Milton Musical Society’s autumn review production is a collection of musical songs and sketches that try to get behind the mask into what people are really thinking and believing. The 30-strong cast give us some moments of absolute joy and some moments that are not so joyous.
The piece starts with a whole company rendition of ‘Masquerade’ from The Phantom of the Opera. On opening night there were some sound issues and the cast looked so embarrassed as they just stood there, waiting for the music to start, but when the song got going and the company started to sing as a whole, the sound was good and clearly the cast were enjoying what they were doing.
Throughout both acts I was left confused about the relevance of some of the song choices. For example, ‘The carnival is over’ is a lovely hit but I am not sure it fits the theme or that the company feel comfortable and confident themselves in delivering it. Perhaps they cannot see the relevance either?
The show needed stronger direction and more time getting the lighting and the sound right. The constant stage management team popping on at the end of virtually every song did start to distract – along with the thumbs-up at one point that we could continue – while the poor sound levels must have frustrated the cast as well as the audience, who could not always hear was being sung or said. There were some great moments, though: Chloe Hall’s rendition of ‘I hate men’, Tim Berry and John Petroff delivering ‘Brush up your Shakespeare’, and the insight into some of the songs for the group’s 50th-anniversary production of My Fair Lady next year were all highlights from a very skilled bunch of singers. And a special mention to the wonderful band, led fantastically by Alastair Hume.
This is a very talented group and their commitment is something they should be very proud of indeed. Performances are until 18 November at 7.30 nightly, with a matinée on Saturday at 2.30.