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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

Newbury Nomads - Some Like it Hot

5th to 7th October 2000.

Would you trust these people to play at your wedding? Click for a bigger version. Click for a bigger version

This review was in the Newbury Weekly News.

Would they cut the mustard in gangsterland?

'SOME LIKE IT HOT', performed by Newbury Nomads, at the Corn
Exchange, on Thursday, October 5, Friday, October 6 and Saturday, October 7

Stuart Honey as Jerry and Daniel Maskell as Joe combined together beautifully to make the most of their parts. Interestingly, although they played well throughout, their finest moments were when their characters were in disguise.

Mr Honey shone when in drag as Daphne: teasing, winsome and funny, and clearly delighted at the success of his impersonation when he attracted the attention of millionaire Sir Osgood Fielding (David Slade). Mr Maskell excelled particularly when pretending to be a millionaire himself, displaying just the right amount of aloofness to convince and attract Sugar (Eleanor Richards) while remaining genial enough for her to fish for him.

Sugar was also played with confidence and skill, especially during her 'little girl lost' scenes. Perhaps a touch more girlish glee and excitement when she thought she had at last managed to catch a millionaire?

Unfortunately, a few members of the chorus looked distinctly worried at times, usually when adding some sort of routine to their singing. Some had frowns of concentration when they should have seemed happy; others, clearly told to smile at all costs, had a kind of rictus grin. There are two solutions: either rehearse sufficiently for the chorus to be confident enough to look genuinely happy, or simplify the routine. No personal criticism intended or deserved: they gave their best and did well. But by the performance they shouldn't look as if they still unsure.

Some other, smaller, quibbles: Why wasn't 'Spats' Palazzo sporting a dapper pair of spats? Why did people point in the opposite direction to the sea when indicating the yacht? Why, when fetching Champagne, did Joe appear to go down the side of the yacht, presumably scooping up some seawater instead? These are small points, but they irritated and could so easily have been avoided.

Before the Nomads light flaming torches and gather round my house waving pitchforks, let me emphasise that I did enjoy the production, as did the rest of the audience. Did they cut the mustard? American mustard, yes, certainly, and a long way towards the hotter English variety.


This was the Kick FM review:

It’s set in gangster-land in America in the 1930s and is the story of two out-of-work musicians who witness a gangland murder and just manage to escape before the gang rub them out too. To hide from the gang, they disguise themselves as women and join an all-girls band, which is just off on a tour of Florida.

It’s a comedy, a farce, and a big American musical. In the 1959 film, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon played the two blokes and Marilyn Monroe was Sugar, the love interest.

Musicals tend to have a big opening number, and this is the opportunity to get the audience hooked. The problem I had with Newbury Nomads’ production was that this big opener didn’t have the punch – it wasn’t really together enough, and it left me thinking "this show’s not going to make it". After that, they had some ground to make up – and they did it. Because once the two main actors came on – Daniel Maskell as Joe and Josephine, and Stuart Honey as Jerry and Daphne – the show came to life. There were some really funny moments as they struggled to adapt to their new personas as women, and some good interactions with Eleanor Richards as Sugar Kane.

I’ve never seen the film, and I didn’t know any of the songs, but the choreography by Jeanette Maskell was quite spectacular. I also particularly liked David Slade’s performance as Sir Osgood Fielding.

All in all, it was a very happy production, and full of colour and life. The cast seemed to be enjoying themselves, which isn’t always the case when amateur groups do comedy.