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I enjoy a compilation – lots of people get an opportunity to show what they can do without taking on the responsibility of a lead role in a book show. John Dean Roberts put together a particularly full on entertainment and whilst I didn’t know many of the songs the young people in the audience clearly did and they loved them.

The most obvious thing throughout the production was the enormous amount of energy on stage and also the enjoyment of those taking part in this innovative production.

The choreography was super and how fortunate you are to have so many young people amongst your number who can not only sing but can also dance. The few slightly more mature people on stage – and it was good to have them as there should be a cross section of society represented in any show – also showed their skill in the dance numbers and are strong vocally.

There are far too many songs to comment on so I will pick out a few that really stuck in my mind. This is based mostly on the songs that I enjoyed and not on individual performers. Each and every one added their particular talent into the equation and the results were first rate.

GREAT opening number!

This was followed by lovely representation of Charlie Chaplin by Kai who has a particularly fine voice.

Laurel and Hardy was cleverly done with the two men mirroring the projection behind them.

Sarah and Company gave us a treat, exhibiting their tapping skills in ‘Tap Your Troubles Away’.

Both of the Pocahontas songs were good, by Liam and Harriet, and then Jakub, and I had heard those before.

The Titanic section was not only sung but acted out with skill by the company. The old film footage was especially emotive.

Harriet and Holly were super in ‘I Can’t Do It Alone’.

The ‘Greatest Show’ selection was artistically set with the ringmaster providing a vibrant splash of red amongst the other costumes, and the individual singers made their mark.

In the second act I loved the song from ‘Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’ and the girls’ gimmicks in ‘Gypsy’ were great fun.

Another cleverly choreographed number was the Drag Queen one with the chairs expertly and imaginatively used in the setting. The cast moved them easily and Scott gave a most affecting performance.

‘Blitz’ allowed Donna an opportunity to shine in ‘Our Hotel’ and Paula too with ‘Bake A Cake’. ‘This Geezer Hitler’ was hammed up splendidly.

‘Dear Evan Hansen’ seems to be popular at the moment but I’m afraid I didn’t find the music very appealing.

The last section was for me most enjoyable – I knew all the songs and loved them! ‘I Got You Babe’ was good and of course the audience were joining in ‘Karma Chameleon’ with enthusiasm (well I certainly was!)

Summing up, the whole company worked together to make this a non-stop energetic compilation show with first rate singing and dancing. 

Karen Newby kept her two other accompanists together and the sound was balanced. Unfortunately it was too loud for some of the songs. Less amplification of the band would have helped, but in fact some of the personal mikes were also too loud on occasion. There were a few fluctuations in volume and a few slow pick-ups of soloists.

The all-black costumes looked smart and then the more glittery ones added a touch of glamour in Act Two.

Lighting was most impressive and really enhanced the production. The original projections were excellent, taking us back in time with the old advertisements – how they all came back into my head!

There was an enormous amount for the company to learn – songs and choreography – and they did it all with confidence and style.

The programme is an unusual format – stating the times as on the TV – and has enough information on each item.

Thank you very much for inviting me to see ‘Back to Reality’ and also for your hospitality on the evening.

E. Gloria Smith. NODA South East Regional Representative – District 12