Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sugar -Review- Park View Theatre

Chester Le Street Amateur Operatic Society
Park View Theatre.
6th November 2012

Sugar is the musical theatre adaptation of the screenplay 'Some Like It Hot' - made famous of course in 1959 by Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.
Charting the story of Joe (Graeme Smith) and Jerry (Peter Archer), two out of favour musicians trawling their trade in downtown Chicago. Favour doesn't come their way easy when sent on a mission, they become witnesses to the St Valentine massacre carried out by Spats Pallazzo (Steve Laws) and his henchmen. Managing to flee the scene and having to look over their shoulder at every twist and turn, the two, further manage to instill confusion into their lives by dressing as women and joining an all female band on their way to Miami.
Whilst on this journey they both meet and fall slightly in love with Sugar Kane (Amy Smith). Trying hard to suppress their feelings for her, they become embroiled in high jinks, further anti cross dressing and a whole load of matchmaking.  
With the gangsters never far away on their trail the trio sing, dance and love their cares away.

Some like It Hot is one of my favourite films, so seeing it as a musical, was quite strange and somewhat disappointing.
The play has a great premise, but nothing really grabbed me by the throat and shook me into excitement. It wasn't just the transition between screenplay to stage, unfortunately some of the acting, singing and dancing, were just a bit always out of step, a bit rough around the edges! If this was a Geordie/North East version of Sugar then it would have scored 10/10 from me, as the accents were pretty dodgy to say the least.
The voice projection of the actors were a bit limiting too, with the orchestra at times drowning out the dialogue.
Michael and Amy for me were the only highlights of the show with their presence on stage. On 'What Do You Give Who Has Everything' their singing voices were like little gold nuggets.

Maybe first night nerves caught up with the cast. This should have been dazzling and sparkly, but it just wasn't, of course this is my opinion, the sizeable audience clapped in an all the right places, and cheered loudly on a very overly long final bow for their favourite actor.

Produced by Marjorie Bolam, Choreographed by Pam Johnston, with Musical Directorship coming from Colin Galley.

Sugar runs until Saturday 10th November.

Michael Hunter


  1. We must have been watching a different show! Sugar was excellent. Stunning costumes, brilliant set but most importantly excellent cast. Amy Smith was fantastic as Sugar and Graeme Smith and Peter Archer were hilarious. The audience certainly showed their approval too.

    Well done all involved!

  2. I saw your critique on this show and having never heard of "yourself" I have asked around and found out you’ve never actually been on stage apart from once in ALLO ALLO recently - In which you fluffed your one, and only, line on the final performance and ended up swearing on stage -
    How can you expect others to "respect" your views - when you have no experience - and to be fair no knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes to put on a show -
    I understand that you "con" free tickets from groups putting on shows by saying that you will do a write-up on their show - you do not however tell them - that you are a "nobody" just blagging a free show !
    If you continue to lie and mislead groups I will report you to the Police, as what you are doing is dishonest.

    1. Anonymous,
      My dad is a wonderful man...he is considerate,generous and most importantly,he is honest...Everyone has their own right to express an opinion...if he didn't like this 'play' then fair enough,if you actually had the courtesy to look through this blog,you would see that he is very fair in his reviews.Evidently he is not being a 'conner' for being fair...if people want good reviews,they will have to prove that they are worthy of that by working harder...Yes my dad 'fluffed' up his performance in 'ALLO 'ALLO but that is because he hasn't had much 'stage practice' should i say,but he has actually said he is willing to offer him self to a local theatre group...I may only be 13 but I can defend his rights and opinions...He has been doing this for about 2 and a half years and I can see him going professionally one day! So please just give him some respect...


    2. Anonymous,
      My dad is a wonderful man...he is considerate,generous and most importantly,he is honest...Everyone has their own right to express an opinion...if he didn't like this 'play' then fair enough,if you actually had the courtesy to look through this blog,you would see that he is very fair in his reviews.Evidently he is not being a 'conner' for being fair...if people want good reviews,they will have to prove that they are worthy of that by putting more effort into the job...Yes he may of 'fluffed' up in ALLO ALLO but that was only because he didn't have much 'stage practise'should I say,He said he is willing to offer him self to a local theatre group so he can have more practise on acting...He gets free tickets because he is,like I said before fair and giving his true honest opinion on these performances which inspires people to interpret their skills into something even better and they see how to improve etc. He has been doing this for about 2 and a half year approx. and he has never had a complaint which proves to basically everyone that he is inspiring to; children,youth,adults and to me as well! if he continues to do these reviews,i could see him doing it professionally...I may only be 13 but I can defend his rights and true opinions...

      basically he is my actual hero!


  3. Wow What an entrance..
    Very true about my ALLO ALLO performance, but I write what I see, so If I had of been in the audience and was reviewing I would certainly have certainly picked up on it.

    I 'con' people into giving me tickets by allowing them to have a look at the reviews I have done in the last 2 and a half years.
    I never hide behind the fact that I get free tickets, like I say I write what I see...and I still stand by my review.
    This review was recently backed up by two or three people who watched the show after I had reviewed it.

    Ohh and nobody is a nobody, everybody is a somebody!


  4. Anonymous: I can't comprehend why you feel this is a matter for the local constabulary - sour grapes perhaps? The anonymity of who you are is a bit of a cop out as well.

    I have followed Michael's reviews for some time now, when a friend recommended me to his blog, and I make my judgement, as an avid local theatre goer, particular those of an amateur dramatics ilk, based on his reviews ; that's what makes me decide whether to go or not, as the local press do not provide any write ups/reviews.

