ACT in Action Issue 17

After the intensity of this drama the mood needed lifting. Enter phony psychic, Oda Mae Brown. Heather Baker, as the sassy Miss Brown, was a powerhouse, amusing the audience with her barraging dialogue delivery. In the story, Sam needed to speak to his wife, and Oda Mae finds out that she does have the power to speak with the dead Sam. This was proven through humorous exploits. Everyone’s lives are changed because of the criminal activities of Carl Bruner, Sam’s co-worker and friend. Gabriel Walker, as Carl, had a likeable presence but as the story unfolded, he soon became a desperate

man. The metamorphosis from friend to trying to take over Sam’s life and Molly, the love of Sam’s life, was impressively achieved. The handsome and attractive Sam and Molly were emotionally portrayed by Andrew Dunn and Nickie Simms. Nickie gave a performance from the heart; her vocal prowess was captured in the haunting, “With You”. Andrew gave a striking performance with vocal excellence. Sam’s supernatural presence, and Molly’s grief, were tentatively explored, raising the question “Believe”. was much hilarity in his antics, especially with Reno, and the story of “Little Plum Blossom”. He was a hoot. In the lovers’ corner there was socialite, Hope Harcourt, capably portrayed and sung by Charlotte Beale. Chasing Hope’s affections is the resourceful and unrelenting Billy Crocker. Joseph Morgan, as the love-sick, Billy Crocker, convincingly wooed Hope. Their duet “All Through the Night” was “De-Lovely”. Carolynne Jones-Crowder, as the larger-than-life cabaret singer and evangelist, Reno Sweeney, gave a knock-out performance. Carolynne was at home with all those great standards “I Get a Kick Out of You” and “Anything Goes”. Reno was the leader of the pack and never more so than in the company number, “Blow, Gabriel, Blow!” By the time we disembarked the only remark for the musical Trip Adviser was, “There’s No Cure Like Travel”. I had a very pleasant afternoon at the Lowther Pavilion watching Junction 4’s production of the musical, Witchfinder. I was not aware of this musical until my visit, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Straight from the opening number with its strong clear vocals from both the chorus, and the excellent Andy Lane whose portrayal of Thom- as Potts was solid throughout. The second number did not disappoint either, with the lovely voice of Amy Stockdale as Alizon Device. The singing throughout was of a very high standard and congratu- lations must go to Musical Director, Bruce McClaren, not only for his excellent orchestra and the strong principal singing, but for the tightest chorus I have heard in a long, long while. Director, Mandy Hall, must also be congratulated for her produc- tion by keeping the dialogue pace, and with clear diction. The pace slowed a little in the first scene, in King James court, but picked up again after that. Now the first of two very minor niggles: personally, I am not a fan of major scenes being played against blacks, but the strong perfor- mances compensated for that. My second minor moan is at the opening of Act II, the ladies were wearing so many different shades of socks/ tights and style/colours of shoes and slipperettes, that it distracted from a nice opening. Anyway, back to the positives which far outweighed any negatives. Charlotte White, Shannen Emms and Darren Skelly played the love triangle superbly; their second half trio, “Each Passing Year”, was a highlight for me. Shannon has a beautiful singing voice and played the role of Lady Sarah to perfection. Darren’s portrayal of Captain James Roberts was played with great authority. You could feel his pain as he wrestled with his conscience. Charlotte was just brilliant as Catherine Howard. I very rarely get emotional at shows, but I had a lump in my throat as she was sent to her fate. Another superb vocal performance was given Chris Sandiford, as WITCHFINDER Junction 4 Productions Directed by Mandy Hall Musical Director: Bruce McClaren

ANYTHING GOES Dukinfield A.O. & D.S. Director: Robert Margolis Musical Director: Dave Chapman Choreographer: Jean Johnson

Cole Porter’s nautical musical has a silly plot typical of shows of the 1930s. It has been heavily revised since its first performance. This Beaumont version presented by Dukinfield A.O.& D.S. was pure en - tertainment on a good set and with a strong cast; it was all aboard for a voyage full of fun and frolics. The director made sure that the pace was snappy, and the that hu- mour floated to the fore. The dance numbers were full of energy with exciting tap routines all brought about by skilled dancers and by an enthusiastic company. Porter’s music was punched out in swing style capturing the mood and era. Everyone on stage was having a good time which added to our enjoyment of the show. Nothing got in the way of the energetic delivery. All the technical aspects necessary for the show were as important as each other and gave the show strength. There were no storms at sea on this cruise! The costumes were correct for the individual characterisations, with hair and make-up giving that finishing touch to the pleasing the - atrical picture. Supporting the main story line, John Mercer (Captain), Liam Mul- len (Purser), along with Anthony Park (Luke) and Andrew Cochrane (John) gave solid performances. Andy Gibson always makes the most of a role; he delivered a well- drawn character as Elisha Whitney, full of fun. The maxim is, always make a good entrance, and Rosemarie Wood did just that. Rosemarie looked fabulous (what a hat): she was in total control and kept us laugh- ing throughout the show. This was a lesson in stage craft. Comedy is the very best tonic and inAnything Goes there was plen- ty of knock-about humour. At the helm was Seb Lassandro, as mobster Moonface Martin, disguised as a priest. Seb had great fun being public enemy number 13 and gave some sound prison cell advice in the funny “Be Like a Blue Bird”. He was aided in his adventures by moll “Bud- die, Beware”, Erma, neatly characterised by Jessica Morris. With strong physical humour, Scott Lees added to the mayhem, as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Scott clearly has “The Gypsy” in him. There

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