Director/Choreographer: Nikki Mundell-Poole
Musical Director: Susannah Edom
Performed at Witham Public Hall on the 3rd November 2012
This production is very much a play within a play where the two leading couples are playing dual roles. Fred Graham/Petruchio played by David Slater paired with Lilli /Kate played by Julie Codling and Lois/Bianca played by Robyn Gowers paired with Bill/Lucentio played by Ollie Barrett. These four characters take up a great deal of the action and have many solo’s/duets and huge chunks of dialogue to learn and it is a credit that all coped so well with very demanding physical roles.
Virtually on stage throughout the production I was impressed with the vocal range of all four. Julie as Kate gave great meaning to her “I Hate Men” but then the poignant “I am Ashamed that Women are so Simple” was mellow and gentle. Julie has a great range and a lovely tone in her voice and I enjoyed her character very much. Also with Petruchio “Were Thine that Special Face” sung very well by David Slater who played this role with great vigour.
“Tom Dick or Harry” sung by Lucentio, Gremio. Hortensio and Bianca was an excellent harmony number sung and danced with great choreography.
I did find the opening number in the show took a while to get going with a few voices not quite in tune but with all the company on stage it became a lively piece. Generally the chorus singing was good.
In Act Two we had the popular “Brush up your Shakespeare”, performed by Gangsters 1 & 2, played by Michael Mundell-Poole and George Jordan, always a popular number, and with a pretty heavyweight show for the company this comes as light relief. This number can never be too OTT and I felt we had rather more from Michael than George but it was still an amusing number.
Very well balanced sound with both Orchestra & voices. Good set, lovely costumes and some exceptionally imaginative choreography and dancers made for an enjoyable production.
This is a demanding production and WAOS did a great job, and very well done to all involved. It was great to see so many young people in the production who I hope we will see in “The Boy Friend” next year.
Report by Ann Platten
This was a production in which the Operatic Society’s established names took a back seat. Instead a sprinkling of new or newish names headed the cast list to illustrate a society in vigorous health.
Young actors Ollie Barrett, Ben Huish, Joe Gray and Mark Ellis attacked central roles with aplomb. But this is a musical that gives its best lines to the women – and Julie Codling and Robyn Gowers did not waste them. Both in their first WAOS production, they took full advantage of Cole Porter’s literary gems to captivate the audience. Codling lets herself go and positively snarls in I Hate Men while Gowers drags every ounce of life out of Always True To You In My Fashion. David Slater is the one familiar face and he cements it all together with an assured performance in the lead role of Fred Graham.
The ensemble cast gives full value to the many well known songs, such as Another Op’nin’ Another Show, Wunderbar, So In Love and Too Darn Hot, the latter featuring Huish in the solo role. And it is a show that gives a higher profile than usual to the dancers, with a number of strong routines in the capable hands (and feet) of Rachel Ings, Emma Sayers, Emily Dixon, Julie Slater, Rosie Clarke, Charlotte Watling, Olivia Bentley and Kelly Rowell.
The show was dedicated to Helen Temperley, a society member for 25 years, who died in May, aged 38.
Publicity photos taken by Great Notley Photographic Club at a costume rehearsal at Witham Public Hall
Report by Ron Fosker