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Newbury Nomads - Showtime 2006

31st March to 1st April 2006.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Nomads out on the razzle dazzle

Director keeps singers firmly in tune for a meander through the musicals at New Greenham Arts

Nomads: Showtime, at New Greenham Arts, on Friday March 31 and Saturday April 1

It was Showtime again for Newbury Nomads last week, as they performed their annual selection of songs from well-known musicals at New Greenham Arts.

This year's programme included highlights from Gypsy, Miss Saigon, Anything Goes, The Pyjama Game, and Chicago. The chatty commentary between scenes by director Jeanette Maskell, supplemented by useful background notes in the colourful programme, helped to put the songs in context and gave the performance some continuity.

The music-light Gypsy was a brave choice to open the first half, but Together Wherever We Go provided a good opportunity to introduce the whole cast, and this was followed by a lively duet, If Momma was Married from Sandra Jones and Nikki West and All I need is the Girl, nicely performed by Daniel Maskell. You Gotta Get a Gimmick rounded off the first set, with Debbie Akers, Delia Canning and Pam Honey harmonising well.

The Nomads then turned their attention to the mighty Miss Saigon. Juliet Clarke and Nikki West tackled the touching Movie in my Mind with great sensitivity, and Stuart Honey's performance of the demanding Why God Why? was equally moving.

Mike Scott-Cound threw himself confidently into the American Dream, but his backing chorus looked desperate to move around and give the number the blockbuster treatment.

Anything Goes rounded off the first half in style, with a charming It's De-Lovely from Mike and Sarah Scott-Cound, a heart-felt Friendship from Stuart, Daniel, Dee Cumming and Delia, and a rousing Blow Gabriel Blow from the whole chorus.

The cast seemed to come alive after the interval, helped enormously by the livelier choreography, and the Pyjama Game sequence provided some very memorable moments.

In I'm not at all in Love, there was a nice rapport between Juliet and the factory girls; Hey There worked well with Dennis Heath in fine voice as Stuart's echo; and There Once Was a Man offered a fitting duet for Mike and Delia.

The final selection, from Chicago, gave the performers a final opportunity to display their vocal talents: Juliet and Delia with And All that Jazz, Sarah with Funny Honey and Mike with a clever arrangement of Mr Cellophane. The ladies coped brilliantly with the riotous but very tricky Cell Block Tango, and the show closed - rightly enough - with a chorus of Razzle Dazzle.

The Nomads were in fine voice throughout the evening and musical director Jevan Johnson Booth kept them firmly on key. The costumes and set were decidedly lacking in colour and variety, which was a shame, and I would like to have seen a little more movement in the first half. Otherwise, though, a very enjoyable evening in Newbury's premier cabaret venue.