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Thoroughly Modern Millie

Thoroughly Modern Millie is a light, frothy musical – that relies on the cast to lift it, as it has a very tenuous story line!

The production was well-cast, and the principals were very good on the whole.

Technically there were a few blips on the night I was there, sound wasn’t very good – I understand there is a new system in the Halls, but it didn’t seem to be very efficient, as there were several places where mics didn’t appear to be tuned properly, with a lot of feedback during Millie’s first number.  The sound balance between stage and orchestra wasn’t brilliant, but improved over the course of the show.

Act 1 was lacking in pace – I thought the whole would have benefitted from seamless scene changes instead of blackouts, it would have speeded up the action, as the audience is always ‘lost’ when the blackout is too long.  

A word of caution, particularly where cast members are not mic’d but have a line to say or sing, they must be in a position to be heard, and must be encouraged to project – as there were a few lines that weren’t clear.  

I liked Katy Jane Meehan as Millie, she danced and sang very well, getting the essence of the modern young lady of the times, she also interacted really well with the Priscilla girls and Jimmy, who was nicely played by James Russell, I enjoyed his performance, and their relationship.

Both newcomers to HLOS, they gave good accounts of themselves.

Sarah Johnson as Miss Dorothy Brown gave us the ingenuous young lady, who falls in love with Millie’s boss.  Sarah got the characterisation very well, and I liked her rendition of Falling in Love with Tom Handley as Trevor Graydon.  Tom gave Trevor the gravitas of a slightly older man with responsibilities, which he achieved really well, and I liked the interaction between Trevor and Dorothy.

Louise Thonger created a very bossy Miss Flannery, with her fantastic wig and some well-delivered comedy lines.  She was a very good foil to the lighter female characters.  I liked Louise’s part in Forget About the Boy – very good.

I always think that the part of Mrs Meers is a very difficult one, and in the main Anna MacDonald took hold of the portrayal and made her a frightening proposition.  Sometimes it was a little difficult to make out what she was saying, but very good on the whole.

For me Jackie Pulford as Muzzy came up trumps – she was a wonderful Society lady, who really looked the part, and sang her numbers beautifully, with loads of energy.  I was very impressed.

The Priscilla Girls were very good as a group – they sang well and gave us the different characters.  I particularly liked Emma Fox as Ruth and Hannah Robinson as Ethel.

The first company number was very lively, and I enjoyed it.

I thought a lot of comic potential between Ching Ho and Bun Foo was lost, only really coming to light during ‘Mammy’ and the finale – a shame.

Tom really came into his own for the Speed Test – very well done, and matched by Katy.  So difficult to get all those words in, but it was all very clear and concise despite the speed.

The Nutty Cracker Suite was well enacted by the ensemble, a good number.

Overall I enjoyed the show and what the cast did with it, despite the fact it is one of my least favourite shows!!

Harpenden Light Opera Society


review date:4th October 2016

at Harpenden Public Halls

Director: Claire Stanley

MD: Mike Payne


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