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Oh TADS, what a revelation, a very well-
The set was minimal, but with excellent lighting from Paul Horsler, and good sound too, it was a charming and perceptive story, with some very meaningful and appropriate music, all performed with panache by the cast. I liked the change in lighting colour to denote the different Helen’s.
The only small comment I would have was choice of costume – black on black is sometimes hard on the eye, particularly when performing in blacks – it would have been nice if there had been coloured tops for interest.
Musically it was great, the songs suited the singers, and there were some lovely harmonies. I must say that for a Society not known on the whole for its musical productions the effect was stunning, and made the audience sit up and take notice. Everything worked well and I was very impressed.
Lea Pryer started off the proceedings as the main Helen, giving us the background to the premise for the piece, with Susie Conder, Rachel Price and Michelle Chamberlain playing the Helen’s from the three different scenarios of Helen’s life. Each had a very different persona. All of which gave us an insight into how Helen would have behaved in each case.
Lea has a very strong voice, creating a super opening to the show, and every song she sung was beautiful in expression and musicality.
Susie Conder gave us a very straight forward Helen, who didn’t want to go to University, she performed well, a very musical voice with depth and understanding, I really enjoyed her tap routine and the meaningful numbers she gave us.
Rachel Price was the raunchy Helen, who went off the rails, but eventually pulled her life round, a lovely persona for Rachel who really got under the skin of the character, with some real belting songs – very well done.
Michelle Chamberlain as the third Helen, who went to University but then went off on a trek around the world, was altogether softer and calmer, a good contrast to her counterparts, with some charming numbers sung well.
There was good choreography throughout, which suited the abilities of the cast, and I particularly liked the Other Man’s Grass, the Boyfriend and Breakaway with the mortar boards.
Michelle Stanton made a very comforting Mum, along with Steven Pryer as Dad, they created a good relationship and sang well.
Barry Hyde created a couple of amusing characters, and came into his own as Andrew, who eventually affected each of the Helen’s. A good performance.
I liked Chris Hopkins who played the other boyfriend, then one who created a bit of chaos by marrying Helen No 1, but not liking her eventual decision to train properly, he was cheeky and sang well. A good foil to Steven’s more sober Dad, and Barry’s humorous Andrew.
The chorus of Sophie Venn, Anni Bacon, Elise Crosby, Emily Rust, Connie Wiltshire, Emily Venn and Julie Walton all sang with great energy, and created some lovely harmonies, whilst joining in the ensemble numbers. They had obviously worked very hard to achieve such a good standard.
I loved the Flashlight number as the finale – it was a fitting end, nicely performed.
An excellent production, a great revelation, a show that I enjoyed greatly, and hopefully there will be more musical evenings from TADS now they have set the standard.
TADS Theatre Group -
review date: 8th June 2019
Director:Emma Lidford MD: Lea Pryer
Choreographer: Emma Lidford