Archive for March, 2018


I love Me and My Girl, and I’ve had good experiences of youth theatre in the past. Therefore, when I saw the show was being performed by Brewood’s Lollipop Theatre Arts, I had no hesitation in giving them a try. Particularly so because my society, Aldridge Musical Comedy Society, are doing the show next year.

Me and My Girl – Prince of Wales Theatre, Cannock – 26 March 2018

Lollipop cater for kids 6 to 18, and the full range were on show on the first of two nights.

Me and My Girl tells the story of Bill Snibson, the long-lost heir to the Hareford fortune. However, when the family discover Bill is a cockney of no standing, sparks begin to fly.

The score is from Noel Gay and book originally by L. Arthur Rose and Douglas Furber (although it has been updated by Stephen Fry and Mike Ockrent). A funny and entertaining show filled with well-known songs throughout, there isn’t a dull moment.

First impressions of Lollipop … My God, they’re so young! Yes, I know it’s a youth company, but the opening chorus of A Weekend at Hareford was delivered with such a professional sound, you might have thought otherwise.

In the lead role was Tom Horton who totally captured the character of Bill Snibson with superb comic timing. Most impressive in a demanding role was Tom’s ability to carry on, ad-libbing on a couple of occasions when lines slipped the mind. The improvisation added to the enjoyment.

Also on the opening night we had a shining star for the future in Florie Miles. Playing Sally Smith, so good were Florie’s vocals, I did think it was an older actress to begin with. Then I saw the cast photo and realised her years and saw a maturity which went way beyond them. Once You Lose Your Heart was equal to the version on The London Cast Recording. Florie would be at home in an adult company.

Additionaly excellent were Abbey Laycock (Duchess of Dene), Alex Jeffrey’s (Sir John Tremayne), Katie Hayes (Lady Jaqueline), Emily Smith (Gerald), Jake Watkins (Parchester), Sam Green (Charles), Isaac Brant (Sir Jasper Tring), James Shaw (Lord Battersby) and Amy Horton (Lady Battersby). I must also acknowledge, on 27 March, Sally Smith was to be played by Millie Cooper.

Me and My Girl has so many great numbers: Thinking of No One But Me, The Family Solicitor, Me and My Girl, Leaning on a Lamp, to name but a few. And that’s before you get to The Lambeth Walk and The Sun Has Got His Hat On.

Direction was from Lucy-Ellen Parker and Grace Bradshaw with choreography by Helen Stone and Isobel Burgess. In charge of musical direction was Matthew Davis with lighting – Dan Bywater.

Watching a youth show, it’s always good to witness the next generation of musical theatre in the making, but more important, seeing the kids enjoy themselves. A thoroughly entertaining night from a company I would strongly recommend for future productions.

Me and My Girl – Prince of Wales Theatre, Cannock – 26 March 2018

Cheers.

Antony N Britt

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Two years ago, I witnessed one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in The Witches of Eastwick. It came courtesy of Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA), therefore, browsing the What’s On pages, I had no hesitation in giving them a second run with Sister Act. Still, we had different Year 13s, and I wondered if it would it live up to expectations.Sister Act – The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham – 24 March 2018 Birmingham Ormiston Academy. BOA

I have to say, I had never seen Sister Act and only knew one number (which isn’t in the show these days), so you can say I went in blind.

Sister Act tells the story of Dolores Van Cartier, on the run from her crime boss boyfriend. About to give evidence against him, Dolores is given sanctuary in a convent.

A blast of an opener in Take Me to Heaven had everything from great vocals to fabulous dance, all performed with skill and energy. Other numbers I enjoyed were Good to Be a Nun, I Could Be That Guy and Raise Your Voice before a powerful reprise of Take Me to Heaven. Act Two was equally blessed (sorry for the nun pun) with Sunday Morning Fever, Here Within These Walls, The Life I Never Led, Sister Act and a rousing finale in Spread the Love Around.

As for performances, I must pay a huge tribute to the wonderful Grace Mikhael in the lead role of Dolores. On the night, Grace gave everything I love in a character. Excellent throughout, fantastic voice and acting with attitude. Body language was superb, mannerisms perfect. She owned the stage.

Not alone, there was magnificent support from other principles, namely Beth Tyrrell (Mother Superior), Hana Copestake (Sister Mary Robert), Callum Maine (Monsignor O’Hara), Mariah Loizou (Sister Mary Lazarus), Tom Cowan (Curtis Jackson), Meg Aucott (Sister Mary Partick), Jack Christou (Eddie Souther), Frazer Howes (TJ), Nathan King (Joey), Harry Singh (Pablo) and Keith Barratt (Ernie).

Sister Act was produced and directed by Dan Branch with choreography from Lee Crowley and Musical direction, Daniel Summers.

Two years after my first experience of BOA, I was once again left breathless and am already looking out for future productions. This was better than many professional shows; my partner even commenting that it outshone a touring Sister Act some years back at the Birmingham Hippodrome.

There’s little more I can say but as a school/academy offering, I have no hesitation in giving Sister Act full marks.

Sister Act – The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham – 24 March 2018 Birmingham Ormiston Academy. BOA

Cheers.

Antony N Britt

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