Our Next Show: Sister Act!

Wimborne Musical Theatre is pleased to announce the exciting news that our show for 2017 is to be SISTER ACT.

The show will take place at the Tivoli Theatre from Tuesday 1st to Saturday 5th August 2017. Rehearsals will start soon, details of this and audition dates will be posted as soon as we have them.

If you are keen to take part in this incredible high energy, comedic show with great, uplifting music then please get in touch!

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Review: Sounds of the 50s and 60s – SceneOne

I must declare an interest from the start: the ’50s and ’60s are exactly my era, and back then I must have bopped, smooched or sung along to just about every number on the programme. But even someone without my enthusiasm for the music of these two decades would have agreed that Wimborne Musical Theatre gave us an evening of high quality and enormous enjoyment. Most of the company of 22 had their moment in the spotlight and not one of them let the others down. The quality was variable, of course, not so much in the singing as in that elusive gift of putting a song across so that it gathers the audience up and takes them with the singer, but it never dropped below a very high standard.

The company would no doubt consider themselves an ensemble and say that it is unfair to single out individuals, but there were several outstanding performances. Duncan Sayers has a powerful and expressive voice, heard at its best in ‘Life could be a dream’ and ‘Maria’. Sharron Pearcy gave high-class renderings of ‘The look of love’ and ‘Crazy’ among others. John Bounds has a touch of Dean Martin about him and a voice that is ideal for the ballads of the time, like ‘Stranger in Paradise’, although he will be more watchable when he stops being one of those singers who are never quite sure what to do with their hands. Sally Ager’s voice has bags of character and she moves beautifully on stage; not only did she nail the high note (top E flat?) at the end of ‘I could have danced all night’, her duet with John Bounds in ‘Somewhere’ was the stand-out highlight of the evening. Hermione Mason gave us a touching rendering of ‘Secret love’ as well as an impressive en pointe ballet solo to ‘Nutrocker’. Those who took only one solo kept up the standard and I would have liked to hear more of Jemma Cable (‘Stupid Cupid’) and Julia Wass (‘Those were the days’).

The hugely appreciative audience responded particularly to the full chorus numbers, like ‘That’ll be the day’ and ‘Shake, rattle and roll’, which were performed with great energy and self-evident enjoyment. Both the men’s chorus (‘Hello, Dolly’) and the ladies (‘Da doo ron ron’ and ‘Why do fools fall in love’) had their moments in the spotlight. There was excellent harmony singing by smaller groups in numbers like ‘Lollipop medley’, ‘Walk right back’ and ‘Mr Sandman’.

The staging of the show by Suzi de Villiers, with Roy Joseph as Artistic Director, was impressively slick, one number leading almost seamlessly into the next. The choreography was fairly simple, but there was an awful lot of it and with over twenty items in each half, the feat of memory by all those on stage was impressive. The same applies to the hard-working trio in the pit: Lee Redwood (keyboard), Richard Pearce (bass) and David Waller (percussion). Such a huge amount of preparation had gone into the show that it seems a pity that it was on for only two performances.

Perhaps inevitably, the number of audience members under the age of 50 could have been counted on the fingers of one hand that had suffered an industrial accident. No matter: the show knew its market and catered for it wonderfully. Nostalgia, they say, is not what it used to be, but Wimborne Musical Theatre triumphantly proved ‘them’ wrong.

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Review: Sounds of the 50s and 60s – Blackmore Vale

With several exceptional performances and no weak links, this production brought a huge amount of enjoyment to audiences on Saturday.

Songs of that era were short with records running to around two minutes, so we were treated to 46 numbers in two hours, sung by 22 singers in various combos.

Many of the performers had the opportunity for solos and there were some stellar performances.

Sharron Pearcy never fails to give a professional performance and Love is a Many Splendored Thing, The Look of Love, I Only Want to be With You and Crazy gave her the chance to prove why she is so popular locally.

Surely destined for a professional career is Hermione Mason. Local theatregoers have seen her progress from child ingénue to the polished singer and dancer she is today. Secret Love, It’s My Party, and Wake Up Little Susie – the latter sung with Duncan Sayers- were stunning.

