NODA WALES & IRELAND
REVIEWED BY LYN EMMERSON FOR JACKIE TITLEY
NEWTOWN MUSICAL THEATRE COMPANY
Director: Les Skilton
Musical Director: Sarah Astley-Davies
Choreographer: Dawn Jones
This show is a popular choice for Societies at the moment and every production is different. Every Society puts its own stamp on it, and NMTC’s production was no exception. They rose to the challenge and I was pleased to see an excellent house on the evening I attended.
Amber Deacon was perfect in the enviable role of Deloris Van Cartier. She opened the show with a a rousing ‘Take Me To Heaven’ flanked by Josephine Catherwood as Michelle and Rosanna Smith as Tina. This set the pace for the whole production which never let up from start to finish. Amber extracted all the different moods in Deloris’s character. Brash and sassy, frightened and nervous, frustration with having to abide by the rules of the convent and at times we did see the gentle side of this crazy character. Amber’s singing and the timing of her script was spot on and she fully justified her selection to portray this complex and difficult individual. Well done!
I liked Chris Clarke as Mother Superior. Never letting Deloris get the better of her. Conscious of her position as Mother Superior yet having demonstrating a tender side to her character. Chris’s singing was perfect throughout and much appreciated by the audience, a lovely performance.
Monsignor O’Hara was in the capable hands of Mike Clarke who gave a solid portrayal bringing out some of the comical moments to the displeasure of Mother Superior. The Nuns were well cast. It was evident that Ali Aston thoroughly whooped it up from start to finish as Sister Mary Patrick, whilst Gaenor Bowen revelled in the role of Sister Mary Lazarus. I was very impressed by young Alex Austin who took the role of Sister Mary Robert. Her singing voice came over as very mature for her age and her ‘The Life I Never Led’ was superb. There were good performances from the Ensemble of Nuns, each one demonstrating a certain character from young to not so young. Nice touch from the two Altar Boys in attendance, Charlie Mark and Ollie Orme.
Following his dual roles in Peter Pan, Craig Harris gave an excellent portrayal as Lieutenant Eddie Souther, affectionately known to Deloris as ‘Sweaty Eddie’. Never faltering with his accent, Craig’s rendering of his ‘I Could Be That Guy’ was delivered with sensitivity, and he handled the change of costume on stage without a pause. He truly became ‘the cream of the crop’ in this number to the delight of the audience. The crew of gangsters was led by John Bowen as Curtis, Deloris’s shady boyfriend, the main spiv or racketeer, who eventually tracks her down to the convent. Good portrayal of this seedy character from John who was well supported by his dodgy sidekicks, Joey: Andrew Bond, TJ: Rob Jones, Pablo: Jonathan Davies and Ernie: Tony Orme. The Gangsters nearly brought the house down with their ‘Lady in the Long Black Dress’ which was a highlight. There were many minor roles, all well executed. Choreography was innovative and well-rehearsed, and the Company pulled out all the stops with ‘Sunday Morning Feeling’. Costumes were well chosen and appropriate in all scenes. Another triumph for Bridget Wallbank for Set Design, with swift and quiet scene and props changes from, as usual, a more than competent stage crew.
A brave and creditable stab at this popular show which certainly paid off, and gave much pleasure to the delighted audience, which gave the Company a well-deserved standing ovation.