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I loved the show – it was slightly risqué, with good technicals and costumes, and a super cast.  A challenge to HLOS both musically and in the subject matter, but one which seemed to work on all levels.

Director John Hebden has such a fertile mind, and doesn’t mind being a bit OTT, or bringing out the humour and irreverence, which the cast buys in to, thus making it both exciting for the cast and for the audience.

The set was beautifully conceived – and worked well, with the different levels, banners being drawn across, and props being moved in and out to show the different houses, park etc,  allowing the cast to navigate it with ease.

The flying scene was very accomplished, and I appreciate the work required behind the scenes operating the pullies to keep those ladies flying.

The costumes were excellent throughout –  worn with style, and some very good-looking if slightly extravagant wigs.  I thought the colour combinations were also very good.  

Lighting, designed by Steve Bates gave us some lovely effects, the fade for Make Him Mine was beautiful and created a super atmosphere.  Overall the lighting helped create the different feelings felt by the ladies and Darryl.

Graham Thomson had a very good-sounding band and had obviously worked hard with the cast to get the lovely sounds they produced, as it was not an easy sing.

The three main principal ladies Sarah Nasmyth-Miller (Alex), Anna MacDonald (Suki) and Georgina Dalton (Jane) obviously had a chemistry between them as they interacted so well – and there were some lovely harmonies in their musical numbers.  The improvement in Sarah and Georgina’s whole performance was very marked, with Georgina showing a new vocal achievement.  There was the odd occasion when I felt Anna particularly did not react to Darryl enough, but this was only fleeting.  Georgina in particular got the really raunchy relationship and wasn’t afraid to go for it.  Sarah was perhaps a little more reserved in her relationship with Darryl, but has a deep rich singing voice that made up for any lack of response feeling there may have been – but these are only a small part of the whole which was so good.  

Terry Cavender always gives a good performance – and this was no exception – Darryl Van Horne is the incarnation of the devil in more ways than one – and it was good to see the way he unravelled at the end.  I loved his seduction of the three ladies – all slightly different, but I’m sure he got enjoyment out of playing a devilish character, which came over to the audience, and although the character’s take on life and women was wrong on so many levels, in a way you could buy into it!!

The revelation for me in this piece was Tom Pigram as Michael.  He is only young, but he already has matinee idol good looks, and is an accomplished dancer.  Overall he made a big impression.

Chloe Brown as Jennifer was a good foil to Tom, and really came into her own when she morphed into the type of girl Darryl thought would be good for him - she also sang very well.

I loved Mary Watkinson’s take on Felicia, a good character role for this accomplished lady.  Mary was able to get her teeth into the part, and always gives a sterling performance that has been well thought out.

Steve Hathaway as her husband Cllyde coped well with the part, appearing to be in an alcoholic haze most of the time, well who wouldn’t be with that harridan as a wife!!

Adam Briffet was so good as Parson Parsley –his little dance at the wedding was excellent – well done Adam.  Louise Thonger as his wife Brenda also gave plenty of punch and expression to a small but important part.  A nice pairing.

I loved the Dance with the Devil number, good choreography, the men of the chorus all entered into the spirit of the action along with Michael & Darryl, which was good to see.

Dirty Laundry was another really fun number – the ladies singing beautifully, whilst accomplishing some nifty moves – and the reprise showed how different a mood could be achieved.  Very well done ladies – fairly simple but very effective.

The children were all very good, and expressive, I liked what they did.

Alana McKenna as Little Girl was first-rate – she got the ethos of a small child along with the petulance and slyness, whilst singing beautifully – well-achieved.

Andrew Darby was a good example of someone with a small role, who delivered one excellent line with aplomb.

So all in all I was very impressed, and was so pleased that HLOS exploited the show to its fullest extent with not only fantastic direction, musical direction but also an enthusiastic and talented cast.

Harpenden Light Opera Society


review date:9th Oct 2014

at Harpenden Public Halls

Director: John Hebden MD: Graham Thomson

Choreographer: Chris Cumming  


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