end. I immediately noticed the surround on the proscenium arch covered with beautifully painted roses and thorns and a crown in the center.
The opening number was well sung and immediately put everyone in panto’ mood.
Billy (Tim Spinks) was well cast, with a good rapport and a cheeky smile. It is essential that whoever plays this role understands that they are the main link between the storyline and the audience and this was achieved perfectly.
King Norbert (Peter Farrell) played the frustrated yet lovable foil to Queen Dorothy, ably portrayed by Peter Sayers. This was a good pairing with the experience to verbally bounce off each other.
Kitty (Jodie Mardlin) was soft and gentle and would be loved by every little girl in the audience. I would have liked a few more cat like movements and hands cupped into paw shapes but on the whole a pleasing performance.
Fairy Peaceful (Gillian Shaw) was very well cast. Good clear diction and excellent use of pause and awareness of audience. I liked this portrayal very much, well done.
The three Fairy Godmothers (Stephanie Dunn, Louise Bateman and Vicki Collins) worked well as a team and supported Fairy Peaceful appropriately.
Carabosse (Amanda Sayers) or should I call her Cara Bossy, did an excellent job as the evil Fairy. This experienced actress knew just how to work her audience to the maximum. Vocal range was good and facial expression perfect for the character.
Spindleshanks (Tammy Wall) gave us a new and alternative slant to the evil fairy’s sidekick. Good interaction with the audience and I enjoyed the modern interpretation on cat movements. However, her costume seemed somewhat lacking for such a bad cat. Ripped coloured fishnets covering the arms, legs and chest overlaid on the black might have added another dimension and made her character visually more interesting.
Princess Aurora was played by a young Lauren Hill. Playing Principal Girl is a good way to learn your craft but you need to wok on projection and breath control. Vocals were good but do not be afraid to own the stage, especially when you sing. This was a nice performance that will develop with experience. A leading lady in the making I think.
Prince Orlando (Alison Downes) although a relatively minor character in this version of the story, did well to portray the typical Principle Boy. Body stance was perfect, with thighs pulled up tight and shoulders back. The duet with Princess Aurora was enjoyable but lacked power but perhaps this was due to the choice of song.
The ensemble worked hard, singing, dancing and smiling throughout. The rat dance was great fun but the highlight for me was the Dream Land Ballet. This had a beautiful fluidity about it and I enjoyed it very much
Lighting was well positioned and costumes appropriate although I would have liked to see Princess Aurora with her hair taken off her face and her makeup a shade darker. This is panto’ time so bring on the false lashes and bright lipstick! For me the fairies needed more sparkle on their eyes and cheeks and again hairstyles needed addressing. Makeup for the OTT characters was good but for mere mortals faces were very pale and the stage lighting drained the skin of colour.
Choreography was simple yet adequate for the size of stage and the various abilities of the cast. No one looked out of place or awkward.
This production was performed well considering the weakness of the script and I was pleased that some current jokes were interjected to bring the dialogue up to date.
Well done to you all.
Thank you for your hospitality -
Our Next Show in May 2020
Pirates of Penzance -
I don’t mind admitting that Gilbert & Sullivan have never been on my playlist, nor had I ever seen any of their operettas. I was familiar with several of their compositions however, songs such as “I am the very model of a modern Major General” and “When a fellon’s not engaged in his employment” (a.k.a. A Policeman’s Lot Is Not A Happy One). So I was unsure quite what to expect when I took my seat for the final performance of The Thalians latest offering “The Pirates Of Penzance”at the Thalian’s Hall in Bridge Road East, WGC on Saturday last.
I need not have worried as the entire show was a visual and musical delight from beginning to end. I do not exaggerate when I say it had everything from comedy, pathos, virtuoso singing (more of that later in my review), rousing ensemble singing, glamour, and did I mention comedy? Added to this was a first-
With a cast list of 24, fairly evenly split between ladies and gentlemen, many taking dual roles, it would not be practical to name everyone. However, I must single out some of the principal performers for special mention. Adam Beckman is not a newcomer to Thalians and was cast as The Pirate King, in stature and vocal performance I feel sure he would not be out of place of the stage of many professional opera companies, his commanding on-
The Policewomen, the Concubines and the Pirates completed the cast and were lively, enthusiastic and rarely off stage. The costumes, choreography and simple stage set complemented the whole production and were much appreciated by the capacity audience who gave a seated but rousing ovation for a truly great evenings entertainment.
Congratulations to all involved, particularly Peter Farrell, the Musical Director, Tammy Wall and Alison Downes for choreography and Amanda Sayers, the Director who was also responsible for choreography. I await Thalians next production with anticipation.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels -
Taking on a show that few people know anything about can be a risky business as many a Society can testify. However, Welwyn Thalians took the gamble to perform the musical adapted from the 1988 film which starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin as two conmen working on the French Riviera and should really have paid dividends. The show was very funny and definitely should have pulled more people into the theatre. Principally the show is a five-
Vicki Avery Rep District 9
This was Clive Dancey’s first venture into directing adults and if you are going to cut your teeth on anything then why not go for a “Biggy!” The challenge of Chicago needed a well drilled cast who were used to working in a somewhat confined space, but with careful creative execution this is exactly what he got. The stark black setting, off set with cell block bars gave a minimalistic feel and the clean and classic letters of Chicago in red lights created a very dramatic effect. If the setting and props are stripped back to the minimum then one has to rely on effective lighting. This was well designed and took our eye exactly to the action. Musical Director Daniel Ephgrave and his small orchestra integrated into the show well although there were a few times when those members of the cast who did not project their voices quite so well were overtaken and could not be heard. Choreography was slick, and as Fosse-
Vicki Avery Noda Rep’ District 9
Due to recent events, Postponed until further notice