Thoroughly Modern Millie at Ferneham Hall

Portsmouth Players in rehearsal for The Full Monty

Portsmouth Players dare to bare as they go The Full Monty at The Kings Theatre

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I normally feel it inappropriate to comment on the technical aspects of the opening night of a show – but when the smooth running of that show falls victim to things that should have been ironed out in the technical and dress rehearsals, comment must be made.

Thoroughly Modern Millie contains a conceit – subtitled Chinese dialogue – that depends on the slick timing of those subtitles. At the first performance many were mistimed and, indeed, the operator appeared to give up altogether at one point. There were also continual sound problems and some bizarre lighting cues that didn’t make a lot of sense.

Which is a shame, because this well-intentioned show from Fareham Musical Society does have a heart of gold.

Helen Jolley’s Millie is big-voiced, confident and sure-footed. Ably supported by the trio of Ben James as Jimmy Smith, Becky Garnett as Miss Dorothy and Danny Owen as Millie’s boss, Trevor Graydon. However – all are guilty of over-singing the belt-voicing on occasion with the result that notes are sometimes flattened.

There’s some scene-stealing stuff and good vocals from Marie Ridley as white-slaver Mrs Meers and Robert MacNab and (particularly) Alex Hillman as her Chinese sidekicks. Sue Rourke looks and sounds good as Muzzy van Hossmere and there’s some nice character stuff from Sarah Clarke as office harridan Miss Flannery.

John Bettesworth’s direction is effective and tight and there’s some good choreography from Matt Newman. The ensemble move well but need more power in their vocals.

Until Saturday.