Next Bus to Broadway

Once again, Encore Theatre has put on a terrific showcase of the finest musical theatre that has ever graced our stages, and they were not afraid to bring varied and less well known numbers to the stage.

The concept and format were well thought through and perfectly executed; we were taken on a journey through eight different musical sections (or stops on the bus journey). The musicals selected were varied and there was something for every audience member to enjoy. I particularly enjoyed the “Young Frankenstein” section as this is not a show I am familiar with.

The 17 strong cast all thundered their way through the 35 numbers some rarely being off stage for that long at all. Everyone played their part and it was clear that these guys were having fun. Special mentions must go to Mark Everitt and Martin Mansfields “Together Again” A joy to watch and had the audience in fits. Whilst all the cast were great there were also outstanding, performances from Nicole McNally and Emma Hardy who lit up every number that they were in, I hope to see more of both of these budding young performers in the future.

Highlights were Cell Block Tango from the Chicago section which was perfectly choreographed by Jo Mansfield. Each one of the murderesses captured their characters perfectly and a mesmerising “One Day More” from Les Miserables ended the first half.

The set was simple yet effective and the use of a projection screen to show where we were on our journey added value specifically to those in the audience who may not know their musicals. Lighting was great and special mention has to go to Laura Ward for her design which helped to create the mood for each section. Costumes were used to the best advantage and the colour blocking worked really well.

An enjoyable and intimate evening.