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“COPACABANA”


What a good and interesting show, which I loved.


The set was fairly straight forward, but striking and nicely dressed, with the thrust adding a dimension to the performance area, and it was well-used too.

 

Lighting was imaginative and sound was good throughout.  There were some nice sound effects and the gunshots were extremely good!


The band sounded full and nicely tuned to bring the best out in the music, the overture wasn’t too long, and the opening was strong.  There were some really nice harmonies from the ensemble, that really brought the music to life.


The things that really gave the production life were the enthusiasm of the cast and the costumes.  I think they probably had the most impact of any set of costumes I’ve seen for a long time.  They were colourful where needed, sexy and suitable.  The effect of the ladies costumes in Just Arrived was super, the effect of the black dresses with coloured coats, hats and suitcases was so right.  The showgirls costumes were also stunning, and they wore them well, getting the right sort of walk for showgirls, with the four ladies in top hats looking both elegant and sexy – wonderful.


I liked the white dresses for the ladies and white suits for the men – it was a stand-out look that was really effective.


The audition scene was very well accomplished, loved Mandy Gaines as the piano player, where different personas for each bite were really funny.  The final part of the scene where Lola performs Man Wanted in Tony’s suggested tempo was a super number, and I loved the grouping and lighting for Who Needs a Dream.  


The choreography was interesting, and made the most of the music and the abilities of the cast, however I expected a little more from the Bolero, it was very static and with the talent up there on stage, there was room for more, particularly from Joyce and Barry.


The Havana scene was very colourful and lively, and the comedy within Who Am I Kidding was extremely good.


This Can’t Be Real was beautiful with lovely effects which enhanced the musical awareness.


The use of the gauze was nicely managed and gave a different perception to the scenes, which I liked.  The moving between the “present” and the “past” was sometimes a little blurred, but it didn’t matter as everything was so nicely staged and handled.


Claire Millins gave us a lovely Lola/Samantha – strong characterisation, with good dance ability and meaning in the musical numbers.  She interacted well with Terry Cavander as Tony/Stephen, who was the complete showman, moving well, and giving an edge to some of the more cheesy numbers.  I liked this pairing, they looked good together and created some really charming moments within the action.  I wasn’t sure about the piano facing away from the audience so that Terry had his back to us, but could understand the reason why, and mostly it worked!


Matt Clothier was a good Sam – he created an upfront character, who was the typical nightclub owner, but then also showed his nicer side.  


It was nice to see Carl Robinson in a meaty part as Rico – he got the menace of the man, and also got a nice edge to his songs, whilst keeping his accent but not making it too heavy – nice one.


Colette Eagles portrayed the cigarette girl Gladys well, showing both her strong and more caring sides.  


Conchita, the ageing star of Rico’s club and his companion, until his gaze wandered to other younger singers, was played by Jackie Pulford.  I liked her characterisation, and her fiery nature, which softened when she realised that Lola was also a pawn in Rico’s game.


Andrew Darby played a very different character for him, and whilst he got the affected rather camp voice, I’m afraid that for me, the walk just did not work.  


The other minor principals and ensemble players who had lines were all nicely played.


As I said before, I liked the enthusiasm of the cast – it showed that they were obviously enjoying themselves, and therefore the audience relaxed and enjoyed themselves too, making it not only a good-looking show, but a very watchable one too.  I was very impressed and although a very different type of show, it certainly lived up to, and possibly surpassed Pirates.


So well done to everyone involved, a production that HLOS can be proud of, and one that I completely enjoyed.


It was nice to see Carl Robinson in a meaty part as Rico – he got the menace of the man, and also got a nice edge to his songs, whilst keeping his accent but not making it too heavy – nice one.


Colette Eagles portrayed the cigarette girl Gladys well, showing both her strong and more caring sides.  


Conchita, the ageing star of Rico’s club and his companion, until his gaze wandered to other younger singers, was played by Jackie Pulford.  I liked her characterisation, and her fiery nature, which softened when she realised that Lola was also a pawn in Rico’s game.


Andrew Darby played a very different character for him, and whilst he got the affected rather camp voice, I’m afraid that for me, the walk just did not work.  


The other minor principals and ensemble players who had lines were all nicely played.


As I said before, I liked the enthusiasm of the cast – it showed that they were obviously enjoying themselves, and therefore the audience relaxed and enjoyed themselves too, making it not only a good-looking show, but a very watchable one too.  I was very impressed and although a very different type of show, it certainly lived up to, and possibly surpassed Pirates.


So well done to everyone involved, a production that HLOS can be proud of, and one that I completely enjoyed.







Harpenden Light Opera Society

COPACABANA

review date: 23rd March 2013 at Harpenden Public Halls

Director: Sally Davis

Choreographer: Isobel Handley

MD: Chris Cuming  

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