ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

A SHOWWITH NO NAME Director: Bradley Snelling Chorographer: Vanessa Cockburn Musical Director: Ed Nurse Alderley and Wilmslow Musical Theatre Company Not being able to perform for just over two years due to Covid closing all the theatre, the committee held Zoom meetings until the day came when it was able to bring the company together to begin rehearsals and to prove that old adage, “The Show Must Go On”. There was a lot of apprehension; will the members return, will there be a cast to put on a production? “The answer was a resounding “YES” and with a fair number of new members”. The other question was, what to present? The decision was made to present a revue! This was quite a decision: a revue is an evening purely of presentation, delivering the drama within the musical numbers, and engaging with the audience, in fact, total exposure. The creative team had to find a concept, a “set list”, and then had to stage it. There have been many successful stagings of revues. Trying to find another way to present an evening of song must have been quite a challenge. The auditorium was reconfigured, the band was on the stage, and the seating was turned sideways to be on three sides of the rostrum stage. This gave a cabaret style bringing the audience into the entertainment. All this created such an atmosphere. The next layers were the lighting and sound. The lighting plot included colour washing the walls, effective gobos, and dramatically bringing the lighting right down for solos. This happened around and in front of the audience enhancing the production. The sound mix never distorted the levels thus allowing the music to be enjoyed. The company mostly wore black which gave added style to the proceedings. The staging was well thought out: with different groupings each taking centre stage, as the others looked on in a freeze or just listened, there was movement and choreography very inventively devised. The musical content can be the make or break of entertainment. Thirtyone numbers were carefully chosen from musical theatre, such as, “Dear Evan Hansen”, “Wild Party” and “9 to 5”. In all, a veritable musical feast. In performance the whole company was given the opportunity to take the lead. Soloists included Lilly Smith, who believably sang “Gimme, Gimme” and “Burn”. New members, Niamh Donnelly, Emma Swain and Katie Wallett, proved the importance of facial expression. The power of the ensemble singing and its contribution was highlighted in “Seasons of Love” and “Skid Row” from “Little Shop of Horrors”. This led into a skilful duet, “Suddenly Seymour”, presented by Michael Shneck and Louise Colohan. Act two kept delivering with Katy Thomason-Stewart nailing, “When You’re Good to Mama”. Russel Caulfield “really was” Frank ‘n’ Furter. The closing number, “You will be Found”, brought the audience to its feet, a fitting compliment to the hard working company who achieved something that was so entertaining and different under that banner, “A Revue”.