What a delightful show Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is – light and frothy, with plenty of humour –I thoroughly enjoyed this production.
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.
By Nova Horley
Such a fun show, and one where the cast had obviously gelled and had a whale of a time, which translated to the audience and increased our enjoyment. Sam Gaines directed well, and gave the production a sense of freshness and humour.
The simple set worked well, all the props and different small scene changes were accomplished with minimal fuss, which meant the whole production flowed well.
The set was enhanced by some amazing lighting from Fred Rayment. Our Regional Councillor was especially enthusiastic about this element of the production, and the use of gobos projected onto the ceiling of the Hall. The lighting effect for the finale was great, and I loved the All About the Green, with the final tableau lighting creating a super look and feel.
The costumes were all very colourful and on the whole suitable.
Choreography from Fleur Baikie was extremely good all the way through, with the ensemble in All About the Green being especially sharp. The numbers worked well, and everyone was able to really give it their all.
Musically Beth Thomas always gets the optimum from her singers and musicians, there were a couple of places where sound balance was not good, but this is always a problem in the Halls. The band was excellent, and really gave themselves to the music, which gave us a lot of enjoyment. Harmonies from the cast were maintained well.
Robbie, the wedding singer of the title, was played very well by Adam Thompson, a new face to HLOS, both from an acting and singing point of view. He gave it his all, such energy and some lovely moments in his duets with Julia. A good all round performance.
Anna MacDonald created a charming Julia, and I liked her relationship with Robbie, and also with Holly. Anna always gives a well-studied often slightly under-stated portrayal, which contrasts nicely with the other characters.
Holly, played by Georgina Dalton, was a good full-on character, creating an added dimension between herself and Julia – and a real empathy, which made it seem very real.
Robbie’s bandmates Sammy and George, played by David Barton and Damien Winchester respectively, gave us good contrasting characters, David slightly calmer and the more respectable of the two, with a very extravagant blonde curl to his wig – which went well with the character. Damien always brings great performance skills to any part, and this was no exception – I loved the comedy and campness he put into the part, along with the great costumes and wigs. I liked the whole trio, they contrasted and interacted well with each other, and gave us good musical skills as well.
Carl Robinson created a good character as Glen Guglia, older and more worldly than Julia and her friends, with a suave, slightly sleazy edge, which suited the part.
Linda – Robbie’s intended who walked out on him – was beautifully played and sung by Roxie Parkins – such a deep, full voice, with a bright and lively interpretation.
I thought Sarah Priddy gave us a lovely performance as Rosie, Robbie’s Grandma, a good comedy portrayal, with a stylish edge. Extremely amusing, I loved her duet with George, they are both larger than life and gave it their all.
Christy Monson performed Angie very well, with nice empathy with her daughter.
I loved the way the whole cast and the junior ensemble really got into the feel of the production and the choreography, everyone did a super job, and along with the principals created a good quality, fun show that upheld the HLOS standard.
John Manning - Herts Advertiser
THE SHOW GOES ON DESPITE BIN MISHAP
Sheer determination ensured members of the Harpenden Light Operatic Society reached the end of their performance on their opening night of The Wedding Singer on Monday.
Part way through the first half a giant industrial wheelie bin in which the leading man, Adam Thompson, was hiding to escape from angry wedding guests crashed off the stage at the Harpenden Public Hall and into the orchestra pit.
Although badly shaken he and members of the orchestra were able to carry on after a few minutes.
The show, which dates from 2006, and was based on a film of the same name, typifies the musical and fashion genre of the 1980s. It is brash, racy and loud and that led to the second problem faced by the cast.
Unfortunately, the sound system at Harpenden Public Hall is simply not good enough for this type of show and members of the audience had great problems in hearing words and so could not follow the convoluted plot.
The story of The Wedding Singer is a twist on boy meets girls and falls in love. In this case boy is jilted by girl number one and falls for another, but she is just about to marry a rich Wall Street finance shark.
Needless to say all’s well that ends well.
The boy is Robbie Hart, lead singer of a band that sings at weddings and played by Adam Thompson who was making his debut with the society. His performance overall was sound with good acting ability.
Anna Macdonald as Julia Sullivan, the girl he fell in love with, had one of the best voices in the show and in spite of being the only other person on stage during the earlier incident, she gave a thoroughly good performance.
