The band sounded amazing under the direction of Mike Payne, although sound balance between stage and pit left a little to be desired, which is always a problem at the Halls.
The music was quite difficult, and not much for the ensemble to get their teeth into, but all the numbers sounded good, and everyone had obviously put a lot of work into it.
Costumes were lovely throughout, the men looked sharp, and the ladies looked delightful.
The production was well thought out and directed by Linda Dyne, and the fact that the company had a change of leading man only 5 weeks before show week, is testament to the hard work and care of the cast and production team, as it did not show at all – so very well accomplished everyone.
Claire Stanley’s choreography was nicely conceived and carried out by the cast, different in concept, but applicable to the music and abilities of the cast.
Even though I saw the last performance there was still an energy and enthusiasm from the cast, which conveyed to me that they enjoyed it as much as the audience did.
The set worked well throughout.
Terry Cavender gave an impeccable performance as Lawrence, which was astonishing after only 5 weeks rehearsal – the relationships between him and the rest of the cast were very good, and he looked as if he’d been there since the beginning. Shows what a seasoned performer can do. Of course Terry has performed with HLOS before, so knew most of the people involved, which always makes slotting into a part easier – but the sheer volume of words, music and dancing must have been daunting, and I take my hat off to Terry for doing it in the first place, and also for making it look so easy!
Adam Thompson played Freddy, the young pretender, with plenty of energy and youthful abandon – perhaps a little too much at times, but on the whole it worked for me, and he was a good foil to the more serious conman that was Lawrence! Well sung and acted.
Claire Millins always brings elegance to her roles, and Christine was a part she could definitely bring it to bear in. I liked her almost gauche approach to start with, then morphing into the experienced con artist, very accomplished.
I loved Sarah Shipley’s portrayal of Muriel – she delivered her songs with accuracy, expression and a lovely vocal tone, whilst achieving an almost naive feeling to the woman who was basically being taken to the cleaners!! I thought the scene with Andre was excellent – showing a different side to them both!
Carl Robinson played the slightly understated Andre well, a good contrast to the smooth Lawrence and the enthusiastic Freddy. Very well done.
Jolene must be a lovely part to play, and Emma Fox did it justice – her accent was good, although I did have trouble attuning my ear to it for the first couple of sentences, but then it was fine. I loved the Western number, it was very lively.
The ensemble really entered into the lightness of the piece, and despite not having many numbers they could go to town in, accomplished a good level of performance and musicality.
I thought this was a charming show, with assured performances, and one which I thoroughly enjoyed.