I am a sucker for a happy ending and with this musical you get three weddings and no funeral. You know you can’t go wrong with the wonderful word craftsman that is Cole Porter. There’s a whole bunch of classics like “It’s DeLovely”. “Friendship”. “Easy To Love” “I Get A Kick Out Of You”, “You’re The Top”. “The Gypsy In Me” and of course the title track for you to choose from to hum as you leave the theatre, which makes a change as many musicals only have one song that sticks in the mind to spill out into the streets to.
Making his directorial debut for BMTG was Nathan Truesdale who can say that he started at the top as this production is, as the song says “The Tops”, swift moving, funny, great tap and dance routines choreographed by Rachael Rees and a wonderfully swinging live band led by musical director Chris Toon, all adding to an excellent cast of singers and hoofers.
I will highlight some of the actors but everyone in this large cast were just amazingly good. I adored Andrea Chapman as Reno, lovelorn for Billy but she got her man in the end, but not the one that she had thought at the start. Some great costumes for Reno, and in fact for all the girls, what class and the sexiest Evangelist I have ever seen!
Billy Crocker was played by Rob Charles, looking ever younger in the wig for the part.His voice has grown stronger from his last BMTG production of “Jukebox” and may I say, these songs really suited his voice, some nice falsetto work there mate and a classy romantic leading man role. For those who do not know the musical, Billy is in love with Hope, who is on board to marry her typically English suitor Lord Oakleigh,True love never runs smoothly but Billy gets his gal in the end.
Hope, is played by the gorgeous Zoe Brinklow, who also gets some amazing costumes to wear, and Lord Oakleigh almost steals the whole show with his wonderfully eccentric behaviour and typically British persona; all the work of the very talented Kevin Chatten, who had the ladies in the seats next to me chuckling away so much that I had to check whether they had left any wet patches on their seats when they left!
Chris Bryan debuted as a principal in the role of “Moonface”, the gangster who befriended Billy and along with his “moll” Erma, played by Steph Gray-Blest made a great comedy pairing.Chris is another strong voice, who you may also catch doing open mic around the area as well.
As I said, these are just a few of the stand out performers that BMTG are lucky to have in their society, but the whole cast work as one, which can be seen especially well with the big tap number.
Just one thing to mention, the spot light seemed to have a bit of trouble finding the actor at times but this didn’t detract from the excellent production that The Beeston Musical Theatre Group have to offer all this week until Saturday 1 November 2014.
– Kev Castle, NHR