Others in the large cast of principals who stood out were Georgina Dalton, David Barton, Damien Winchester, Carl Robinson, Roxy Parkins and Sarah Priddy who created a wonderful Rose, the grandmother of Robbie.
Overall this was not a show for me, but it must be said that the band in the orchestra pit had some good tunes and handled them very well.
The show was directed by Sam Gaines, with musical director Beth Thomas and choreography by Fleur Baikie.
How many of these do you remember???
What an AMAZING decade for children's TV.
There was no CBeebies, CBBC, Nickleodeon, Nick Jnr, Disney Channel, etc, etc, etc. Children's television on BBC1 and ITV started just after we all got home from school at about 3:20 and finished at 5:30/6:00 and that was it!
It was a time when we were always being told "Why don't you just switch off your television set and go and find something else instead?" (that phrase seems to have stuck around)
Oh! and who could forget Saturday morning television?
BBC started the decade with Multi-Coloured Swap Shop presented by Noel Edmonds. When this finished in 1982, it was replaced by Saturday Superstore presented by Mike Read and Sarah Greene, and then from 1987 to the 90s Going Live! presented by Phillip Schofield and Emma Forbes.
ITV started the decade with 'Tiswas' presented by Chris Tarrant and Sally James and occasional appearances by Lenny Henry. (Are you all humming 'We're singing the song, the bucket of water song' yet?)
But what was going on during the week?
Well by the mid-1980s Phillip Schofield was occupying a broom cupboard from somewhere inside the BBC with a gopher called Gordon, and on both sides we had some cracking television to choose from.
Can you remember those seemingly never-ending cartoon series that would go on for weeks and months on end? The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Battle of the Planets, I could go on - they were fabulous (from a kid's point of view of course).
I wonder if watching them today I would still think them as good, or would my theoretical grown-up head tut and think it drivel - like some of the stuff that's on today - Adventure Time (truly bizarre), Teen Titans (what's with the no eyes, just black pupils) - of course Lego Ninjago is quite awesome!
I found a brilliant website "List Challenges" - and the link takes you straight to a list challenge of kids TV series of the 1980s and you have to tick which ones you remember. Talk about a stroll down memory lane. I scored a pathetic 70%, I clearly worked too hard, but let me know how you get on.
Now today's children have been recently introduced to Inspector Gadget and Danger Mouse - not the originals I hasten to add, but completely new episodes with (in the case of Danger Mouse new voices). I have to say, having watched both of these re-inventions they are equally as good as the 1980s versions - the technology is obviously slightly more up-to-date - but the characters remain as they ever were.
Obviously, the big twice weekly children's drama serial on the BBC was "Grange Hill". Was secondary school really like that in the 1980s? They covered quite huge topics for children's television at the time, including the famous "Just Say No" to drugs campaign.
Then of course there were the Saturday evening teatime shows - just after the football scores - such as 'The Muppets', 'Metal Mickey', 'Worzel Gummidge' (my favourite).
Children's television in the 80s was truly epic and the list is endless. Could I pick a Top 10?? It would certainly be hard, but here goes:
WOW! The 80s. What a decade for music.
From punk rock, glam rock and soft rock to dance music, synth pop and the starting of house - there surely has to be something that everyone liked in the 1980s. (Personally for me, I fell in love with 2 boys from Bushey!!!)
But what were the best-selling albums and singles of the 1980s??
Top 20 Best Selling Albums of the 1980s
The biggest-selling album of the 1980s was Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits, which was the first album to sell a million copies on CD.
Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Madonna had two of the best selling albums of the decade each, with Jackson's two being the second and third best-sellers of the decade.
Top 20 Best Selling Singles of the 1980s
During the 1980s the chart was based purely on the sales of physical singles - since we bought records, yes records, or cassette tapes and by the end of the decade very expensive CDs - download had yet to become the norm!
And, to be precise this is the Top 21 - Band Aid so obviously blew sales out of the water in the 1980s, that it's only fair that we don't really count it. It became the biggest selling single of all time in the UK until 1997, when Elton John's "Something About the Way You Look Tonight" / "Candle in the Wind 1997" overtook it.
At number six is Wham! with "Last Christmas / Everything She Wants", which is the highest selling number two hit and the highest selling single not to top the chart. In total, there were 20 non-number one singles in the Top 100 (eight of these in the bottom ten), including the biggest selling number three single "Blue Monday" by New Order.
