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This compilation show celebrating 20 years of Phoenix Players following their renaming after Top Hatters closed, was fun, and had some very nice numbers, although some were overlong.

It is always difficult to review a show like this – as if I were to mention every number my review would be as long as the actual show! – so I will give an overall view, and pick out a few items of particular note.

The use of single colour curtains round the back and sides of the stage, decorated with gold stars, looked fine, and were a good backdrop to the mostly colourful costumes.

The lighting cast a few shadows on faces in the ensemble numbers, but was good for the parts when fewer people were on stage.  Sound was a little suspect at times.

David Thomas proved to be an effective MD once again, whilst he and Tim Garside accompanied the singers well, added much to the performances, but never became intrusive.

The men all looked very smart in their dress suits and the ladies had various types of dresses the majority of which looked really nice. The Hall looked really good – the table decorations were lovely, I was impressed and pleased that thought had gone into that as well as the production.

The opening was energetic, and I enjoyed the music, but perhaps it was a little over-choreographed, the stage is small, so it would have been nice to have had standing groups and just a few people dancing – it would have looked so much more effective and neater, and would have showed the choreography off to its full potential.

I particularly liked Tim Gannon – he always performs well and is expressive, which gave loads of interest to the numbers he was in. In the SoM medley the first song was quite dour, whilst the second one was lively and the ladies gave us enjoyment in what they did.

The young ladies performed very well, I was impressed with Dayna Mullane, who looked charming in her sequinned dress, and showed what a good voice and performance ethic she has.  The other youngsters in the group, Megan Wagstaff, Olivia Jordan and Natasha Brown all gave their best too, and made their section one of the most enjoyable in the show.

I liked the Oliver medley – some nice solos from all.  Courtney Buttigieg sang her number really nicely – tuneful and charming, followed by the ladies, with good choreography who looked as if they were enjoying themselves.

Jenny Whelan and Alan Purton as always performed a very lovely and humorous number, and Jenny also gave us a poem written by her for the occasion.

Barry Hyde performed several numbers, and gave them his usual energy and humour where needed, and I loved the Two Ladies with Sue Tingey and Pauline Field – very well done.

I liked Vicki Smith’s solo, it was well-sung and nice to see her just singing and not moving around.  Kate Brooks showed a strong and tuneful voice in her duet with Scott Newman, who was his trademark cheeky chappy in this production – always good to see.

The finale for Act 2 was a little scrappy choreographically – less would have been more in this case I felt.  The ‘in memoriam’ section was a nice thought.

The Pippin selection was excellent – Tim Gannon was extremely good, a real showman and Jenny Whelan put over her song well, with gentle humour.  The setting was simple without too much movement and that gave it a good feel.

I loved Katie Ross and Mel Webster’s duet – good comic take and well sung too.  The tap number was well-choreographed.

On the whole I enjoyed the production, so well done to everyone involved.

Phoenix Players


Director:  Melissa Webster MD:  David Thomas

Choreographers: Jackie Hensley & Sarah Meers


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