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BRUSH UP YOUR SHAKESPEARE


A light-hearted look at Shakespeare, with quotes and songs that were based on his writing, all of which made a pleasant evening’s entertainment.


The set was designed by Keith Turton, I liked the large books with Shakespeare titles that were used as seats, and the central curtained entrance worked really well.  It was a small stage, but every bit was utilised well.


I enjoyed the flow of action created by Director Frances Hall, which meant that the stage was never empty, and the performers didn’t just enter and perform, they were there to decorate the stage as well, which created a nice feel.


Ellie Turton had obviously worked hard with the cast, as there were some lovely harmonies, particularly in the full chorus numbers.  Her band accomplished some brilliant accompaniments particularly in the finale of Act 1.  The sound balance was also good throughout.


Choreography from Jo Harris was suitable for the diverse capabilities of the ensemble, and which they were all able to do without too much problem.  The secret I feel of a good choreographer, as making it too difficult creates problems!


I believe there were some technical issues around the lights, and we had a short blackout during the opening number the night I was there, but overall the effect was good.


The static mics were placed well on the stage, and amplified the sound very well.


The cast all performed well, there was plenty of humour and notable performances from a mostly experienced cast.


I particularly liked the duet between Jo Harris and David Mills, their voices were in accord, which made it easy on the ear.


Sonnet 20, beautifully read by Jo Yirrell and sung by David Mills was a moment of calm and beauty.


The trio of Allanah Rogers, Michelle Arnold and Jo Yirrell was very good, again very pleasing on the ear, and their voices blended well.


Tim Hayden gave us a great rendition of Richard III in the vein of Peter Sellers and the Beatles – very funny, and Keith Turton’s speech from The Merchant of Venice was excellent.


I liked Reece Lowen’s song, his voice was nicely placed.


The Witches from Macbeth, as played by Jan Robinson, Karen Franks and Sharon Robinson were nicely evil sounding, and the introduction of the ensemble around them leading to the final number of Act 1 gave it a rather wicked feel.  The finale had some interesting harmonies and accompaniment.


Frances Hall created a lovely feel to her song, giving it much expression and charm, a lovely moment, whilst Valerie Mills also created a calmness and wistfulness with her number.


Paul Rogers gave his numbers plenty of strength and also blended well with the rest of the male ensemble, which included Terry Mills and Simon Polley, along with the others already mentioned.  


This was a particularly strong male ensemble, with the ladies ensemble, which included Sam Cooke as well as the others already mentioned, as always gave excellent performances.


Micki Paola created some excellent links with the sayings of Shakespeare, whilst Sophie Singleton-Sells performed well throughout, with a favourite of mine being the final speech to close the show – altogether a very apt and expressive way to bring down the curtain.


The whole company obviously enjoyed the experience, as they tackled everything with enthusiasm (despite having a hefty number of words to learn), and lively faces, which communicated itself to the audience.  The company numbers were tuneful and showed some interesting and often different harmonies.













St. Andrew’s Players

BRUSH UP YOUR SHAKESPEARE

review date: 12th Nov 2016 - St Andrew’s Church, Luton

    Directed by: Frances Hall MD: Ellie Turton

Choreographer: Jo Harris

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