Singin' in the Rain Review, May 2018 - Basingstoke Gazette

How wonderful that BATS will open the celebrations for their 60th year with such an effervescent zinger of a show! 

Don on lampost.jpg

They’ve been very wise with their choice of production as Singin’ In The Rain has it all – wit, warmth and wonderful songs – and the talented members of the society make the most of its every moment. Their production wholly captures the spirit of the original 1952 film about the move from silent films to talking pictures in 1920s Hollywood.

There is so much to appreciate: the skill displayed by the principals; the glorious dance numbers, including some irresistible tap sequences; the incredible 'wet set' complete with rain; the clever use of filmed inserts; the many laughs (which often come courtesy of the accomplished and industrious supporting cast); and the myriad costume changes.

Bryn Hughes boasts a megawatt smile and phenomenal footwork as he brings matinee idol Don Lockwood to life whilst a brilliant Kirsty Bennett channels Miss Piggy and Betty Boop as his unfortunately voiced co-star Lina Lamont. 

Anneka Wass (Kathy Selden) and William Keel-Stocker (Cosmo Brown) are making their BATS debuts and are both fantastic, utterly nailing their characters. There’s also lovely fizzy chemistry between the leading romantic pair, the key trio and best buddies Don and Cosmo, helping to fully ignite numbers such as the sublime Fit As A Fiddle and Good Mornin’.

A special mention must go to the ever-impressive Ian Moseley, who delivers both Beautiful Girl and a standout comic turn as the hapless Male Diction Coach in Moses Supposes

It must have been incredibly hard work for director Ray Jeffery, assistant director Nick Brannam, musical director Trevor Defferd and choreographers Julie Morris and Karen McCloy to put it all together, but it has absolutely been worth it. 

This winning show whets the appetite for what’s ahead in this landmark year (an Anvil concert on June 23 and Priscilla Queen of the Desert in November).

Congratulations BATS and thank you for your key contribution to the artistic life of the town. May the best be yet to come.

Joanne Mace

Bryn dons his tap shoes

Headshot of Bryn

Headshot of Bryn

Three pairs of tap shoes, a trilby hat, overcoat, a prop violin and an umbrella.  The contents of Bryn Hughes’s rehearsal bag reveal the paraphernalia required when you’re the all-singing, all-dancing leading man in one of the best-loved musicals of all time – Singin’ in the Rain.

“It’s the biggest role I’ve ever played, and the most challenging,” admits Bryn. “My character, Don Lockwood, is on stage nearly all the time, and when I’m not, I’m usually in the middle of a very quick costume change!”

Don is a Hollywood heartthrob from the 1920s, a star of the silent movies whose background as a song and dance man helps him make the transition to ‘talking pictures’.  But it’s more of a struggle for his squeaky-voiced co-star, the demanding diva Lina Lamont. 

“There’s a lot of comedy in the show,” says Bryn. “Lina’s determined her voice should be heard on screen, but Don knows it’ll be a disaster, so a secret plan is hatched...”

Bryn and the rest of the cast have been putting in the hours rehearsing the show’s spectacular musical numbers, including Good Mornin’, Broadway, Make ‘Em Laugh, Moses Supposes and All I Do Is Dream Of You.

They’ve also had great fun filming the movie sequences for the show in the grounds of Worting House, just outside Basingstoke.

But it’s the title number of the show – immortalised by Gene Kelly in the film version – that audiences will be intrigued to see. Will it really be raining on stage? And will Bryn be getting wet?

“Yes!” says Bryn. “As the song goes, ‘I’m dancin’ and singin’ in the rain’ and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing!  It's a clever piece of set design - you’ll just have to wait and see how we achieve it!"

Singin’ in The Rain is at the Haymarket, Basingstoke from Wednesday 9th-Saturday 19th May. Performances at 7.30pm with extra 2.30pm shows on Saturday 12th & 19th.

All tickets for the opening night are £18.50.  For the other performances: £23.50 (adults)  £15 (16s and under) - with concessions for students, over-65s and groups.  All prices include a booking fee.  Buy tickets online.

Bryn in one of his costumes for the filming of the silent movie sequences

Bryn in one of his costumes for the filming of the silent movie sequences

The making of the Duelling Cavalier - Singin' in the Rain

The cast of Singin' in the Rain endured the rain on Good Friday to film the silent movie sequences that feature in the show.

Click on the image to watch the movie and browse additional behind the scenes photos.

Watch the movie

Action shots and behind the scene images

Footloose Review, November 2017 - Basingstoke Gazette

There is nothing quite like live theatre; you can see the film or watch television but the exuberance and enthusiasm of a young company performing live on stage is for me irresistible.

Basingstoke Amateur Theatrical Society has been delivering amazing musical productions for close on 60 years; it is their sixtieth anniversary next year and still the talented youngsters keep coming who are then supported in all departments by the more experienced BATS members. It is a magic formula which Basingstoke is rightly proud.

The story of Footloose revolves around the family of the Rev Shaw Moore played convincingly by Stephen Westwood, an experienced BATS actor with a good singing voice. Saddened by the death of his son and three friends, five years previously he manages to persuade the council to ban all dancing. His wife played by Sally Manning and daughter Ariel, Rhiannon Mone plead with him. Both parts require beautiful singing voices and Sally and Rhiannon are gloriously blessed.

This energetic production is directed and choreographed by Martyn Knight with Gary J. Myers as Assistant to the Director and there are many special moments to appreciate.   Still Rockin' with Cowboy Bob (BenWaines) and company was sheer joy because the performers themselves were obviously having such fun. The professional orchestra directed by Jules Dance were able to show their undoubted skills here but they were also able to tone everything right down for the outstandingly beautiful duet between (Sally Manning) and Ethel (Liz Scorey). 

Luke Sayers playing the 'bad boy' has a rich baritone voice and his performance of Dancing is not a Crime was a triumph. There were so many good voices on that stage and Rhiannon Mone and Luke Sayers duetting with Almost Paradise was so delightfully romantic. 

Jade Hollingshead as Rusty led an enthusiastic ensemble of dancers (they had three dance captains) and singers that will make you wish you could get up on stage and dance with them!

Hannah Williams

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