Junction 4 Productions
Directed by Mandy Hall
Musical Director: Bruce McClaren
I had a very pleasant afternoon at the Lowther Pavilion watching Junction 4’s production of the musical, Witchfinder. I was not aware of this musical until my visit, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Straight from the opening number with its strong clear vocals from both the chorus, and the excellent Andy Lane whose portrayal of Thomas Potts was solid throughout.
The second number did not disappoint either, with the lovely voice of Amy Stockdale as Alizon Device.
The singing throughout was of a very high standard and congratulations must go to Musical Director, Bruce McClaren, not only for his excellent orchestra and the strong principal singing, but for the tightest chorus I have heard in a long, long while.
Director, Mandy Hall, must also be congratulated for her production by keeping the dialogue pace, and with clear diction. The pace slowed a little in the first scene, in King James court, but picked up again after that.
Now the first of two very minor niggles: personally, I am not a fan of major scenes being played against blacks, but the strong performances compensated for that. My second minor moan is at the opening of Act II, when the ladies were wearing so many different shades of socks/tights and style/colours of shoes and slipperettes, that it distracted from a nice opening.
Anyway, back to the positives which far outweighed any negatives.
Charlotte White, Shannen Emms and Darren Skelly played the love triangle superbly; their second half trio, “Each Passing Year”, was a highlight for me. Shannon has a beautiful singing voice and played the role of Lady Sarah to perfection.
Darren’s portrayal of Captain James Roberts was played with great authority. You could feel his pain as he wrestled with his conscience.
Charlotte was just brilliant as Catherine Howard. I very rarely get emotional at shows, but I had a lump in my throat as she was sent to her fate.
Another superb vocal performance was given Chris Sandiford, as Roger Nowell. His second half vocal, “You’ve Seen It in Your Nightmares”, was superb, as was his character portrayal.
I must mention two of the youngest principals, Kieran Melling and Phoebe Ann Mason, who both more than matched their elders.
Honourable mentions must go to Bernard Kennedy, who gave us some comic moments, as Josiah Wickham. I shall never look at cabbages in the same way again! And Mike Cummings, who gave an assured performance, as Edward Sykes.
Congratulations to everyone involved in this production. I look forward to your next show, South Pacific.