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Nomads Musical Theatre

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Corn Exchange, Newbury.

Review of Showtime Coffee

21st to 23rd March 2018

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Espresso-ed in song

Nomads coffee shops compete West Side Story-style

Newbury Nomads: Showtime Coffee, at Arlington Arts, Snelsmore, from Wednesday, March 21, to Friday, March 23

Another venue, another chance for Newbury's Nomads to show their talents in the frisky Showtime Coffee, written by George Stacey, a (very) loose variation on the West Side Story theme. Instead of Jets and Sharks, there were two fiercely competitive coffee shops, the Red Bean run by the lads and the Green Bean by the girls.

Led by Emily (Grace Ryder) and Lucie (Alison Hoult), the girls at the Green Bean worry when Kim (Fern Barthorpe) falls in love with Jack (Tom Hazelden) from the Red Bean. There are more complications in that Emily has already had a failed romance with Billy (excellent acting from Andy Pocock), but of course in the end everything turns out well. Fern Barthorpe's I'm Not That Girl was eminently listenable and a highspot was Tom Hazelden singing the optimistic Maybe This Time – a great song well sung.

Chorus numbers were punchy with good cohesive singing and enthusiastic movement, especially the hilarious Nomad equivalent of the 'full' Monty.

It was great throughout to see so many young lively people on stage, especially Kim's four sassy chums, who acted their socks off and were dressed to kill. (Speaking of costumes, I was a bit puzzled as to why some girls in the second half were clad in what looked like bandages?)

Lots of praise from seasoned performer Kath Burns entertaining with He Vas My Boyfriend, a good all-round performance from Sasha Lovell the trio I Wish I Could Go Back to College with Sasha, husband Jon and Rhys Swan, to Sam Briggs' singing of the old favourite They'll Never Believe Me.

I admire Nomads for providing the opportunity to give as many members as possible the experience of singing on stage. However, it requires courage and determination to sell a song to your audience. We are on your side, we want you to do well, so go for it. Unfortunately, perhaps partly due to the placing of the microphones, approximately a third of the singing was completely inaudible – and I was sitting in row C.

I understand that the transition from the small New Greenham Arts stage to the larger auditorium at Arlington Arts created problems for Nomads, not least the fact that Nic Cope's musicians had to be at the back of the stage. Next time can only be easier.

So it's on to their October production – Priscilla Queen of the Desert.


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