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Newbury Operatic Society - The Pajama Game

8th to 12th April 2008.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Pajama tops for ops

Newbury Operatic Society turn in one of their best productions

Newbury Operatic Society: The Pajama Game, at The Corn Exchange, Newbury, from Tuesday, April 8 to Saturday, April 12

Old stagers know that when they are told "It's the best you've done" after a show, this should often be taken with a pinch of salt.

Throw away the salt, Newbury Operatic Society, The Pajama Game ranks among your top shows.

Why? After all, the society have previously fielded excellent principals - as now - and are lucky in having the perennially-reliable Michael Evans in charge of a vivacious orchestra, keeping the balance between performer and music just right.

The difference was an outstanding performance from the chorus, which included members of Newbury YoungStars.

A tricky opening number was a good indication of things to come and the girls' chorus backing Babe (Zoe Wells) in I'm Not At All In Love was superb. Movement was slick throughout the show, with every member remaining involved in the action.

As the icing on the cake, we had Neil Harvey in an excellent performance as Sid Sorokin, keeping the pajama factory running, falling in love with Babe and singing the gorgeous Hey There in a way that had every woman dreaming. In contrast, the up-tempo There Once Was a Man duet with feisty Babe was a showstopper. These two actors are a great asset to the society.

Zoe Wells' presence lights up the stage, her powerful voice just right for the role of Babe. She has pizazz by the ton and isn't alone.

The 'office staff' roles of Gladys and Mabel were in the safe hands of Jillian Logan and Sam Spaak, actors and singers who make the most of every word.

Sam's duet with Jeremy Mann (a hilarious Hines) was a gem and as their miserly boss, Chris Austin did a good job, reminiscent of his Simpsons alter ego.

The talented Utku Er initially seemed uncomfortable as union leader Prez, but he became much more settled in the second half, though it is perhaps in livelier roles that he is at his usual best.

The sensual Steam Heat misted over a few spectacles as wonderfully voluptuous Jillian, Jeanette Maskell (first-rate as Mae) and Jacqui Trumper put on a performance which, as TV panellists say, was 'hot, hot, hot'.

NOS's star is in the ascendant and the production team of Anne Bennett, Sarah Scott-Cound and choreographer Kate Mayo made this a memorable show - absolutely anyone's cup of tea.