Below is the NODA review by Nova Horley.
What a good and interesting show, which I loved.
The set was fairly straight forward, but striking and nicely dressed, with
the thrust adding a dimension to the performance area.
Lighting was imaginative and sound was good throughout. There were some nice sound effects and the gunshots were extremely realistic.
The band sounded full and nicely tuned to bring the best out in the music, the opening was strong. There were some really nice harmonies from the ensemble, really bringing the music to life.
The things that really gave the production life were the enthusiasm of the cast and the costumes, which were colourful where needed, sexy and suitable.
The effect of the black dresses with coloured coats, hats and suitcases in Just Arrived was super, so right. The showgirls costumes were also stunning, and they wore them well, getting the right sort of walk for showgirls, with the four ladies in top hats looking both elegant and sexy – wonderful.
I liked the white dresses for the ladies and white suits for the men – it was a stand-out look that was really effective.
The audition scene was very well accomplished, with the final part of the scene where Lola performs Man Wanted in Tony’s suggested tempo was a super number, I loved the grouping and lighting for Who Needs a Dream.
The choreography was interesting, and made the most of the music and the abilities of the cast, however I expected a little more from the Bolero, it was very static and with the talent up there on stage, there was room for more action.
The Havana scene was very colourful and lively, and the comedy within Who Am I Kidding was extremely good.
This Can’t Be Real was beautiful with lovely effects which enhanced the musical awareness.
Claire Millins gave us a lovely Lola/Samantha – strong characterisation, with good dance ability and meaning in the musical numbers. She interacted well with Terry Cavander as Tony/Stephen, who was the complete showman, moving well, and giving an edge to some of the more cheesy numbers. This was a good pairing, they created some really charming moments within the action.
Matt Clothier was a good Sam – he created an upfront character, the typical nightclub owner, but also showing his nicer side.
It was nice to see Carl Robinson in a meaty part as Rico – he got the menace of the man, and also a nice edge to his songs, whilst keeping his accent but not making it too heavy – nice one.
Colette Eagles portrayed the cigarette girl Gladys well, showing both her strong and more caring sides.
Conchita, the ageing star of Rico’s club and his companion, was played by Jackie Pulford. I liked her characterisation, and her fiery nature.
Andrew Darby played a very different character for him, and whilst he got the affected rather camp voice, I’m afraid for me, the walk just did not work.
The other minor principals and ensemble players who had lines were all nicely played.
I liked the enthusiasm of the cast – it showed that they were obviously enjoying themselves, and therefore the audience relaxed and enjoyed themselves too, making it not only a good-looking show, but a very watchable one too. I was very impressed.
So well done to everyone involved, a production that HLOS can be proud of, and one that I completely enjoyed.
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