Friday, July 1, 2011

Movies 'N' Musicals - Review- Customs House

Movies 'N' Musicals.
South Shields Gilbert and Sullivan Society.
Customs House.
30 June 2010

The fantastic SSGaSS have entertained for many a year, with their musical and comic theatre plays. Tonight the annual summer concert rolled into town.
Two acts (Movies & Musicals and Music of the Oscars) were in store for the packed Customs House audience.
A Calamity Jane medley by the chorus hit us from the start of curtain up, with great toe tapping snippets from the hit movie.
Bob Stott (the brilliant all round showman, and SSGaSS member) was compere for the evening and came on stage with his formidable grin of mischievousness. Entertainment is his thing and as the chorus changed costumes for their next spot, Bob certainly showed his talent. Having creased up the crowd with witty jokes, and telling the stories of the up and coming songs, it was on with the show.
Songs before 1960 was the next segment with superb singing voices belting out with pride tunes like My Funny Valentine (Maureen Hope), If I Loved You (Dianne Jackson) on to I'll Never Be Jealous Again (Bob Stott and Sheila O'Neill doing a very funny rendition) and a brilliant Old Man River(by the multi talented Gareth Hunter).
Next up after another blistering interlude from Bob, was 1960-1980, starting off with an all round great display of Sunrise, Sunset by the chorus again, this led us through the era of wonderful music such as Feed The Birds (Maureen again, but with an absolutely jaw dropping performance from Olivia Bowern (this girl is one to watch!)) alongside Cabaret (Natalie Elleithy) and a segment ending Doh, Ray, Me (Group)
Nadia Wearn.
1980-2000 was next on the bill, Tomorrow from 'Annie' was brilliantly performed by the chorus with again an amazing vocal from Olivia on Somewhere That's Green. A show stopping All That Jazz by the chorus ended act 1.

Act 2 was runners up and winners of the annual Oscars ceremony in USA. A James Bond medley, was as refreshingly good as the interval drinks, great voices from the chorus again. The Prayer (Brian Jordan and Charlotte Reay) was delivered with fantastic ability that the crowd were in awe of their stage presence.
The whole of the show was dedicated to the late Nadia Wearn a member of the Society, who died suddenly on June 1st, a very moving tribute from Bob told us of her passion for choreography and how deeply she will be missed. I certainly had a tear in my eye with his speech. Natalie (Nadia's sister) danced in her memory to My Heart Will Go On along with singing from the chorus. Other highlights were Moon River (Brian), Up Where We Belong (Andy Borthwick, Charlotte and the chorus) to the grand finale of Lullaby of Broadway, again by the chorus.
Superb production all round from director Gwyneth Hunter, musical director Andrew Richardson. Choreographer Nadia would have been so so proud of what she would have seen, she would have been on her feet like the rest of us at the end of the show.
Great lighting as always from Ian Johnson, and all put together by producer Allison Smith.
A superb, funny, enlightening and moving performance by all on stage, if you can get to see it, please do! You wont regret it.

Runs until June 2nd.

Michael Hunter

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