Jennifer Rush at number nine with "The Power of Love" became the first female artist ever to have a million-selling single in the UK.
All these singles are on our YouTube Channel - Playlist - Best Selling Singles of the 1980s - if you want to "Step Back in Time" (now there's a great Kylie track!!!)
Greetings, Pop Pickers. As we celebrate this year's Christmas Top of the Pops, the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir, we take a stroll down memory lane and relive one or two Christmas Number 1s that we bopped along to during the 1980s.
Oh, they're an eclectic collection - some of them memorable, some instantly forgettable and some "oh yes! I remember that!"
If you want a trip down memory lane, all these songs are shared n our You Tube Channel - Playlists - Christmas Number 1s of the 80s
1980 - St Winifred's School Choir - "There's No One Quite Like Grandma" - who could forget that???
1981 - The Human League - "Don't You Want Me" - Iconic 80s song but some of you youngsters may remember it from a Fiat car ad that ran in 2001, where the man sang the words at a petrol station ;-)
1982 - Renee and Renato - "Save Your Love" - who could forget this song!!!!! So cheesy, we love it.
1983 - The Flying Pickets - "Only You" - before the film Pitch Perfect (love that film, wish they'd turn that into stage musical) The Flying Pickets bought a capella singing to the top of the charts - jury's out on whether it was cool or not!!
Looking at this picture, the lead singer him with the black shirt and pink jacket looks a bit like Adam Sandler's character in The Wedding Singer movie!!
1984 - Band Aid - "Do They Know It's Christmas" - the original line-up brought together by Bob Geldof to raise money for the then terrible Ethiopian famine. The song was written, musicians gathered, song recorded, pressed (onto vinyl, no download in 1984) and released within 4 days. It is the biggest selling single of the 1980s.
1985 - Shakin Stevens - "Merry Christmas Everyone" - HOORAY!! At last an actual Christmassy song. What is not to love about this festive jingle.
1986 - Jackie Wilson - "Reet Petite" - this originally topped the charts in 1957, but was reissued in 1986 following the showing of a clay animation video on the BBC Two documentary series Arena. It proved so popular that in December 1986, almost three years after Wilson's death, the song became a No. 1 in the UK for four weeks (selling over 700,000 copies), some 29 years after its chart debut. This was the record for the longest time between a song's debut on the chart and it reaching number one, until it was overtaken by Tony Christie's "(Is This the Way to) Amarillo" in 2005.
1987 - Pet Shop Boys - "Always on my Mind" - In 1987, the Pet Shop Boys performed a synthpop version of "Always on My Mind" on Love Me Tender, a television special on the ITV network. Commemorating the tenth anniversary of Presley's death, the programme featured various popular acts of the time performing cover versions of his hits. The Pet Shop Boys' performance was so well-received that the duo decided to record the song and release it as a single. This version became the UK's Christmas number one single that year. It went on to top the charts for four weeks in total.
1988 - Cliff Richard - "Mistletoe and Wine" - The song was written by Jeremy Paul, Leslie Stewart and Keith Strachan for a musical called Scraps, which was an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl" set in Victorian London.
Cliff Richard liked the song, but changed the lyrics to reflect a more religious theme (which the writers accepted).
It became Cliff Richard's ninety-ninth single, and his twelfth UK number one single, spending four weeks at the top in December 1988 - selling 750,000 copies in the process. It was the best-selling single of 1988 in the United Kingdom.
1989 - Band Aid II - "Do They Know It's Christmas" - A second version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" was recorded under the name of Band Aid II in 1989, overseen by the most successful British production team of the late 1980s, Stock Aitken Waterman. Bob Geldof had telephoned Pete Waterman to ask him to produce a new version of the song to aid the ongoing situation in Ethiopia, and within 24 hours the recording session had been arranged at Stock Aitken Waterman's studios on London's South Bank , recorded with pop stars of the later 1980s, including several artists who had an association with Stock, Aitken & Waterman - these included Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Bananarama and Sonia (remember her?).
A festive flick through some Top 10s about Christmas during the 1980s: what presents did children open, who was top of the pops at Christmas and more importantly what did we sit down to watch after eating those festive dinners, whilst carelessly munching on the After Eights!!
For a start here are the top Christmas Gifts Santa delivered during the 1980s.