Lee Neal’s accomplishment as an actor gave him the chance to provide that extra edge to The Wanderer and Fly Me to the Moon.

Mikaela Buckby put plenty of emotion into her rendition of To Know Him is to Love Him but I suspect there is a more powerful voice just bubbling under the surface.

This fun show was just the tonic for a wet day in November.

Staged by Suzi De Villiers, with musical director Lee Redwood on keyboard, Richard Pearce on bass and David Waller on percussion, and with the added input of Roy Joseph as artistic director, this was one of this group’s most polished shows. Such a shame there were just two performances as it was worthy of more.

Marilyn Barber

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In The News: Honey the Dog Joins WMTS (Blackmore Vale)

More coverage for Honey, our famous canine cast member in the Blackmore Vale this week.

The old adage ‘never perform with children or animals’ is one that Wimborne Musical Theatre Society (WMTS) are happy to ignore. That’s because in their forthcoming concert, Sounds of the 50s and 60s, at the Tivoli Wimborne on Saturday 12th November, Honey, a pedigree Cavalier King Charles spaniel features in a big party scene in the show.

copy-of-img_1061Honey is an 18 month old female and as is with this breed has a lovely calm temperament and is very affectionate and sociable. She is owned by a local family who have kindly allowed her to ‘perform’ in the show – and she seems to be loving it

Society chairman Sylvia Walpole said: “At our recent rehearsal Honey has been just that quietly sitting and patiently waiting her cue. I must get all the members to do that. Does she steal the show? Well you will have to come to find out.”

The show features songs made famous from the early rock n rollers through to the ‘flower power’ groups, plus a few world famous songs from musicals of the time that have become standards today.

Once again WMTS have put together a strong team of local performers for their show which they will be performing at the Wimborne Tivoli Theatre on Saturday 12th November with a 2.30pm matinee and a 7.30pm evening performance.

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In the News: Dog Scoops Sweet Role (Bournemouth Echo)

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Wimborne Musical Theatre presents: Sounds of the 50’s and 60’s

We are pleased to present popular music looking back through the 50’s and 60’s. A selection of lively foot tapping and easy listening music from the two decades to keep you entertained. Plenty of singing, movement and dancing to suit everyone’s taste. The programme includes a varied selection of popular music of the day together with songs from shows released during this period. So please come and sing along with us and enjoy this great experience.

Just small selection of the epic songs included in the show are:

Living doll, I could have danced all night, Hello Dolly!, Mr Sandman, Hound dog, It’s my party, Let’s twist again, San Francisco (be sure to wear flowers in your hair), All shook up, Rock around the clock, Lollipop, Secret Love, Stranger in Paradise

Sound of 50s and 60s

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Review: Kiss Me, Kate – Blackmore Vale

Another fantastic review today, this time from the Blackmore Vale magazine. Tickets are still on sale, and the show ends on Saturday – please do come along!

Based on The Taming of the Shrew, this musical is arguably one of the hardest to produce as it needs singers, not just with acting skills, but with the ability to deliver the Bard’s verse.

It is a play within a play. An American theatre company are opening at a theatre in Baltimore with the Shakespeare play and the conflict between the two leading actors is replicated on stage. Fortunately the company has been able to call upon some talented performers.

Mark Ward, a highly experienced actor more than fills the shoes of Fred/Petruchio, as he like his co-star Julie Gower (Lilli/Kate), has impressive stage presence. Their complicated relationship – they had previously been married – brings just the right measure of tension coupled with humour.

With a 17-strong cast – plus four actors who have a variety of roles, together with six dancers – it is not possible to mention everyone in this colourful show, however several other performances have to be highlighted.

Sally Ager is a real winner as Lois/Bianca. Not only does she keep up a very strong Southern American accent, she fizzes with every move.

Teamed with her is her gambler boyfriend, Lee Neal, who never overacts but always gets under the skin of his roles.

