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KATS - Noughties to Nineties

25th to 28th October.

A musical theatre review of the twentieth century.

This review was in the Newbury Weekly News.

KATS brings the house down West End-style

'NOUGHTIES TO NINETIES', performed by Kennet Amateur Theatrical Society, at Kennet School, on Friday, October 27

This was KATS with a difference. Many times during the performance I had to glance at the programme to make sure I was at the Kennet School and not a West End theatre.

The change of format was brought about by the new producers, Claire Bowden and Mandy Cole. They have managed to work a few miracles and raise the level of performance to a professional level. This show is a cavalcade of the decades of the 20th century where each was as different as chalk and cheese.

Each era was divided by bringing the curtain down and superimposing pictures of the period with actual sound recordings of the day. The computer wizardry that produced this effect was superb and regretfully the individuals who compiled it were not mentioned in the programme.

The show opened with Queen Victoria's reign, Emmiline Pankhurst and the introduction of the mass-produced motor car. I was impressed by the simple set throughout and the mock-up car was a fine example.

Each of the decades was under the control of a narrator in one guise or another, who emphasised the best and worst of that period. The dancers and chorus were excellent, smiling at the audience, not looking to each other for guidance and I particularly liked the close harmony of Liz Lewis and Jaqui Fitzgerald in the '40s scene and Pam Knowlden's rendition of 'Don't cry for me Argentina' in the '80s.

The best male comedy performer was Michael Cole as Truss the butler and many other characters and it was good to see Tony Jones back in action again.

However the finest tributes must go to the younger members of the cast, in particular Beck Mudge who has a good voice and a talent for impersonation, Kate Fitzgerald who oozes personality (their Abba tribute was brilliant), Claire Bowden who has such style and is a superb dancer, and Hayley Cox with a beaming smile and endless legs.

Musical newcomers were Dave and Marie Caulfield, Gerry Dooley and Chris Walsh - they all gave the show its final polish - Dave Caulfield nearly bringing the house down with the final number and the encore was well deserved.

I only wish we could have danced in the aisle and joined in.