Archive for June, 2017

Review of ‘Hairspray Junior’ presented by KD Theatre Productions

June 25, 2017

KD Theatre Productions gave a dazzling performance of ‘Hairspray Junior’ on Saturday. With 150 children taking part, the stage was packed with a sparkling array of characters and groups, all telling the story of star wannabe making good.

Tracy Turnblad (played by Ellie Hughes) had her heart set on starring In the ‘Corny Collins Show’. Mum, Edna Turnblad (Jack Stearne) was at first unwilling but blossomed as a star herself as Tracy’s quest became a reality through her determination and personality. Dad, Wilbur Turnblad (Dean Bruce) supported her all the way. With the help of her friends, Penny Pingleton ((Netta Hociej), dancer Seaweed (Brandon Homes), her idol Link Larkin (Zak Potts) and amazing Motor Mouth Maybelle (Jamie Musora) Tracy overturned society as it was known then in the ‘60s and the integration of whites and blacks became a reality.

The baddies of the tale, previous Miss Teen Hairspray Amber Von Tussle (Mia Leverington) and Velma Von Tussle (Emily Gordon) did their utmost to thwart Tracy but thankfully failed.

Other notable characters included Corny Collins (Jacob Stoodley), Little Inez Stubbs (Abigail Day), and Prudy Pingleton and Matron (Ellis Hociej) who were joined by a host of other viable contributors.

All the characters, no matter how minor, really lived the tale and with constant in infectious rhythms, some excellent singing and lively movement, this show had the audience mesmerised from the start.

Congratulations must go to the director Jessica Theobald and her team for such a fantastic production.

For more information: http://www.kdacadamy.co.uk

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up and coming singer Lana Bruce

June 23, 2017

Watch out for an up and coming singer Lana Bruce, daughter of the well-known novel writer Alison Bruce. I’ve heard four of her compositions and they are delightful. She has a lovely sweet voice, too.

special visit to care home

June 21, 2017

 

On Tuesday 20th June patients in Heron House, Aria Court Care Home, March, Cambridgeshire, had an unusual visitor. Colin Harris (Tweed to his friends) and his wife Liz arrived in a 1946 MG sports car. The letters MG stands for Morris Garages.  Morris was just one of several independent car makers in Britain making family saloons and light goods vehicles. Colin says ‘As with all old things, they need a fair amount of TLC and maintenance but that is part and parcel of the attraction …. and it beats watching the tele!’

The visit was organized by Rosemary Westwell whose husband is in the care home. She has been visiting her husband there for his birthday annually arriving in unusual forms of transport for the delight of the staff and some of the patients. Previously Rosemary has flown over the care home in a Cessna, arrived on the back of a Harley Davidson motor bike and in a 1927 Alvis. Rosemary began doing this to highlight the needs of her husband and others who are suffering from dementia. In the early days of her husband’s illness she had to fight hard for John’s continuing care, needing the services of a lawyer to win her case. When they won their appeal, Rosemary decided to go public and wrote a novel ‘John Dementia and Me’ which is based on her relationship with her husband John as he gradually succumbed to frontal lobe dementia and which highlights the problems she had to overcome.

Rosemary says ‘Much more needs to be done to support families who have a loved one with the disease. There should be a joined up approach to providing sympathetic and practical assistance immediately after initial diagnosis. It is quite possible with the limited resources that are available, it just needs those in authority to focus primarily on communicating well with those who need their help.’

 

pictures: 1964 MG sports car at Aria Court, with Colin and Liz Harris or with Rosemary Westwell on board.

Review of Ely Cathedral’s Science Prom on Saturday 17th June 2017

June 18, 2017

What a delightful concert with a difference! An amazing array of very varied music was presented in the ‘Science Prom’ in Ely Cathedral on Saturday. There is no end to Director of Music Paul Trepte’s talent and versatility. Not only were works of first class quality and performance from the Ely Cathedral Choirs, we were treated to a number of very popular songs sung by Ely Choristers , Ely Imps and Ely Cathedral’s Girls’ Choir. ‘Fatty acid biosynthesis’ by Harold Baum to the tune of Men of Harlech was certainly an unexpected pleasure.

To top it off, Prime Brass, a well-known exceptionally talented group of brass players, entertained us with wonderful performances of pieces such as ‘Fly me to the Moon’ by Barry Howard arranged by Tim Redmond, as well as accompanying the choirs magnificently.

