West End Showstoppers at the Kings Theatre, Southsea

Poet and author Benjamin Zephaniah

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Live, from the west end of Albert Road, a toe-tapping, razzle-dazzling showcase of hits from the musicals, performed to South Downe Musical Society’s impeccably high standards.

The group has such a wealth of vocal talent there were many moments of magic here, and, if attention wandered, it was never the fault of the singers.

Initially my fears were raised by a poor sound mix which threatened an evening akin to karaoke, but first night balance problems were overcome by the time Argentina was beseeched not to cry.

Sue Rourke’s solo as Evita sent shivers down my spine, verging, as it was, on perfection.

Amy Devine shone with Memory from Cats, and Feed the Birds, from Mary Poppins, sung by Samantha Kelly, rivalled Julie Andrews in its purity.

The gents were great too, notably Danny Owen as Sweeney Todd, excelling again later with Matt Sackman and Phillip Whittenham in a comedy number from Sister Act.

Dated choreography was a weakness, though children from South Downe School of Dance were cute, and some lighting effects were impressive.

My favourite was One More Day, from Les Miserables. A showstopper if ever there was one.