South Downe Musical Society have gone small-scale, taking over Ferneham Hall’s Octagon at Ferneham Hall for a two-night gig performing some weird and wonderful Andrew Lloyd Webber – and quite an eye-opener the menu was.
There were some old favourites and Memory mixed with Close Every Door and Music of the Night as you’d expect, but there were also rare gems.
This small-scale production is a break from the norm for SDMS. They’ve entrusted this new project to Matt Gibbins who, on opening night, was drafted in to operate the technical side of the show, too, and as with all things new, it had its ups and downs.
Among the ups were the soaring tenor of Steve Reading and the syrupy baritone of Danny Owen with a fine rendition of Devil Take the Hindmost. Kimberley Harvey (Music of the Night) and Becky Musgrave (I Believe My Heart) both know how to hold a stage and the focus of the audience. Beautiful vocals, too.
The show is weaker in the simple logistics of getting the cast on and off the performance-area. If they set out a fraction earlier the evening would be punctuated with fewer lengthy silences as they get into place. A little more confidence in the ensemble lyrics would help, too.