Denmead Operatic Society celebrate their 80th anniversary with this self-penned show, following the current West End trend of incorporating established songs into a new story.
Writer, producer, director and star-turn, Ian Clark may be wearing one hat too many in this mix. Performance-wise he’s very self-assured and is one of the strongest singers on the stage, but the show is over-long (we were there for three hours plus on opening night), often self-indulgent and sometimes just plain confusing. It is also, clearly, under-rehearsed with much onstage fluffing in dialogue, song and choreography and the voice of the prompter being heard far too often.
It’s apparent when the ensemble like one of the numbers they’ve been given. Seasons of Love from Jonathan Larson’s Rent is sung with gusto. Not so Masquerade from Phantom, which was very underpowered and the cast appeared to be reading the lyrics.
There are powerful vocals from Kerry Applin and a cracking performance from Samantha Spivey as an ageing Annie. However, I’m not certain I understand her ‘restoration’ or subsequent change of name to Marcia.
Top marks to Phil Woods’s excellent musical-direction and band, though, which give proceedings some class.