The Top Christmas Gifts of the 1980s
Here's a little gem for you to kick things off - in 1980 the top selling gift was a Rubik's Cube (used to love mine) costing about £1.50, in 2010 the top selling gift was an Apple iPad costing about £350!!! (Talk about inflation!!!)
So, 1980 the start of the decade, all we wanted for Christmas was the latest craze, a Rubik's Cube. "Designed in 1974 by a Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture, Erno Rubik. It was originally called the Magic Cube and was licensed to be sold by the Ideal Toy Corporation in 1980." (Wikipedia) It was a craze that swept the world, and since its international launch in 1980 over 350 million cubes have been solved.
[nerd alert: there are 43 quintillion different combinations, apparently]
In 1981 the top selling gift was The Lego Train Set - you just can't beat Lego!! The first Lego Train sets were introduced in the 1960s, however the 1980s saw a revamp of the design, the tracks changed colour to dark grey from blue and the 12-volt transformer changed to support utility functions in a more streamlined style with control switches that docked alongside the transformer, following the design style of increasingly streamlined model train controls of the time.
[nerd alert - Lego is the world's biggest manufacturer of tyres and by 2011 annual production was 381 million tyres, more than twice that of other major tyre manufacturers including Bridgestone, Michelin and Goodyear!!]
In 1982 everyone wanted a BMX bike - just so you would be the coolest kid on the block.
BMX started in the early 1970s when children began racing their bicycles on dirt tracks in Sothern California, drawing inspiration from the motocross superstars of the time. The size and availability of the Schwinn Sting-Ray made it the natural bike of choice, since they were easily customized for better handling and performance. BMX racing was a phenomenon by the mid-1970s and children were racing standard road bikes off-road, around purpose-built tracks in California.
[nerd alert - the first BMX World Championships were held in 1982]
By 1983 a more 'girlie' gift topped the Christmas Wish List - yes indeed, it's those Cabbage Patch Kids - a line of soft sculptured dolls created by 21year old art student Xavier Roberts. He utilized the quilting skills he learned from his mother and the historic technique of "needle molding" to develop his own line of fabric sculptures. He called these hand-stitched, one-of-a-kind, soft fabric sculptures "The Little People".
His Little People were not offered for sale, but were "adopted" each with their own individual name and birth certificate. Many other soft sculpture dolls dating back to the 1800s were created using similar needle molding techniques, but the execution of Xavier's own design has been certified to be unique and copyrightable as a work of art.
The Little People were first offered at arts and crafts shows, then later at Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland, Georgia. The doll brand went on to become one of the most popular toy fads of the 1980s and one of the longest-running doll franchises in America.
The name change to Cabbage Patch Kids was made in 1982 when Xavier's company, Original Appalachian Artworks, began to license a smaller version of the hand made creations to a toy manufacturer named Coleco. An abbreviated version of the discovery legend was reproduced on every Cabbage Patch Kids product from 1983 onward.
[nerd alert: to date roughly 115 million dolls have been sold worldwide!]
Yes, believe it or not Transformers are not new 'Robots in disguise', they have been around for a while and did top the Christmas Wish List for 1984 - and then they were actually cool!
The Transformers (retroactively called Generation 1 or G1) started as a joint venture between two companies: Hasbro of America and Takara of Japan. After an idea to rebrand and sell Takara's Diaclone and Microchange robot toys as a whole new line with a new concept behind it, Hasbro unknowingly would wind up creating what would be one of its longest-running franchises.
In contrast to today's franchises, which tend by design to run 12 to 18 months, Generation 1 was essentially an unbroken line from 1984 to 1991; its logo and packaging format only underwent one major change in that time.
[nerd alert - Optimus Prime has been around since Generation 1]
Admit it, someone reading this has probably got a Care Bear hidden away somewhere - because in 1985 these were the most wanted toy for Christmas.
The Care Bears are a group of multi-coloured bear characters created by American Greetings Corporation, LLC in 1981, through its Those Characters From Cleveland research and development division, for use on greeting cards. The original artwork for the cards was painted by artist Elena Kucharik. In 1983, Kenner turned the Care Bears into plush teddy bears. The Care Bears appeared in TV specials called The Care Bears in the Land Without Feelings (1983) and The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine (1984). They then had a television series from 1985 to 1988, and three feature films: The Care Bears Movie (1985), Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation (1986), The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland (1987).