The songs were written by Cole Porter and there are several very catchy numbers such as Wunderbar, Always True to You in My Fashion and Another Op’nin Another Show, with Duncan Sayers as Paul/Gremio providing a rather good rendition of Too Darn Hot.

Frank Holden and Bill Mason add a valuable comedic touch as the two gangsters in this well rehearsed production, directed and choreographed by Suzi De Villiers, with musical direction by Lee Redwood.

If you’re not a Shakespeare fan, don’t be put off from buying your ticket, as you will enjoy this show, which runs until Saturday.

Marilyn Barber, Blackmore Vale

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Review: Kiss Me, Kate! SceneOne

Our first review is in for Kiss Me, Kate – our latest production, running this week in Wimborne. Tickets are still available, so why not come along?

The Taming of the Shrew is regarded by modern scholars as one of Shakespeare’s ‘problem plays’ because Katherina’s total submission to Petruchio at the end sits uncomfortably with today’s audiences, even those with little active sympathy for feminism. Being based on the play, Kiss Me, Kate shares the difficulty to an extent, but any discomfort is submerged by the light and frothy nature of the piece, not to mention Cole Porter’s classic tunes and brilliant lyrics. These make it one of the great musicals of the 20th century, and Wimborne Musical Theatre do it such justice that if you can catch one of their performances later in the week, you are in for a treat.

More than most musicals, the show depends on one man, Fred Graham, who is playing Petruchio in the ‘play within a play’. Mark Ward is more substantial than many Petruchios, but it makes him a dominating presence on stage and he has a strong baritone voice to go with it. Stepping into the production comparatively late, Mark Ward said that he has always wanted to play the part, and his high-quality performance is that of a man achieving a life’s ambition. Pacey dialogue is good, but he could usefully slow down his delivery slightly: a minor quibble compared with his excellence in every other respect.

As his sparring partner, Lilli Vanessi, Julie Gower shows what a first-rate actress she is. She can do shrewish, she can do meltingly attractive, her body language in reacting to other characters is just right, and in songs like ‘I hate men’ and ‘So in love’, she knows that superbly acted emotion beats volume every time.

Lois Lane/Bianca is played by Sally Ager in an unlikely blonde wig as sex on (extremely shapely) legs. She is a natural mover on stage but sings and acts well, too. You can feel every red-blooded man in the audience taking her to their hearts in ‘Always true to you in my fashion’. As usual, though, the show is stolen by ‘Brush up your Shakespeare’, sung by the gangsters known only as ‘First man’ (Frank Holden) and ‘Second man’ (Bill Mason). There are pleasant cameos from Duncan Sayers as Paul, Lee Neal as Bill Calhoun and Phil Evans as General Harrison Howell. All the cast maintain their American accents well.

Kiss Me, Kate is something of a nightmare for the stage crew, involving a lot of scene changes and some quite complicated sets, but their performance was remarkably slick for a first night. The hired sets are well designed and painted, although a bit of reinforcement would stop the wall between Fred’s and Lilli’s dressing rooms wobbling alarmingly every time the door in it is opened.

Director Suzy de Villiers has introduced some imaginative movement and some attractive dancing into ‘Another op’nin’, another show’ and that standard is generally maintained throughout, while musical director Lee Redwood has rehearsed his singers well. They must both weep into their beer at the shortage of strong young male performers; Wimborne Musical Theatre is far from being alone in facing this problem, but it does mean that the ensemble singing sometimes comes across as rather thin and that numbers like ‘We open in Venice’ don’t have their full impact.

One of the gangsters tells Fred that his The Taming of the Shrew is ‘calculated to satisfy any discriminating theatre-goer’. The same can truly be said of this production.

SceneOne

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Our Next Show: Kiss Me Kate

We’re pleased to announce that tickets are now on sale for our next show – the fabulous Kiss Me, Kate!

Kiss Me Kate Graphic

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The Golden Days of Music Hall

We’ve had a great time rehearsing The Golden Days of Music Hall, so here are a few pics of our costume call – we’ll be back soon with our new show for 2016 – Kiss Me Kate!!

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