    So people have a difference of opinion. Not everyone will agree with what he writes, but if you feel that you could be a good critique, maybe you could do your own blog, if that's what interests you? Just a thought....

  5. What I find bemusing about the second "ANONYMOUS" (stand up for your opinions if you are going to have a go at someone please! Thank you, bloody keyboard warriors) is that having been involved in Amateur Dramatics nearly all of my life, I have met several people who have "experience" who continually FORGET their lines, make late entrances onto stage while having arguments in the wings with either directors or cast members, who then go on to have the cheek to pass comment on other people's "amateur" performance, therefore the fact that Michael has little "acting" experience so to put it does not stop him from writing reviews. And to say "Con" free tickets out of people well if the groups were THAT bothered they wouldn't be handing them out then would they?

    So what I suggest is that you:

    A) Stop hiding behind Anonymous for a start off and have the decency to allow us all to know who you are.
    B) Get a grip its Amateur Theatre for god's sake not the final year performance at the RADA!!

  6. Slanderous jealousy springs to mind here. Reporting to the police for conning people!!,, You are obviously no theatre expert and shouldn't even be adding to the hits of public review blogs as its clearly apparent you haven't a clue what you are saying. I have witnessed Mr hunters hard work and dedication for the majority of his reviewing days and can assure you none of it is misleading. Just a growing expertise in my eyes!!! We are all laughing at your ridiculous comment Mr anonymous. Even more so would be the police! So you watch yourself!!!

  7. Michael, I think your response to Anonymous was very insightful. Anonymous appears to have issues and to have taken your review very personally. Please continue to speak your truth.

    All the best


  8. Having seen the same show (Sugar) on the saturday night and paid for my seat, I feel entitled to add my review to this disscussion. I agree with Michael that it was a very poor attempt to portray the wonderful Billy Wilder script. The geordie accents of Martin Fairley were laughable, Its difficult for groups in this region to keep the American accent going all the way through. The scenery was at best very DIY ish and distracting but I assumed that it was done on a very low budget. Which is normally the case these days. I felt that "Daphne" was played like a panto dame, but Josephine had a lovely singing voice. Sugar tried very hard to emulate Marilyn and sometimes this worked.
    In all as an amateur show it wasnt as bad as some I have seen, but the orchestra remained far too loud throughout.
    I can see why its not a show that is done very often, Better luck with their next one

  9. Oh my word! Mr Anonymous just get over it. So Michael wrote a review you don't agree with. It's an opinion and has never been stated as more than that. He wouldn't be a very good reviewer if every single one was all good things.
    No need to get personal and childish like. Just let the guy do what he enjoys doing and if you feel you are too high and mighty to read it then don't.

  10. Dear All,
    Michael is indeed conning groups out of tickets by telling them he is basically a professional review writer - which he is not -
    That is actually classed as fraud.
    I did not slag off his review, or indeed comment on it at all - therefore do not get at me for having "sour grapes". I could not get to see the show myself, but do know several of the cast. But I could not comment on how good or bad the show was, which is why I didnt say whether he was in the wrong or not.
    My reason for writing to Mr Hunter was because I was told by the society how he had mislead them to get free tickets to see the show.
    I admire his ability to con the tickets as its a good way to save money - however he may wish to change the way he "offers" his services in the future.
    To the rest of you - it shows your own insecurities when you try to hit back at someone for voicing their advice to others. Mr Hunter published my message to him and then admitted I was right.

  11. Anonymous. YET AGAIN I WILL STATE: Stop hiding behind anonymity, if you are so sure you have the upper hand why are you clearly so terrified to publish comments on Mr Hunter's blog, to talk about something you obviously deemed so serious! Yet quite frankly if the company had indeed bothered to as you say you have researched into Mr Hunter's background (which I find highly ridiculous as this is AMATEUR THEATRE, not something out of a flaming well James Bond film). I can't see on ANY other of Mr Hunter's posts people who know the cast or crew threatening to go to the police because he has "conned" them out of tickets. That you are anonymous suggests that you indeed DID get to see the show or are more involved with it that you suggest. Therefore my dear chap/lady. I will repeat MY OWN ADVICE TO YOU. Firstly stop masquerading by hiding you name to the world, because surely if you know you are right and are so unashamed with your public accusations then please allow everyone the courtesy to KNOW YOUR NAME. Secondly, we are talking about a person attending Amateur shows, which I may add do not pay cast or crew. As for your accusations about his qualifications to write reviews, I do not see what knowing what goes on backstage has to do with anything, because a reviewer does not in anyway shape of form critique the handling of props, set, or any such things, they may choose to comment on costume, lighting, and set if it so affected the performance. I still do believe that obtaining a free ticket to a performance saying that you are review writer is hardly grounds for beheading, which you so seem to believe, and when we have people (to use your word) "CONNING" taxpayers out of millions each year, I find it hard to believe you are wasting so much effort, on £13 (max from what I can gather) on a selection of Amateur Performances, which the people involved with are meant to do for and I highlight this word FUN. Now another little bit of advice. I suggest if you wish to comment further, please do inform us who you are otherwise please allow the committee to make the decisions!!

  12. Sadly, it isn't worth publishing my name. Most of the people who read this nonsense will recognise it, and the sheer hassle it would cause is not worth it.

  13. Well your nonsense has already been recognised by one of my viewers, obviously I am not going to publish that name to protect your possible identity.

  14. If you don't want the hassle mate then stop making ya mouth go! SIMPLE!