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Wantage Stage Musical Company - Variety 2005

22nd September to 15th October 2005

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Spice of life

Wantage Stage Musical Company Variety 2005 tour, at New Greenham Arts, on Friday, September 30

Following the success of last year's Old Time Music Hall, Wantage Stage Musical Company this year have chosen a variety format with more modern elements to take on a tour around the local villages.

At the New Greenham Arts last week, this included such diverse elements as Appalachian dancing, extracts from Rodgers and Hammerstein, a ventriloquist and magic act, line dancing and even an Abba tribute, to name but a few! There were also singalong sections and a few sketches to link the proceedings.

It was a very full programme and gave the large and enthusiastic cast plenty of opportunity to show their talents. They presented a very enjoyable evening's entertainment with some good voices coming to the fore, which were well backed by members of the company.

Of the many items, a few stood out; the part singing in Annie's Song and Let It Be were excellent, the slick line dancing and lively singing in 57 Chevrolet, the Abba tribute and the well-executed G & S excerpt from The Pirates of Penzance.

A highspot was Michael Green's coarse acting comedy Ill Fornicazione, in which an opera company found itself without an orchestra just as the curtain went up. There was plenty of coarse acting (and singing) in a well-rehearsed and very amusing send-up of the opera genre.

Accompanist for the evening was Roger Clarke, who dealt with all manner of musical styles manfully stylishly, and musical director was Michael Hurd, who also joined in with a couple of numbers. This was the flavour of the evening with everyone pitching in and having a really good time, which gave a light touch to the proceedings.

Continuity and links left little to be desired, the singalong sections would have been better as medleys rather than stopping at the end of each song, and the programme could do with a little pruning. That said it was all jolly good fun and enjoyed by a small but appreciative audience.

I take my hat off to the enthusiasm - and energy - of the Wantage Stage Musical Company on tour; they can boast 10 village halls in four weeks, phew. If you fancy a bit of good old-fashioned variety it is just as likely coming to a village hall near you.