The Guide Awards: Best Amateur Musical Production

Katherine Ryan

REVIEW: Katherine Ryan at the Portsmouth Guildhall

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But it represented a second triumph of the night for the show’s director, John-Paul McCrohon.

Best Amateur Musical, South Pacific by the South Downe Musical Society.

Best Amateur Musical, South Pacific by the South Downe Musical Society.

Having already been up to accept the award for CCADS’ victory in the Best Amateur Drama, he achieved the double by directing the Best Amateur Musical for SDMS as well.

He explained: ‘With South Pacific and a lot of these great older Rodgers and Hammerstein shows, they’re actually full of such fantastic issues.

‘They’re so gritty and interesting, but they’re often not given that balance, so what we aimed to do with South Pacific was to make it as real as possible, to make the interactions real, get the sense that this was a time of war, and Ferneham Hall really gave us a chance to do that – and our brilliant cast.’

Lauren Kempton was runner-up in the Best Actress category for her turn in the show as Nellie, and joined the group on stage to accept the winners’ trophy from Steve Pitt, the director of New Apollo Theatre. She said: ‘It’s always been one of my favourite shows.

‘I love Rodgers and Hammerstein, and the fact that JP was directing and producing was a massive attraction for me as he always draws the best out of everybody.

‘It was a really fresh production and really sort of revived what people might think of as quite a traditional musical and it’s always fun to do those big-scale musical numbers, particularly with South Downe.’

Last year was a big one for SDMS – its production of Fiddler on the Roof was the last to be directed by life president Audrey Pring.

The society’s next show will be Sunshine on Leith at Ferneham Hall in April.