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‘Once Upon A Time’ was a well thought out compilation show and with a theme of musicals from page to stage, it enabled Jack Griffin and Adam Blosse to push the audience’s appreciation of musicals beyond the known and into rather less familiar territory. This probably applied mostly to the older members in the audience, but they were possibly in the majority on the evening I was there. The newer shows /songs would be more familiar to the younger members who now clearly make up a large part of the membership of the Society.

The narrator provided the link between books/stories to the stage and Daisy Lee was excellent. She appeared to be very young but had confidence and gave a well- rounded and accomplished performance. Her ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ was beautiful.

There are too many songs to comment on them all but I will try to include a good number. The children did well in all of their songs and it’s good to see them have the opportunity to perform in front of an audience.

Amanda’s ‘Trolley Song’ was sung as opposed to belted and made a nice contrast as many of the numbers required a more musical theatre voice. Tara and Georgia’s duet was lovely and the familiar ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ was a good company number.

I didn’t know the show ‘Something Rotten’ but appreciated Kai Hinds vocal ability, and even more so in ‘Prepare Ye’. The following two songs from ‘Godspell’ were good, although the accompaniment wasn’t very helpful to the vocalists in ‘Day by Day’. The lighting in that section was excellent, in fact the lighting throughout was well -designed and operated and it added greatly to the atmosphere. Without scenery or colourful costumes it could have been drab, but it certainly wasn’t and I thought the black costumes worked very well.

 Greta Bruce did a great job with ‘Goin Courtin’ as did Graham Hope with ‘Hushabye Mountain’ from ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’.

‘Forever Autumn ’is a lovely song – I’d no idea it was in a musical and I enjoyed Nigel’s rendition.

Sarah Poore and Jo Conlon tackled what sounded to be a very difficult tune in ‘Joy of Motherhood’ and Harriet left us in no doubt that she ‘Enjoyed being a Girl’.

The ‘Les Miserables’ section was super.

I haven’t seen ‘The Adams Family’ but appreciated the song and acting in it – again the lighting was commendable, and The Ballad of Sweeney Todd’ was praiseworthy.

The men enjoyed bringing a well-known song from ’My Fair Lady’ to the stage, and it was lovely to hear an operatic voice when Donna Marshall sang ‘Beauty and the Beast’ – Lucy Keyser’s dancing was beautifully performed.

‘Pure Imagination’ was delightfully presented by Mike and Stanley who appeared to have a real on stage bond between them.

Lollie Fryer’s ‘Maybe I like it this Way’ was thought provoking and she did it well, and Aileen and Connie acted ‘Best Friend’ strongly. The ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ song was moving and ‘Everything’s Coming up Roses’ was a particularly good number by Aileen.

‘Neverland’, another stranger to me but one that was lyrical and Jack sang it well.

Adam Blosse composed interesting and unusual arrangements for a number of the songs and had worked with the company to achieve first class dynamics and sound in the chorus numbers. They really were excellent. My one negative comment is that the band was consistently too loud, especially the percussion, and James Hulme in the centre facing the audience was a distraction. 

Direction by Jack and the choreography aided by Tara and Charlie all made for a polished compilation show.

The sound was good and I have already mentioned the lighting.

Your programme is interesting and well presented.

Thank you for inviting me to see ‘Once Upon a Time’ and for your hospitality on the evening – it was good to meet Jack again.

E. Gloria Smith 

NODA South East Regional Representative – District 12.