Guy Llewellyn’s arrangements certainly caught the spirit of ‘Mars’ (The Planets by Gustav Holst) and ‘Interstellar’ magnificently.

Sarah MacDonald, usually known as director of Ely Cathedral Girls’ Choir, proved herself an excellent pianist and contributed significantly to events. The variations of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ by Mozart were one of the many delights she played very skilfully.

With genius Edmund Aldhouse at the organ and a thrilling percussion ensemble pieces throbbed with primeval rhythms than evoked the enormity of space and its impact.

Special highlights for me were the opening pieces that immediately provided the ‘wow’ factor: ‘Sunrise’ Also sprach Zarathustra (2001: A Space Odyssey) by Richard Strauss and Guy’s arrangement of ‘Mars’ first performed in this concert.  The excruciating thrill of the high voices in Ron Grainer’s arrangement of ‘Dr Who’, the eerie accompaniment of wine glasses in ‘Stars’ by Ēriks Ešenvalds, and the finale when all joined in ‘Space Oddity (‘Ground control to Major Tom’ by David Bowie arranged by Paul Trepte were phenomenal.

However, the crowning moment must be when the stage was invaded by the daleks from the Dr Who television series and they interrupted proceedings by threatening the conductor Paul Trepte and were only appeased when he invited them the join in the conduction. The sight was unforgettable!

A  future occasion when you will have the opportunity of hearing some of these amazing musicians will be on The Fest Day of St. Etheldreda on Sunday 25th June: 1030 am Festal Eucharist and 4 pm Festal Evensong and Procession.

Review of Viva’s production of ‘Dad’s Army’ at the Brook, Soham on Thursday 15th June 2017

June 18, 2017

Viva’s production of ‘Dad’s Army’ was splendid. The atmosphere of the times in the World Wars was cleverly created with video screen, props, scenery, an amazing collection of very familiar music from the times and, best of all, the characters that we know and love from the TV series of ‘Dad’s Army’. They were all there and even though it is extremely difficult to replicate the idiosyncrasies of particular people seen regularly by people on screen, this fine cast managed it very well.

Frazer’s outlandish prejudice against anything English, Pike’s perky comments and naivety, Wilson’s suave charm, Mainwaring’s determination to make a motley group of people succeed, Godfrey’s elderliness, Jone’s over excitement and fantastic imagination, a devious u-boat captain and lovely ladies who definitely looked the part and interrupted the gentle flow of events beautifully all helped make a wonderful show.  These characters were played by Geoff Fisher (Frazer), James Crussell (Pike), Rowan Maulder (Wilson), Rob Barton (Mainwaring), Vaughan Moll (Godfrey), David Tickner (Jones) and David Blyth (U-boat captain). Other vital members of the cast included Chloe Grimes (playing Mrs Pike), Sara Boor (Mrs Fox), Emma Gilbey (Ivy Samways), Kerry Hibbit (Edith Parish), Vicki Jelleyman (Mrs Hart), Mary Barns (Mrs Gray), David McCalpin (Private Sponge), Scott Robertson (Private Walker), Jenny Tayler-Surridge (Miss Ironside), Justine Whitworth (Mrs Prosser), James Wood (The Colonel), and piano accordion player Rob Heaven.

There were many other highly amusing characters and events that stood out including an excitable verger (Keith Gallois), a forthright Hodges (Andy Gillett), and the Town Clerk (David Moat) who appreciated women very much.

Particular highlights for me were the scene when Jones and Frazer came to blows during the Morris dancing, the inevitable ‘Don’t tell him Pike’ scene, the ‘Andrews Sisters’ singing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and a future ‘Vera Lynn’ singing ‘We’ll meet again’ at the end. They were wonderful.

Many members of the cast adeptly played numerous roles. The concert party and u-boat crew were essential groups that also included Sammy Williams and Judith Collingswood (concert party) and Lawrence Whitworth (u-boat crew).

Every innuendo of the script was deliciously explored and had the audience laughing in their seats. Congratulations must go to the director Frank Cosby and his team for this splendid production which provided a jolly good evening’s entertainment. Other Viva productions to enjoy include ‘The Bakewell Bake Off’ and ‘The Departure Lounge’ at The Brook, Soham on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd July 2017. For tickets contact: vivayouth@hotmail.co.uk