Carousel, Astwood Bank Operatic Society, Palace Theatre, Redditch
WHAT a great night out this proved to be.
Like all good musical theatre it left the audience with a spring in their step and a song in their hearts as we all filed out of the Palace after a thoroughly fine evening’s entertainment.
The tone was set from the opening image, a lone carousel pony reflecting the ups and downs of life before the stage filled with the ensemble and the action got underway.
Carousel, written by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and first performed in 1945, deals with themes much bigger than you’d expect from a musical, but the cast from Astwood Bank Operatic Society carried them off with aplomb.
Indeed the evening flew past as they drew us in to the story of fairground barker Billy Bigelow (David Steele) and his long suffering wife Julie Jordan (Sophie Grogan).
The show features some standout numbers and it is to the credit of the cast that they really did them justice too.
Melanie Hart as Nettie did a poignant solo rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ before the ensemble joined in while ‘June is Bustin’ Out All Over’ was a superb number for the entire cast.
However David Steele’s ‘My Boy Bill’ was the real showstopper and had this reviewer’s head flashing back through time to the great Frank Sinatra’s version.
In fact the singing was superb throughout with special plaudits also going to Jo Hargreaves as Julie’s friend Carrie Pipperidge and Sophie Grogan.
Michael Treagust’s Enoch Snow added a lovely touch of humour while Will James, who in the programme claims to rarely play the bad guy, was a natural as the villain Jigger Craigin. I also loved Jean Chalk’s Mrs Mullin.
Special mention too to the live orchestra who didn’t miss a beat.
Directed by Carole Massey in her first time in the hot seat, this show is a hit from beginning to end.
Am-Dram? I doubt if you’ll find a more professional production within a 100 miles.
Carousel continues at the Palace until Saturday, March 17 when there is both a matinee and an evening performance.
Tickets cost from £16 in person from the box office or on 01527 65203 or online at http://www.redditchpalacetheatre.co.uk/