Each Care Bear comes in a different colour and has a specialized insignia on its belly that represents its duty and personality. This insignia was known as their "tummy symbol." However, the movie Care Bears: Oopsy Does It! renamed them "belly badges." Adding to the Care Bear family are the "Care Bear Cousins", which feature a lion, rabbit, penguin, raccoon, monkey, elephant, pig, dog, cat, and other such animals created in the same style as the teddy bears
[nerd alert - over 40 million bears were sold between 1983 and 1987 and over 70 million have been sold since the relaunch in 2007]
The toy, however, was not without controversy. In April 1987, 19-year-old Leonard Falcon was shot and killed in Rancho Cucamonga, CA by a sheriffs deputy after witnesses saw him and several friends playing with it, mistaking the toys for real guns. The deputy who shot him quit his job soon afterwards. According to some sources, the negative publicity associated with the incident contributed to Worlds of Wonders bankruptcy and dissolution the following year.
The Lazer Tag brand name was acquired by Shoot The Moon Products of Pleasanton, CA, after Worlds Of Wonder ceased operations in late 1990. Since then, the brand name has been licensed to Tiger Electronics from 1996–1998 and to Hasbro from 2004–present under the Nerf banner.
In August 2012, Hasbro released an all-new Lazer Tag line, which allows users to integrate their iPhone or iPod Touch units with the blasters. The provided apps convert the smartphones into HUD units, which display power levels and update players' gaming progress on an online leaderboard. Gaming experience is further enhanced with unlockable attacks and gear.
In 1987 we all craved a Koosh Ball - a toy ball made of rubber filaments (strings) attached to a soft rubber core. The number of Koosh balls sold is estimated to be in the millions.
The ball consists of about 2,000 natural rubber filaments, and has been released in a variety of color combinations. A variation was the Koosh Kins line of Koosh balls with cartoon faces and hands. Koosh Kins was made into a comic book mini-series by Archie Comics, where they kept their cartoon-like appearance.
Koosh balls are often used with QuickStart tennis exercises to help children develop motor skills.
Koosh balls are currently manufactured by Hasbro, and the brand has recently expanded into different product lines starting with Koosh Galaxy. The new line consists of toy blasters that fire foam balls similar to the original Nerf ball, and includes a cross-promotion with Angry Birds Star Wars
In 1988 who did we want to call? Not Santa this year, but those Ghostbusters.
The Real Ghostbusters Toy line was created by Kenner from 1986 through 1991. It was mostly related to the Animated Series, however the Ecto-1a and ECTO-Charger where both related to the Ghostbusters II Film.
As we approached the end of the 1980s, the top selling toy everyone wanted in 1989 was Nintendo's original GameBoy - where SuperMario and Tetris ruled supreme.
It is the first handheld console in the Game Boy line, and was created by Gunpei Yokoi and Nintendo Research & Development 1—the same staff who had designed the Game & Watch series as well as several popular games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Redesigned versions were released in 1996 and 1998, in the form of Game Boy Pocket, and Game Boy Light (Japan only), respectively.
The Game Boy is Nintendo's second handheld system following the Game & Watch series introduced in 1980, and it combined features from both the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game & Watch. It was originally bundled with the puzzle game Tetris.
As part of the fourth generation of gaming, the Game Boy competed with the Sega Game Gear, Atari Lynx, and the TurboExpress. Despite these other handheld consoles, the Game Boy was a tremendous success.
[nerd alert - GameBoy and its successor GameBoy Colour have sold in total 118.69 million units worldwide and upon its release in the United States it sold its entire shipment of 1 million units within a few weeks!]
Note - most information about the products has come from Wikipedia - the list itself has come from metro.co.uk
Imagine a time when mobile phones were just that, phones! They didn’t have email, calendars, Apps, games, etc. They didn’t fit neatly into your pocket. They were huge and weighed 20lbs (9 Kgs).
Imagine a time when the television had only 3 channels (until 1982 when Channel 4 launched) and until the mid-1980s finished broadcasting at around 12:30am – maybe 01:30 on Friday or Saturday.
Personal computers were large, slow and had a maximum capacity of 64 Kilobytes – yes, that’s right, Kilobytes. There was no Windows, drag and drop, touch-screen – it was all DOS-based!
If you wanted information, there was no Google - you had to search for information in books!
