Archive for March, 2017

Review of ‘Cats’ by the King’s School Junior School on Friday 24th March 2017

March 26, 2017

What an amazing production! The King’s School Ely Junior School gave a splendid performance of ‘Cats’ by Andrew Lloyd Webber in the Hayward Theatre on Friday. I’d been to see the show in London many years ago, and, frankly, I preferred this performance. The forty or so cats that stretched and moved about the stage in a particularly believable feline fashion, the genuineness of the chief characters and the fantastic music in the Junior School production were just the ticket.

With amazingly effective make up and costumes, these performers presented the array of feline characters splendidly, exhibiting not only their varied personalities, but with superb singing they brought out their inner feelings magnificently.  From the jazzy and sexy numbers to the emotional pull of ‘Memory’ these cats kept us transfixed.

The choreography was astonishing and the lithe suppleness of the cast kept us in awe. Cartwheels, doing the splits, tap- dancing, you name it, it was there in one highly entertaining, cohesive production.

Imaginative stage scenery also helped to set the mood well.

Director Kathryn Sudbury, Choreographer Natasha Hobbs and Musical Director Neil Porter-Thaw and their teams are to be congratulated for a fantastic show. It is quite easy to understand why it ended with a spontaneous standing ovation!


Review of ‘Any Major Dude’ in the Cambridge Picturehouse 20th March 2017

March 21, 2017

Up and coming writer/producer John Holdsworth, in conjunction with Peter Tomalin,  has created a real gem. This low budget film captures the idiosyncrasies of village people in delightful, hilarious scenarios and as gardening journalist Colin Coombs deals with an array of negative life events that seem to be trying to bring him down, we experience his struggle and the irritation of friends who pull no punches.  We share with Colin the angst he has when he thinks his wife Freya wants to go back to her ex:  Gordon ‘Midge’ Midgely.  This film captures the essence of village characters, some of the most memorable, the jovial unnerving doctor, the new neighbours who get the wrong end of the stick, and precocious children who excel where the adults fail.  The plot builds us up to great expectations, our hearts in our mouth as we fear Colin and his friends will make  fools of themselves when the new band they have formed perform badly at Freya’s 40th birthday party , but the twist in the tale makes a  perfect ending.   A brilliant cast gave us an authentic taste of village life with sincere and credible acting. Director Sean Baker with John Holdsworth are to be congratulated for a fantastic film, a film that gives us a jolly good laugh for a change. Let there be more, I say.

Review of ‘Legally Blonde’ by Viva at the Brook, Soham on Thursday 2nd March 2017

March 3, 2017

Viva dazzled us yet again with another vibrantly energized musical production in the Brook last night. It was fantastic! ‘Legally Blonde’ was no simple story about a blonde girl proving her worth, it was packed with humour, pathos and easily identifiable characterizations as blonde girl becomes a lawyer learning many home truths on the way.

The music was first class, all singers and instrumentalists producing clear, resonant and wholesome sounds enhancing the plot beautifully while excellent acting, slick staging, glitzy choreography, credible costumes and subtle and effective lighting had us spellbound.

Ellie (played by Riley Williams) portrayed this leading part perfectly making a wonderful debut with Viva. She was indeed the stunning face of feminine feminism. The men in her life, Warner (Dan Lane) and Emmett (Ben Clark) were equally well rounded characters:  Warner the wimp from the past: Emmett the stalwart friend waiting in the wings for her to realize he was where her heart should lie. The cold-hearted egotist Callahan (Joseph Beach) contrasted excellently with Paulette (Eleanor Gillet), the emotionally-driven, moral supporter to Ellie. With Ellie’s excellent doe-eyed hankering and Paulette’s outrageous sexual shimmering we were left in no doubt whom they desired. I’ve never seen such a sexy delivery man before the UPS man (Lee Sherwood) strutted the stage. He made a larger-than-life gay lover to the untruthful witness Yuri (Jack Wright) too. The exercise motivator Brooke (Hannah Schumann), another strong character and the essential Greek Chorus were additional treats. Space prevents me from mentioning all the other superb members of the cast, suffice to say, they all contributed magnificently to one of the best Viva productions I’ve ever seen! Director and Producer Dan Schumann and his team are to be congratulated for such a wonderful evening.

As all evening shows were soon booked out, you are advised to book early for their next production ‘The Dreaming’ in the Hayward Theatre, Ely 3-5th August 2017.

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