Words by Various and Music by Various
Bitterne Park Sixth Form Theatre,
June 2019
Director: Marina Voak
Cast List
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Chorus



Notes on this performance

133. Around the World in 20 Shows      

A summer solution…

The Committee tackled the perennial problem of finding a summer show that would not lose money by appointing Nicky Paterson as leader of a sub-committee and requiring it to consider the options available (if any) and report back with some suitable recommendations. It was fairly obvious that the expensive NST (Nuffield Theatre) could not be part of that solution and a variety of venues were investigated before the theatre at Bitterne Park Sixth Form was found to be the cheapest by a long way. The necessity of minimising (or even avoiding) damaging royalty payments led to a serious consideration of a compilation show for the first time in the group’s 95 years existence.

Marina Voak had a wealth of experience with this type of production and was keen to act as Director, suggesting a theme of musicals set in different countries. Finding an MD was not so easy, Nigel Finch eventually volunteered to save the day and soon gathered a small but very effective band to accompany the action. 

The Scene 1+ reviewer had never seen the Society in action but seemingly came away with a favourable impression, ‘As the group approaches their 100th year, it is evident that they are at the top of their game. I have never been to an SOS production so I was keen to see if they lived up to their reputation – and they certainly did.’ He rightly gave much of the credit to the Directing Team, ‘Cleverly, Marina Voak (Director) incorporated 20 different shows into one evening and it is evident how much time, passion and energy she has put into this production. Once again, Nigel Finch (MD) has gathered an excellent 5-piece band to accompany the group. It was noted that Nigel also wrote the parts himself for the musicians, so I take my hat off to him. He certainly is such an asset, not only for this group, but to many groups here in the South. Who needs Lloyd Webber when you’ve got Nigel!’ 

Several individual performers made an impact on him, ‘Lisa Axworthy, with a voice of an angel, performed with such elegance and worthy of any West-End stage. Tina Adams was a joy to listen to and delivered a magical performance of ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’. Abi Jeffrey is born to be on the stage and was clearly enjoying herself the entire evening. Mike Pavitt performed brilliantly and had a fantastic voice – one to watch out for in the future. However, my favourite moments were the group numbers which involved the entire cast. Collectively, the group sounded fantastic and better than some professional choirs. The harmonies were strong and blended together well, the diction was clear and, more than anything, everyone wanted to be on the stage and were clearly enjoying themselves. There seems to be a real sense of community in this group and if I lived closer, I would join!’

The three performances attracted a total audience of 306 but the care taken in selecting material which attracteded low royalties, a relatively cheap performance space, minimal scenery (mainly slides) and a small band meant that the show actually made a profit - only the fourth financial success for a summer show this century!

Terry O'Farrell

     

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