The 1980s also saw the fall of Communism, an actor as President of the United States, a woman Prime Minister in the United Kingdom, a Coal Strike (the setting for another fabulous musical ‘Billy Elliott’), Band Aid Live, a war with Argentina over The Falkland Islands as well as controversy over Argentinian footballer Maradona’s famous ‘Hand of God’ that saw England get kicked out of the 1982 Football World Cup.
And lots more.
But the 80s had big shoulder pads, even bigger hair and some quite brilliant music – starting off with the remnants of the punk era at the turn of the decade, through to Ska and the New Romantics, and then the surge of what is lovingly now called 80s Cheesy Pop!!
Our March 2016 show, “The Wedding Singer” is an 80s style musical based on the Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler film of the same name. The plot doesn’t stray too far from the movie’s plot and there are some fabulous musical numbers which will get your toes tapping.
Over the course of the coming weeks, we will be bringing you some of the greatest moments of the 1980s ranging from Top 10 lists of the best films and quotes to fashion and hairstyles – who could forget the poodle perm!
Let us know what your favourite movie, quote or record was, or send us a selfie of you dressed up in your 80s finery to firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our YouTube Channel and see a clip of one of our pets getting in to the 80s groove.
NODA Review of 'Half a Sixpence' - by Nova Horley
"A good production that was bright and lively. The cast looked as if they were enjoying themselves, with the ensemble numbers, although fairly short, keeping up the energy.
A rather strange show, not as good as the original version I always feel as so much of the story seems to have been glossed over, so more difficult to get to grips with – but Linda Dyne and Mike Payne made the most of it, and it became a rather charming production, helped along by very suitable choreography from Fleur Baikie.
Sound was fine throughout, although there were a couple of underscores that were a little louder than they needed to be, but I heard every word, spoken and sung. The lighting was sometimes a little suspect, particularly in scene 4, but overall it was suitable for the show.
I liked the Sixpence – it made a great backdrop and worked really well, tying in all the scenes to the main theme. The rest of the sets were well thought-out, accommodated the action and were set quickly, despite the fact there were a lot of scene changes.
I thought Tom Handley was an accomplished Kipps, getting understanding and humour from the character, with strength and poignancy in What Should I Feel? I liked what Tom did with the part and enjoyed his relationship with Ann.
Anna McDonald gave us a charmingly naive, but strong Ann – more feisty than normal, which really suited the character, and meant that she didn’t become overshadowed by Kipps – a first-class pairing.
David Crew was a gentle but upfront Chitterlow, a lovely part that he accomplished well, making the most of the humour of the man. David was also able to show his lovely voice in the musical numbers.
Costumes were good, but I did not like Chitterlow’s hat, it didn’t seem right for the part, Otherwise, I thought mostly everything was very suitable. I liked the ladies dresses, they all looked fresh and colourful, particularly Helen’s. Some wigs were a little too plentiful to accommodate hats well,
The children were charming, with Aine Dunwoodie and Ben Pulford speaking out really clearly as the young Ann and Kipps.
The shop boys (Adam Briffett, Howard Penning and Stephen Addison) and girls (Louise Thonger, Cheryl Evans and Stephanie Gimblett) all interacted well with each other, creating good relationships.
I liked Colette Eagles as Helen – she created a strong character, both tough but fragile, who dominated the Walsingham family in terms of portrayal. I thought Sean Scotchford as Young Walsingham didn’t really get the opportunity to show his unpleasant side, not quite sure why; whilst Jo Bayne as Mrs Walsingham needed to be more regal in her bearing.
Mr Shalford was portrayed really well by Nick Partington, another fine performance.
I enjoyed John Hope’s deckchair attendant, a small part, but it made an impact, especially the sigh and attitude as he went off stage.
Tom Pigram always draws the eye – he has a way of holding himself and performing, that always makes me enjoy watching him – he was well-paired with Fleur Baikie in Money to Burn, and the company seemed to match them in enthusiasm. Tom also has a very expressive face, which he uses to effect at all times.
Flash, Bang, Wallop is always a most enjoyable number, and this was no exception, great fun, and a number where the company can really enjoy themselves.
I liked the opening of Act 2, with No Need of Economy from the shop boys & girls, which was energetic, leading into the more reflective song from Kipps and Chitterlow.
Ann’s song I Know What I Am was both spirited and wistful with excellent diction and musicality.
Some good performances, a little over-shadowed by a less than appealing script, but overall an enjoyable and engaging show.
Kipps cops plaudits despite operatic society's version
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