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Newbury YoungStars - Oklahoma!

17th to 19th March 2011.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

All the zest in the West

YoungStars relish the action in iconic musical Oklahoma!

Newbury YoungStars: Oklahoma!, at Arlington Arts, Snelsmore, from Thursday, March 17 to Saturday, March 19

Newbury YoungStars have a fine reputation of performing some of the most iconic musicals, including last year's Annie, and have continued their success with a vibrant polished Oklahoma! that was specifically adapted for young people to perform.

The talented and enthusiastic youngsters relished the action, set in the western indian territory at the turn of the last century, with a backdrop of cornfields and a blue sky and a rocking chair on the stoop of the farmhouse.

It is a story of the rivalry between the cowboys and farmers, and the blossoming romance between Curly and his beau Laurey.

James Morris gave a splendid performance as Curly, opening the show with a strong rendition of Oh What a Beautiful Mornin', followed by a catchy version of The Surrey with the Fringe on the Top, beautifully sung by Noella Doran as Laurey. These are certainly two youngsters who are stars in the making. Their duet, People Will Say We're In Love was delightful.

However, Curly has a rival in the menacing farmhand Judd (Dimitri Rogers), who also wants to court Laurey and take her to the social.

Sarah Frost had an impressive stage presence as the wise Aunt Eller, determined to get her revenge on the pedlar (Thomas Spillane) for selling her a faulty eggbeater.

Carly Mcintosh brought some mischievous fun to her role as Ado Annie the girl who "can't say no" and Will Parker (George Stacey) gave a rousing performance of Kansas City, with some slick dancing from the large chorus choreographed by Jacqui Trumper.

All the actors maintained their American accents, which was quite an achievement, and performed with tremendous confidence and brio.

Musical direction was in the capable hands of Michael Evans, with lighting by Vicki Allen and superbly balanced sound. Director Mike Scott-Cound should be very proud of this lively production.

The final number, Oklahoma!, was filled with energy and zest so... "Oklahoma Oh Kay" - I should say so.

Yee ha.