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‘Slice’ is a fun musical, and this version certainly had the fun element, although tailored for the youth group, some of the more obvious innuendos etc were missing, which meant it lost a bit of the edge it normally has, and ended up more as a tale of teens rather than a celebration of the naughty side of life in the 1960’s.

That said, the musical numbers worked well, Sarah Farrar always gets a good sound from her cast, and there were some nice harmonies going on where relevant, very much in evidence in Please Don’t Tell Me and Last Saturday Night.  The small band gave us an excellent sound, with reasonably effective sound balance from Graham Elliott and team.

Director Stuart Farrar, made sure that every young person had at least one solo line or song to make their own, which is good for the cast, as they have to think about their character and delivery.

The choreography was fairly simple but effective, a first outing for Kelly Seal.

The ‘jacket flap’ number was great fun – really enjoyed it.  The fight at the end of Act 1 was also well-staged and looked real.

I loved the set from Gary Nash, it made the Stopsley stage look huge – and accommodated the action well, with effective lighting from Paul Horsler and team, but where so many blackouts really necessary?

It was good to see a strong lads cast – one always expects the girls to come up trumps, but not always the lads, which was not the case this time.

I particularly liked Forrest Jones who played Rick.  He kept his character going the whole time and managed his musical numbers well, keeping within his voice capabilities, nicely done.  Long Walk Back had very effective lighting at the end.

Nico Bamford has good comic timing and created a fun Eddie, his singing voice is well-developed with good expression.

Daniel Pateman as Gary was very full-on as part of this diverse trio.  He showed bravado in his portrayal, and also a more tentative side when confessing to Eric that he hadn’t actually kissed a girl!

I thought Nathaniel Reeve-Smith had the handle on a good character as Terry, a different dimension and contrast to the other lads.  

Jake Haydon and Unami Tenga completed the lads line up, and just needed a little more conviction to make their characters stand out – however their number in the gents loo was nearly there, and I enjoyed it.

Amy Farrar created a lovely character as the rather shy Sharon, I liked the pairing with Rick, they bounced off each well.  Amy gave us some lovely facial expressions particularly in I Fancy You/Sentimental Eyes – nicely done.

Evie Wright was a very upfront Sue, who delivered the Twiggy number very well, good expression.  I really liked the Baby I Love You number with Gary – again a well-matched pairing and a sound rendition of the song.

Abigail Grant showed a nice voice as Shirl, and Allanah Rogers performed her number very well, nicely phrased and good expression, with Niara Gordon as Cynthia and Ellese Pymont as Penny also performing well.

Freya Spratley as Julie, Lucy Farrar as Sandra and Tiana Rogers as Tracey all have very bright faces that showed lively interest in everything that was going on, which drew the eye – well done girls.

Alice Hayden showed good musical quality as Pamela in her song Cliff, which I thought was very well performed, Alice also has a very lively face and her character always reaches her eyes.

The girls made the most of their portrayals, and generally the female cast had nicely refined characters and sound vocals.

Eric the nightclub owner was played in a rather laidback fatherly way by Steve Peters, a good contrast to the other actors, and I understand the reason behind pitching the character in that way, but I did rather miss the underlying slightly wide-boy that is usually Eric.

The girls had created super hairdos – particularly Alice and Lucy, a general comment would be that we did not pull our hair forward over our shoulders in the 60’s, it would have very definitely been behind the ears, and also no floating strands of hair over the face.  The dresses all looked good.

I would have liked to have seen the lads take a bit more trouble with their hairdo’s, either brylcreemed or quiffed would have just lifted their look, they were all much too modern, although they’d made a good attempt with their costumes.

A pleasing, energetic production that we enjoyed, and so good to see Colin Smith bridging the gap for youth performers, which is sorely needed in Luton and much appreciated by their audiences.  

Colin Smith Youth Theatre


review date: 10th April 2015 at Stopsley High School Director: Stuart Farrar

MD: Sarah Farrar  

Choreographer: Kelly Seal


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