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

Newbury Nomads - Showtime!

28th to 30th April 2005.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Rousing chorus of musical medleys

Newbury Nomads: Show Time, at New Greenham Arts, from Thursday, April 28 to Saturday, April 30

In the relaxed cabaret-style setting of New Greenham Arts, Nomads' tightly drilled cast of 16 offered highlights from five great musicals - Little Shop of Horrors, Jack the Ripper, Sweeney Todd, Grease, and A Chorus Line. Daniel Maskell - the narrator - made an ideal link-man and ensured that the pace didn't drag between songs.

In Little Shop, a black comedy about a large plant with an appetite for human blood, the scene was quickly set with the effective opening number Skid Row. Delia Canning and the versatile Matthew Haynes fell comfortably into the roles of Audrey and Seymour, with gems such as Grow for Me, Suddenly Seymour and the tear-jerking Somewhere that's Green.

Moving from downtown New York to Victorian London, and a spirited selection from Jack the Ripper, Stuart Honey chilled the hearts of the potential victims with Ripper's Gonna Get Ya. Pam Honey, Delia Canning, Jeanette Maskell, Dee Cummings and Laura Randall harmonised well throughout, and put 100 per cent into the very lively What a Life. Sweeney Todd completed the trio of first-half horror shows, with its wickedly dark Sondheim lyrics. Mrs Lovett, the sinister pie-shop keeper, is a real challenge for any singer, but Sarah Scott gave a faultless performance of her songs Worst Pies in London and A Little Priest, the latter a splendid duet with Tony Randall as Todd.

The second half opened more up-tempo with several songs from Grease. Mike Cound gave an energetic rendering of Greased Lightning and We Go Together, well supported by the female chorus, and Jade Lucas' interpretation of Raining on Prom Night was excellent. Somehow, though, this sequence lacked the punch of the earlier selections and would have benefited from more movement, but came across well nevertheless.

The final part of the evening was devoted to A Chorus Line, with Stuart Honey, Jeanette Maskell, Jade Lucas and Sarah Scott leading the group of showbiz wannabees lining up for audition. Jade's Dance 10, Looks Three was particularly powerful, and Jeanette's strong choreography for One - the closing number - rounded off the performance on a rousing note.

Show Time was a great success for director Amanda Maskell, who put together a well balanced selection of songs that showed off the vocal talents of her cast, not to mention the considerable versatility of musical director and accompanist Andrea Somerville.