THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE
Chilwell School, Nottinghamshire.
Marvellous Productions was only founded in 2013 and you may think that calling your production company "Marvellous" may be a bit like blowing your own trumpet but the production company really lives up to it's name.
Their mission statement is " fresh new talent, fresh new productions" and again this is delivered, although the talent may not be so new because I've known some of them for a couple of years now and they always deliver, and tonight was no different.
"Spelling Bee" is a competition in which contestants are asked to spell a broad selection of words, usually with a varying degree of difficulty. The contestants in this musical play are all characters with their own little idiosyncrasies, and all start off wanting to be the 25th Annual Putnam county Spelling Bee winner, but for some this aim changes throughout the play.
In this play with music, as opposed to a full blown musical, there are six actual contenders with three others made up of voluntary members from the audience, who one by one are dismissed from their roles when they get the spellings wrong.
The six characters are Chip Tolentino (Kayrakise Evans), a boy scout who has trouble with his spelling when he takes his mind off the job in hand, so to speak,
Leaf Coneybear (Rob Charles), Leaf is like an over excited puppy who discovers that he is smarter than he thought,with a manic way of spelling out his requested spellings. A role that I'm sure Rob took to like a fish to water.
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenntere (Keli Wain), a modern politically aware girl who has two overbearing fathers and a lisp.
Marcy Park (Abby Riddell) who speaks six languages and in the play gets a visit from someone she wasn't expecting,
Olive Ostrovsky ( Sophie Kish) who develops a bit of a soft spot for one of her fellow spelling bee contestants and finally William Barfee (Chris Vaughan), the clever one with a strange way of spelling.
All the characters in the play are very strong and there are three others who complete the cast. Douglas Panch (Daniel Potts) is a brilliantly funny character with some very funny lines but is meant to be one of the more serious roles as the spelling bee judge (work that one out). If Daniel wants an alternative career he could double as a Daniel Radcliffe lookalike!
Mitch Mahoney is "The Official Comfort Counsellor". An ex-convict, Mitch is performing his community service with the Bee, and hands out juice boxes to losing students and played by another familiar theatrical regular Rob Holsman.
And finally, Rona Perretti, a former Putnam County Spelling Bee Champion herself, and returning moderator. This role is played by the lovely Cat Tuckey and what you really notice about Cat is her gorgeous singing voice.
But I think the most nervous person involved was director George Lamb, as this was his baby. George has several years experience performing on local stages and his direction of "Spelling Bee" was spot on. A generous director who is not afraid to let his actors self develop their characters to make them even funnier. And this is a very VERY funny play. Funnier than I had expected and I knew this would be funny just by knowing the calibre of actors involved and their portfolio of past work.
Some nice lighting effects used to highlight particular moments throughout the play and a simple piano accompaniment by Joel Hall ensured you heard all of the comedic musical lyrics.
All in all, if you fancy a really good chuckle of an evening, you could do so much worse than go out and spend a tenner and support Marvellous Productions marvellous production.
"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" is at Chilwell School until Saturday 26 July 2014