Sunday, 3 July 2016

"Stand In The Spotlight" by Spotlight Theatre.
Nottingham Play house.

Spotlight Theatre's annual showcase of talent is always one to look forward to. They make me feel that if I was forty years younger, I'd be tempted to be where they are now, and hopefully with the talent that they have.

Similar to last week's Midland's Academy of Drama and Dance (MADD) but with younger members, which can provide (and it did) a chorus of "aaahhhhs" from the audience as well as (and I'm sure it did) a few headaches and worries from the stage managers, Amy Rogers-Gee and Marie Rogers and chaperones, too many to mention, but as they say in showbiz, it was alright on the night. And when it looked to not be, it was anyway.

There were a couple of times that things with the little ones may not have been planned but you know what, who cared because when you are that cute, you can get away with it and they all seemed to love being on stage in front of so many people. It's always cute to see a little one hanging back on stage to wave to someone on the audience, I know I've been there!

56 Spotlight students graced the stage and gave their all but made it look so easy, which I know it isn't. The 56 made up of juniors, inters and seniors provided a varied and exciting programme with some novel sections under the heading of "role reversal 1 - 4", This was where the children in the "family" took the roles of the adults and vice versa, creating some interesting scenarios with brilliantly humerous outcomes.

As with the MADD Showcase last week I'm not going to mention every single one on stage but I will highlight some of my favourite bits. Again, all the students did a cracking job and showed, not only great confidence but great camaraderie and worked very well as a team, especially the younger students.

"Sweeney Todd" has always been a favourite musical of mine and the seniors included a section of this in there, ticking my boxes from early on.

The juniors did a very entertaining dance routine to "Shake A Tail Feather" and a cute version of "Anything You Can Do", which i would have loved to have seen go on longer. They were also involved in the Shrek song "Big Bright Beautiful World"

Jack Symington and Jude Beaven provided a nice touch of comedy with "Expressing Yourself" from "Billy Elliott".

There was attitude from Grace Hodgett-Young and co. with the song "Move" and Matty Collins and Charleigh Hurst played out a little gem of a piece called "Therapy".

Next up was a potted version of "The Wizard Of Oz" with an unexpected double appearance of the Wizard (you had to have been there) which I loved to bits.

A double piece of "All Quiet" and "Stars Look Down" closed the first half, made all the more poignant with Friday's remembrance of The Somme.

Act Two started off with a taster of things to come with a selection from "Fame" (which you can see at the Nottingham Arts Theatre this month), again highlighting the wonderful choreographed talents of the students as well as their choreographer Jessica Royce.

A big highlight for me was from James Murray and Georgia Hodgett-Young with their romantic "As Long As You're Mine".

Another big highlight was "Don't Rain On My Parade" from "Funny Girl" with Eva Sheppard taking the lead vocals and storming it.

I mentioned the choreography and there were some varied pieces ranging from big tap routines alongside contemporary, and it's always good that the male contingent are as good as the females. James Murray and Matty Collins showcased some brilliant footwork, as well as their strong vocal talents.

Apart from the musical and choreography numbers there were some really good acting talents being showcased in some original dramatic pieces.

Directed by Amanda Hall, who, I know, will be so proud of her students, from the youngest to the most senior. She will also be proud of her tutors who have worked so hard with the students. The lighting, again in the expert hands of Tom Mowat and sound, in equally expert hands, and ears of Rob Kettridge.

Showcases such as these are important, not only for the audiences who can see what their kids have been working on, but for people who love a varied night of entertainment. It's a chance for talent spotting and scouting and measuring progression of the students. It's also important for the students to get their talent seen by a wider audience and, for the young students possibly a first taste of being on stage properly and receiving adoration from an audience and also provides great confidence for them.

To think in a few years time some of these performers may be Nottingham's next West End stars. When I think of the progression and growth from some of the students I've seen over the years with Spotlight, students like James Murray, Eva Sheppard, Matty Collins and the Hodgett-Young sisters Grace and Georgia, they are primed and ready for what is, in my mind, their next step, whatever that may be. They are brilliant role models for the younger students and,as with all of the Spotlight students and behind the scenes folk, a group that Nottingham should be proud of and supported, in the same way that all local theatre groups should be.

I said at the start that i would not be mentioning everyone but i acknowledge every name in the programme as being an integral part of the success of Spotlight. Long may your Spotlight shine.

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