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Community of Hungerford Theatre Company - Hello Dolly

14th to 17th February 2007.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Creating a buzz about the town

Hello Dolly's large cast matched up to its Hungerford venue last week

The Community of Hungerford Theatre Group: Hello Dolly, at John O' Gaunt Community Technology College, from Wednesday, February 14 to Saturday, February 17

This is the lively tale of matchmaking, with Dolly Levi craftily playing for the moneybags Horace Vandergelder, while dabbling with a few other matches along the way. The opening number set the scene for the evening; bright, effective with colourful costumes.

Director David Clayton indulged in the fast pace and many moments of cleverly-written comedy to good effect, organising his large cast well in the small venue, and taking full advantage of the auditorium floor. But it was difficult to avoid the chorus looking a little static on occasions. However, this did not distract from the show's presentation, which obviously came from a lot of hard work.

Musical director Joanna Popperwell controlled her orchestra well and was considerate to the performers, but gave an eager punch for the title number Hello Dolly.

It must have been a difficult show to stage in this venue, but stage manager Steve Gill commanded a well-organised, slick team.

Nancy Jane Danks gave a very strong performance as Dolly, bringing out the humour, constantly maintaining her character and connecting with a receptive audience. Paul Hyde played a cantankerous Horace Vandergelder with good expression in his voice.

The supporting roles contributed a great deal to the show's pace. Tim Clarke really shone with his funny, quirky and energetic character of Cornelius Hackl. His vibrancy was well-supported by the young talent of George Olney as Barnaby Tucker. Playing opposite were Sarah Fradgley as Irene Molloy and the young Jas Waddell as Minnie Fay. Again these were animated performances and all four enjoyed their roles.

It is worth mentioning that all these young performers confidently added a spark to the evening and another good example was Hoffi Munt as the relentless, wailing Ermengarde.

There was a buzz about this town show, it captured the spirit of the community and I heard a lot of people singing the well-known tunes as they left. Well done Hungerford.