Thursday, 5 February 2015

OUT THERE at The Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton​

"Out There" is a musical all about not giving up on your dreams, no matter how old or young you may be, and how apt that this musical is performed by the Erewash Musical Society Youth Group​. There isn't, as far as I know a musical written about space but James Bourne​ of McBusted and Elliot Davis have come up with a cracking little musical here, with an amazingly catchy soundtrack.

The hero of "Out There" is Logan Carter, a teenager who has fallen foul of the U,S, law and decides to run away, and with a little help from his Aunt Celia, he goes to hideout in Hope, Texas staying with an old man in a shack, who has more than one secret he is hiding from the townsfolk and Logan.

Logan is played by a young man who in the past I have said is a name to look out for in musical theatre, Hayden Fletcher​. He has an amazing voice for musical theatre, so controlled and pure. Just hear him sing "Space" for control and perfect pitch. He is a worthy lead and has a real presence in his acting, natural and comfortable to watch.

Logan's dad, David Carter, was played by another young man I have had the pleasure of seeing on stage many times in the past, Zak Charlesworth​, again a performer who does not disappoint, and while he said afterwards that he was suffering a bit with his voice, this didn't come across in his performance; professional as ever.

The old man with the secrets and the dreams is Newman Carter, who turns out to be Logan's Grandfather and is very well characterized by another EMS Youth Group member, Dylan Singfield. Very convincing as an old man, which is not something that would come naturally to a 15 year old. Shows what a good actor can do!

There must be a love interest for Logan and this is the role of Jamie Pack, the Sheriff's daughter and garage mechanic ( Katie Lawson). Another teenager with a really lovely voice and natural ability.

Sheriff Pack is a brilliant little character role, confidently performed by 17 year old Lucy Judson.

The comedy pairing of the Sheriff's men, Billy and Stan are well cast in Oliver Wheddon​ and Lewis Haycock, bringing out a panto/camp personality in Pack's lap dog type employees. Just see them dancing and you will see what I mean, lovely comic touches!

Always looking for that big news item are TV reporter Claudia Pointers and her cameraman Stuart Prince (Rebecca Groombridge and Jasper Males), but do they get the scoop they are after?

A big cast who really work well together, at times moving across the stage like a well choreographed wave, smoothly crossing from one side to the other, all thanks to Carol Lawson for the choreography.

Having such a large cast, and I apologise that I can't mention them all because they all deserve a mention, is no easy job for a director, but Alysa Gomes does a sterling job in this production.

I just knew that the music side of "Out There" was going to be good when you have a musical director with the talent of  Joshwa Kemp​ at the helm, What I appreciated was that Josh, having the experience of being a music teacher/singer/songwriter/musical director as well as acting and directing, he knew when to lower and soften the volume of the live four piece band so that some of the not so strong singers could be heard and not drowned out. Pure class and professionalism!

Lighting is also important in this musical for highlighting stage areas and Dave Dallard and the sound and light crew stepped up to the mark.

The scenery and props were introduced on stage without being obtrusive and smoothly taken off, which is no mean feat when there is a car, kitchens, shacks and barns to be wheeled into place. Often this isn't mentioned or credited but they are vital for any play and the smoother this is done the more enjoyable for the viewer.

A great story, some wonderful songs that will stick in your head for days to come, just try to forget "Learn To Dance", "Space", "Out There" and "Weekend On The Moon" if you can. James Bourne uses his catchy pop songwriting talents so well in the songs in this musical. Ridiculously talented cast and crew for this out of this world new musical which I have a feeling may become a bit of a mini musical classic.

"Out There" is on at The Duchess Theatre, Chatsworth Arts Centre​, Long Eaton until Saturday 7 February 2015 but if tonight was anything to go by, you need to get those tickets fast, because tonight was a sell out!

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