Reviews

The Infamous Ringwood Soirée

As is my usual practice, as soon as I arrived home from the Soirée, I switched on my computer and settled down to check Facebook – and immediately felt so guilty that I clicked off the page. Thanks, Soirée team: I’m sure you’ll be glad to know that your ‘Social Media Story’ had the desired effect! That particular section, sung to a medley of tunes from West Side Story, was just one of the many highlights of this evening of pure pleasure, clearly put together with love, care and a lot of laughter. For many years now, the Soirée has
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Wife After Death

How well do we know the people we think we know? Not very well, if you believe this comedy by Eric Chappell, the author whose best-known work is Rising Damp. Like that TV show, Wife After Death has its moments of farce but relies for its laughs on a lot of very clever dialogue and smart one-liners from characters who are caricatures, but only to the point where they remain believable. The central character spends the first act in a coffin and the second as a pile of ashes: the late comedian, David Thursby. Gathered to say goodbye to him
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Season’s Greetings

Arriving on a very wet and stormy night, early at the Chesil Theatre, it was disconcerting to find the main entrance door closed but with a sign pointing to a side entrance. Further tentative exploration of the stage door led to an extremely kind welcome from a man sporting the obligatory Santa’s elf hat who welcomed one into the tiny foyer of this utterly seductive theatre. This genial guy turned out to be none other than the director himself, Peter Liddiard. His enthusiasm for this former church-cum-amateur theatre was infectious. Posters around the bar demonstrated a far more adventurous than
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The Mikado

I would tell you how many years ago I first came upon Gilbert and Sullivan, joining this very society just a couple of years later, but in the interests of maintaining my credibility as a young person (ha!), I’ll just say that it was when the society was a mere twenty years old, and that ever since that time I have adored G&S with a passion that’s intense. The Mikado is not quite at the top of my list – that honour goes to Patience – but it’s certainly pretty high, and this production has reminded me just what fun
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Putting on the Glitz

Milton Musical Society are now in their 48th year of performing and believe that everyone should have a chance to show their talents. Set in a 1920s American nightclub, the story unfolds through its staff, guest artists, and rich clientele. With music from the terrific on-stage three-piece night club band, the Al Hume Trio (Alistair Hume on keyboards, Dan Priest on drums and Lee Marchant playing double bass), wonderful songs highlight the work of such well-known song writers as George Gershwin, Jerome Kern and Cole Porter. This is the era of prohibition, gangsters, elegant fashion and pioneers of movies and
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Calamity Jane

WMOS sustain their deserved reputation for putting on classy and energetic shows with this film classic developed for the stage. Liz Petley-Jones has again, but this time literally, directed a sharp-shooting show with a note-perfect band under the swift and talented baton of John Sparrow. If there was an award to be given under the banner ‘Energetic Firecracker’, then the name of the winner would most certainly be Emma Jane Smith as Calamity, exuding power and energy throughout her time on stage in this coveted role. Iain Steel is more than a match for her, singing his solos with warmth, and point-scoring beautifully with
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