October 21 - 26
Witham Amateur Operatic Society
Witham Public Hall
THE combination of a lively cast, an imaginative director and choreographer, and one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's best musicals promises the audience an exhilarating evening.
Witham Amateur Operatic Society performed Oklahoma to packed houses at the Public Hall last week. The orchestra, under the direction of Jill Parker, showed that it was supportive of the cast as well as being really musical. Unusually, the overture was accompanied by imaginative dancing on stage.
Brian Lovell as Curly was a fine leading man. He was well matched by the outstanding Carolyn Wash as Laurey. Both had good voices and could act as well. In this highly dramatic musical, they carried the main story line. Their opening scene set the high standard that they maintained all evening.
Aunt Eller, sung and played by Liz Watson, made the most of her telling lines, providing a fine foil for the young lovers. Natalie Cudlip threw herself joyfully into the part of the girl who "can't say no." Always bubbling with energy, she flitted from one beau to another but ended up with the woolly minded Will Parker, played with confidence by Richard Adkins.
Paul Chittleborough was another hit as he underplayed the part of Ali Hakim, a man with an eye for every opportunity. He was a foil for the gloriously overplayed Gertie Cummings of Angela Briley. In contrast, Mike Dunion's Jud Fry, an evil farmhand, was a masterpiece of calm acting. He was able to be threatening with a minimum of movement.
Jaqui Foster, the director and choreographer, handled her singers and dancers with great skill. The Dream Sequence was outstanding. The various heights on the stage, skilful use of lighting and the colour costumes, all added to the flamboyance of the show. The chorus, from the oldest to the two young girls in brown, were really polished throughout the main routines. The cast obviously enjoyed themselves as did the appreciative audience.