West End to Broadway - Act II: March 2007

The Inverness Courier
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Winslet co-star brings
his experience to opera

Inverness Opera Company's
"West End to Broadway Act II"
One Touch Theatre, Eden Court
By Calum Macleod
Published: 09 March, 2007

TONY Randall may be a relative newcomer to Inverness Opera Company, but he is no stranger to either producing stage musical or appearing in them.

Randall, whose past performing experience includes sharing the stage with a young Kate Winslet, takes the helm of the company’s 2007 show “West End to Broadway: Act II”, which begins a week-long run at Culloden Academy Community Theatre on Monday, having made his debut with the company last year.

Though there had been plans to delay this year’s production until the autumn and mount a full musical in the refurbished Eden Court Theatre, the company was unable to secure a firm date and so is running a follow-up to last year’s “West End to Broadway” show featuring numbers from musicals classic and modern.

The Inverness Courier
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Stage musicals brought to life

Inverness Opera Company's
"West End to Broadway Act II"
One Touch Theatre, Eden Court
Published: 16 March, 2007

INVERNESS Opera Company opted to fill in the two-year gap in their performing schedule brought about by the closure of Eden Court with two concert-style shows, rather than attempt to stage a new production — or revive an old one — away from the theatre.

This programme reprised a couple of popular items from last year’s initial presentation, alongside a lot of new material.

The performers may not be professional singers and actors, but the commitment and enthusiasm they brought to the show more than compensated. The hard work which had clearly gone into preparing for their big week was always evident, and producer Tony Randall tried wherever possible to inject a little theatricality into proceedings. That was especially notable in the selections from “Les Miserables”, where the ensemble effectively acted out the scenes, lacking only costumes to complete the picture, and in smaller sequences like Amy Webster and Clare Nicholson’s sultry dance routine in “All That Jazz” from “Chicago”.

The format of the show allowed a plethora of singers to take leading roles, in excerpts that took in solo performances, duets, trios and several larger ensembles. The literal solos included Len Johnson’s “Impossible Dream”, Gail Turner’s “Cockeyed Optimist”, and Caroline MacPherson’s nicely comic account of “I Cain’t Say No”, part of a closing sequence that moved in thematic fashion from “Paint Your Wagon” through “Calamity Jane” to “Oklahoma!”.

Elsewhere the programme made equally effective use of contrasting material, including a sequence in the second half which moved from the sultry, jazz-tinged “Chicago” to an evocative love ballad from “Camelot”, back to up-tempo energy on “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat” from “Guys and Dolls”, and back again to the gentle “I Won’t Send Roses” from “Mack & Mabel”.

There was no shortage of variety in terms of style, either. From the opening sequence of Gilbert & Sullivan numbers to the closing sing-along on “Thank You for the Music” from the ABBA musical, “Mamma Mia”, the show dipped into a broad range of stage musical history, taking in classics like “My Fair Lady”, “South Pacific” and “West Side Story” alongside more contemporary hits like “The Lion King” and “Wicked”. It made for a varied and enjoyable show, and the company was in fine voice in the full chorus material under conductor Bob Garrity, with able backing from the four-piece band led by Sheila Bruce. KM


21st March 2007

Click on Masthead above for full Review directly from Hi-Arts

ARTHUR BROCKLEBANK enjoys Inverness Opera Company’s latest dip into the musicals

THE Talented Inverness Opera Company, being excluded from Eden Court like the rest of us, wanted to keep together, and found no better way than to offer first class entertainment with a huge selection of songs, choruses, duets and solos drawn from many of the shows they had performed in their long history.

The follow-up to last year’s ‘West End to Broadway, Act 1’, packed Culloden Academy Theatre for most of their six-night run, and presented a marvellous concert with enormous enthusiasm, top quality singing, and ingenious imagination.

Just a few of the shows represented were The Gondoliers, Pirates of Penzance, Chorus Line, My Fair Lady, South Pacific, Brigadoon, West Side Story, Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserable, Chicago, Guys and Dolls, and Paint Your Wagon.

Without any costumes, scenery, or make-up to hide behind, they rose to the occasion by varying the presentation with a particularly excellent use of lighting. The performers stepped down from the choir, all in white shirts and blouses for the first half, and multi-coloured later on, to offer their particular songs. This worked really well and it was greatly appreciated by the audience.

© Arthur Brocklebank, 2007

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