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“Pump Boys & Dinettes”   

What a joy to see a completely different show, which was relaxed, tuneful and very amusing – I really enjoyed it.

Pump Boys & Dinettes provided St Andrew’s with the chance to present something original to their audience.  Eight multi-talented people performed over 20 songs, held together by a tenuous story – but that didn’t really matter, as it was all about the music and the presentation.

The male cast was John O’Leary, Steve Peters and Dave Sims all on guitar, while Richard Cowling played keyboard.  They accompanied all the musical numbers, with Rhys Kirkman on drums.  I was not aware that John was an accomplished guitar player, so it was a nice surprise to see him slot into a group situation with Steve and Dave.

The men all worked in a garage, and appeared to be doing practically nothing, more intent on singing and going out enjoying themselves!!  Certainly nothing wrong with that, as musically we were treated to a mix of amusing, thoughtful and poignant songs, all performed really well.  I loved the easy relationship between them.

The female cast was Lisa Abella, Charlotte Tabert, Jo Yirrell and Jo Harris – who worked in the Diner next door to the garage, and were involved in some way or another with the men.  These ladies all did really well with both their solo and group numbers – again an eclectic mix of full-on and feisty to thought-provoking songs.  They interacted well, and performed their numbers and the choreography with great understanding and style.

The set was very well thought-out and accessorised.  All the props from the car tyres, wheel trims etc to the bar stools and diner props, were all spot on, the small stage accommodated everything really well.

I liked the girls costumes, the white tops and red skirts stood out against the set, suited everyone and moved nicely when they were dancing, a good choice.  The men were dressed in garage overalls, jeans and shirts that were very suitable.

Choreography was very good – fairly simple but something the girls could perform with accuracy and ease.

I liked the lighting, and the use of swirling lights making their way across the ceiling of the auditorium, some mood lighting where required too.  Sound was good, although there were a couple of late mic cues, but the accompaniment was at the right level for the singers and did not overpower them at all.

I particularly liked some of Richard Cowling’s numbers – Serve Yourself had a bluesy feel, Fisherman’s Prayer sang unaccompanied and Desperado which was very beautiful.  John made a very good job of Child in Your Household, and both Steve and Dave had solos that they accomplished well.

Lisa sang a couple of standout numbers – Vacation which was unaccompanied and the closing number, which gave her the chance to really let rip.  Be Good or Be Gone was a very moving song from Jo Harris, Jo and Jo gave us an amusing and affecting number in Sisters, and it was good to see Charlotte on stage rather than in the pit, with her and Dave performing a good upbeat number that the audience were able to join in with.

There wasn’t a jarring note in the whole evening – it was a relaxing and most pleasant production that I loved, a good evening’s entertainment that made me leave the hall in high spirits.

St. Andrew’s Players


review date: 14th May 2016 - Stopsley High School

    Directed by: Stuart Farrar  MD: Richard Cowling

Choreographer: Kelly Seal

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