Friday, 7 April 2017

"42nd Street” LEOS
May Hall, Trent College, Long Eaton.
Peggy Sawyer is fresh off the bus from small-town America and just another face in the chorus line on Broadway’s newest show, “Pretty Lady”. When the leading lady, Dorothy Brock, gets injured, Peggy might just have the shot at stardom she's always dreamed of….
The Long Eaton Operatic Society (LEOS), at first glance may have taken on a big song and dance musical risk, but with a mix of young talent and seasoned performers in the cast, there was no risk to be had.
Helen Perry (Peggy Sawyer) swaps her previous “Bad Girls” image for an innocent, maybe naïve might be a better adjective, new girl on the Broadway block.Great vocals and what a tapper. At times Helen reminded me a bit of a young Judy Garland
Dave Dave O'Neal plays Julian Marsh, the producer of “Pretty Lady”, the musical within this musical. He stamped his character's authority in this musical as the Producer who knew what he wanted and accepted nothing less than better than the best.
Claire Collishaw takes the role of the ageing leading lady Dorothy Brock. I can only imagine that Claire has loved playing this role because of the diva qualities of Ms Brock
Jack Draper plays the leading romantic male role, Billy Lawlor, who gets his girl by the end of the
musical. Playing the good-looking romantic lead doesn't take much acting for Jack, and we know that he has a good singing voice. What i was so impressed by was Jack's tapping/dancing qualities. I saw him tap in "White Christmas" but he has really built on that experience. His extension lines in his arms and hands are some of the best I've seen in local theatre, showing that attention to detail.
The gorgeous Carrie-Anne Corner plays Maggie Jones and gets to show off those flying tap shoes again as well as subtle humour in the role of Maggie.
Jack Woolley (Bert Barry) has one of the best projections because I heard every word he said. In a theatre which has a bit of a reputation for sound issues near the back, I had no problems hearing Jack.
A great sense of comedy with Jack as well.
Rob Chilton (Andy Lee) is apparently new to tap. If that's the case he is either a fast learner or a natural because he put 110% into his dance. He has such enthusiasm for his role. If only you could bottle enthusiasm like that, it was so infectious.
Directed and Produced by Liz Woolley. This is an absolute smash for Liz. Who needs to travel to London to see a glitzy, classy musical when you have just that in Long Eaton.
Musical Director for this show was Tom Bond. And what an amazing sound this orchestra made. I've seen Tom in charge of music before and I was impressed then and, with a bigger band, he gives us probably one of the best sounds for an orchestra at May Hall.
Lighting by Tom Olding was excellent. From moody to full on Hollywood, and sound by Andrew James. At times I had a bit of an issue hearing some of the lines. This may just be a case of projection though.
What can I say about the choreography? When you have a talent like Laurie Trott in charge of the choreography, you know that you're going to get a classy show. The ensemble pieces were like looking down one of those kaleidoscopes where everything moved as one, well that was what it looked like on stage. Great extensions, as I've already mentioned and some nice pointed feet in the kicks.Laurie has made sure that all the dancers toed the line because you can see this in the quality of the amazing routines.
Talking of the ensemble. they were just brilliant. When they danced they looked as one and when they sang it was like a heavenly choir from a Buzby Berkeley musical.
The many costumes were lush and there were also several very quick total costume changes. Claire Perry was the wardrobe mistress and I think deserves a mention.
While the West End may have Sheena Easton in the latest “42nd Street” London production, this LEOS show isn’t short of star attraction either
So often in some musicals, you don’t realise the amount of memorable tunes that come from the shows. “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me,” “Dames,” “We’re In the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle Off to Buffalo”, “Young & Healthy” and of course the title track nestle among lesser known tunes. All delivered with great gusto and class.
I, and many others, left the theatre with these tunes going around in their head and a warm feeling inside, yet again proving what a very talented group the Long Eaton Operatic Society are.
“42nd Street” is lighting up the Long Eaton night with multitudes of glitz and glamour until Saturday 8 April 2017.

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