NODA

Singin' in the Rain Review, May 2018 - NODA

Congratulations to Director, Ray Jeffery who drew polished performances from the hugely talented cast and first-class choreography from Julie Morris and Karen McCloy. BATS should be proud to add this production of Singin’ In The Rain to their list of successes. This was two and a half hours of all singing and dancing entertainment with the aid of a massively skilled cast and crew.

The Production: Bryn Hughes as Don Lockwood was hardly ever off the stage and sang and danced with great emotion and gusto. The duo's Fit as a Fiddle, Make ‘Em Laugh and Moses Supposes was hugely popular and were hilarious. There were many memorable performances, including the smooth singing of Beautiful Girl by Ian Moseley and Kathy’s (Anneka Wass) You are My Lucky Star was gorgeous and Lina’s What’s Wrong With Me was as out of tune as it should have been! Making his debut with BATS, William Keel-Stocker simply oozed charm and charisma as well as talent as Don’s sidekick Cosmo. This was a musical with heart and chemistry and so much to love; so many favourite moments for me, not least Good Mornin’ and Would You?

L to R: Don (Bryn Hughes), Kathy (Anneka Wass) and Cosmo (Will Keel-Stocker)

L to R: Don (Bryn Hughes), Kathy (Anneka Wass) and Cosmo (Will Keel-Stocker)

Ian Moseley performs "Beautiful Girls"

Ian Moseley performs "Beautiful Girls"

Kirsty Bennett as Lina Lamont, performing 'What's Wrong With me?"

Kirsty Bennett as Lina Lamont, performing 'What's Wrong With me?"

Costumes: The costumes were fantastic; colourful, vibrant and of the highest quality with numerous (and quick!) changes. There was great attention to detail ranging from Lena’s gowns, the massive headdresses of the ensemble, Don and Cosmo’s matching suits for Fit as a Fiddle as well as the black and white theme for the after party scene.

Sound: The music, under the direction of Trevor Defferd proved a great asset to the show and kept the lively music going. The voices blended well with the music. The sound team were kept busy handling effects needed for the arrival of the talkies and Lina’s inability to speak into her microphone! This was well executed.

Technical: The spectacular staging of the title song with fully working rain set deserves enormous praise as does the use of multi-media showing the black and white films ranging from the silent films to the transition to talkies. These provided joyful complement to the live action.

Chris Horton
NODA South East Region, District 14 Representative
 

Spamalot Review, May 2017 - NODA

Monty Python’s Spamalot is described as “A new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail from the original screenplay by: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gillian, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin – and that’s exactly what it is.   It’s a highly irreverent version of Camelot and sticks – very loosely – to the Arthurian legend.  It’s pointless, puerile, spoofy and silly but also enormously funny and has happiness coursing through every scene. It's xenophobic, homophobic and blasphemous but good-natured and a huge amount of fun and I loved it. 

Colin Flaherty as King Arthur and Richard Bond as Patsy

Colin Flaherty as King Arthur and Richard Bond as Patsy

The set: village scenes, castle etc were effectively created of high quality and cleverly designed.  There was minimal disruption during the scene changes.  Great and convincing use of props, especially the wooden bunny. 

The costumes were excellent: bright, bold and larger than life with great attention to detail and were in keeping with the characters and story.

The lighting was very effective. The sound was excellent with voices clear and blended well with the live music.  All the songs were sung enthusiastically. Lady of the Lake, Kirsty Kingham was simply stunning as she belted out her numbers including (one of my favourites) “The Diva’s Lament” and “The Song That Goes Like This” (with David Izzo, Sir Galahad).

The Song That Goes Like This  with David Izzo and Kirsty Kingham

The Song That Goes Like This with David Izzo and Kirsty Kingham

Ed Branch as the French Taunter

Ed Branch as the French Taunter

Director, Gary J Myers, demonstrated his talent as he drew great performances from this large and versatile cast.  The music, led by Neil Streeter, created a solid sound giving the performers superb lead.  The show worked well due to the chemistry and strong performances not least by Colin Flaherty (as King Arthur) and his Knights of the Round Table. Richard Bond as Patsy (King Arthur’s side-kick) provided great support complete with horse clopping sound effects from a pair of coconut halves. There was lots of spectacle and hilarity from the French Taunters (Ed Branch on top form) to the routines and songs taking the mickey out of other musicals (I spotted quite a few including 42nd Street and Chicago). The principals had a terrific ensemble around them.  I enjoyed the variety and changes of style and atmosphere. The comedy was fast paced and very off the wall but clever and everyone had a chance to shine. BATS audiences expect high production values and they were not disappointed. Congratulations to the production team, led by Colin Webb, whose hard work, in this instance, led to a polished show that was full of memorable and hilarious moments.

Chris Horton

The Full Monty review, Nov 2016 - NODA

The Full Monty is the Americanised version of the hugely successful film of the same name.  BATS have chosen the Broadway version of the show where the action moves from Sheffield to Buffalo, New York.  It tells the story of six struggling steelworkers.  In order to make ends meet they decide to learn to dance and strip i.e. to do The Full Monty – i.e. everything off!

The set: street scenes, interiors were effectively created and of high quality and cleverly designed. The “Gents” toilets at the club was ingenious.   There was minimal disruption during the scene changes.  Great and convincing use of props.  

The costumes were excellent, with great attention to detail and were in keeping with the characters and story.   And this wasn’t just the strippers’ costumes – much thought had gone into the costumes for the women, showing their sassy side – many items being tight and bright!

The lighting was superb: rising and dimming when necessary, and the blinding flash of backlight at the pivotal moment was perfectly timed.    Most of the sound was excellent with voices clear and blended well with the live music.  My companion and I both felt that the screaming of the excited women (at the prospect of a stirp show) at the opening of the show was at an uncomfortable level and pitch. 

Director and Choreographer Martyn Knight demonstrated his experience and talent as he drew great performances from the entire cast. This was a great example of ensemble performance.  The six strippers, led by Paul Morris as Jerry, brought great warmth to their characters as men who found friendship and self-respect through the group.  Kathy May-Miller was simply stunning as Jeannette, the chain-smoking piano player drafted in to accompany the strippers.  Gavin Brooker deserves special praise having the difficult job of opening the show with a strip – a challenge he rose to with seeming ease.     The music, under the direction of Julie Dance , created a solid sound giving the cast superb lead.  The show worked well due to the charisma of the leading men with a terrific ensemble supporting  them.  There were no weak links in this show that had was more to it than stripping men and screaming women: depression, fathers’ rights, homosexuality, unemployment and suicide – all covered with toe tapping songs and dances to the obvious delight of the audience. 

Chris Horton, District 14 Regional Representative

 

 

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