Trinity Methodist Drama at the Civic
Another openin', another show. Beccy Ashton's production of the Cole Porter backstage classic began with bare boards, a quick tune-up from the pit, and a brilliantly planned build-up as chorus, crew and principals drifted on, adding their two-penn'orth to the Baltimore overture.
Trinity fielded a strong side of singers “entertaining and vivacious”. David Slater had the voice, the style and the presence for the leading man, Petruchio in the play, well matched by his Shrew, Janet Moore as the failed movie star making her stage come-back: they were utterly believable as the Wunderbar operetta duo. As the juveniles, Richard Rossetti was a precious Lucentio, with Alex Moore as the blonde Bianca. