December 2000 at Leighton Buzzard Theatre
The Youth Section put on this classic musical with some memorable acting, fantastic singing and some amazing dances.
Review by Robin Hinton Brewer - NODA Area Representative:
Oklahoma! This is a big show and a long one too! It takes a tremendous amount of stamina for even an adult company to perform it with vigour for more than a couple of performances, so for a youth group to take the challenge may seem beyond them. LBCT took on the challenge and succeeded far beyond their dreams.
Over the years Sally Allsopp has pushed, cajoled, praised, but never bullied her company of youngsters into giving their best. This production showed off their talents well. Dialogue projection has continued to improve, every word clearly heard. Sally in blocking the scenes ensured we had plenty of good set pieces to watch. Her work with the company on their characters well developed, each member of the company was an individual character in their own right.
David Allsopp, as one has come to expect gave good support accompanying the musical numbers, never overpowering even the softest of voices on the stage. I was impressed by the rendition of "Kansas City" the company were confident and secure in their performance. The male chorus were extremely strong in "Its an outrage" better than some adult companies I have seen.
Over the past few years I have watched Eva Clarke perform several roles with confidence, her "Aunt Eller" was strong with a good accent. She continues to sing well and put over her songs well.
"Laurey" played by Amy Lynch was a fresh faced, nice looking character, with lots of confidence and a pleasing nature. Every word of dialogue was given its full value and her performance of the musical numbers bright. As the years go by her voice will develop, she has particular strength in her lower registers.
Alex Dempsey turned in a strong performance as the hero "Curly" he had a nice sense of bravado when talking to Laurey and his playing of the scene with Jud was particularly strong. Alex found the gentle comedy in the dialogue and sang his numbers with style.
Paul Nettleton shared the character of "Jud Fry" with Tim Mann. Tim gave a tremendous performance with great maturity - he was focused and his sense of timing superb.
Paul gave a brooding interpretation full of depth. Paul as the oldest member of the cast, was last seen playing a pompous sales twit- in Jud he showed a tremendous depth of character seldom seen in this role. I enjoyed his rendition of "Lonely Room" and hope he succeeds in his career and works full time in theatre.
Ryan Bandy gave us a gently comic performance as "Will Parker" his performance of "Kansas City" a delight and his dancing secure, He gave good support to his fellow players ensuring they were never upstaged by his performance but he made sure we knew he was onstage and having a great time.
As Wills girlfriend "Ado Annie", Louise Betley was having great fun, she relished every moment she was onstage and made sure she got over her comic lines with flair specially in "I Caint say no" and "All or nothing" with Ryan which was nicely stylish.
"Ali Hakim" is a comedy role that can be played so over the top it becomes a caricature, not here Matt Williams gave a strong performance which worked well, the audience laughed at his every joke and facial expression, well done Matt.
The outrageous laugh from Lauren Stanley, as "Gertie" was just that outrageous and well over the top just as it should be. This was a fun part given by a young actor full of confidence.
Sam Dunham gave a thoughtful performance as "Carnes", he became stronger as the performance went on, his playing of the court scene stylish and well thought through- congratulations.
In the cameo roles and as a chorus members the company all gave strong support to the major principals, this is one of the strengths of this society, it supports everyone be they on-stage, backstage or front of house, everyone believes in what they are doing and from this belief ensure that the audience has an entertaining evening out.
The costumes were bright and colourful - and the wearing of stage shoes added to the overall production.
Thank you for inviting me to Oklahoma!, I look forward to the next productions with eager anticipation.