Thursday, November 22, 2012

Encore -Review- Customs House, South Shields

Customs House
20th November 2012

Encore are a cabaret –almost super- group made up from singers, actors and performers from the regions stages.
Some of the cast I have seen (and worked with) before, others are new to me, so with a bit of hype from people on Facebook and hearing tales of how rehearsals have been going I eagerly waited for this night with some anticipation.
Covering songs from stage musicals in their own humourous and quirky way Encore try and put the cold and dark nights to shame.

On curtain up the scene became alive with singing and music, the dozen or more cast with four in the band really filled the well presented stage.
The singing of familiar love songs from the shows was fantastic from beginning to end, with versatility coming to the fore on a lot of occasions.
In the first half songs from two major stage productions were unleashed onto the full Customs House audience.  Billy Elliot, with the unforgettable ' Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher', to name but one, had the audience toe taping and clapping their hands with delight, and Mary Poppins, with 'Supercaliffragilisticexpiadocious' being I am sure the most fun song ever to perform, we had a great introduction to what Encore are 'all about'
A fantastic medley of Burt Bacharach songs including the wonderful 'I'll Never Fall In Love Again' brought about broad smiles from the crowd, with the humourous antics of the players.
The second half was full of colour and mind blowing costumes. The stage this time was awash with pantomime favourites like Hook, Cinders, Snow White and Peter Pan (with Patricia Haws, comfortably winning the best lady in tights all night). The costumes as I say were superb, with Keith Wigham, looking spectacular in his 'Dame' outfit, Gareth Hunter and Caroline Wells came a close joint second with dresses/costumes that alone would give you guaranteed satisfaction paying the entrance fee.
Throughout the show a massive element of fun and professionalism was present that gave me a really great feeling to be witnessing. Some amazing talented people have worked hard and under the production/directorship of Janet Lord (Peel) the show was a brilliant success.

Encore certainly did  hold back the weather, the charisma on stage was a brilliant barrier to real life. Something that theatre/productions need/have to be. Well done!

Encore will be performing until Sat 24th November.

Michael Hunter

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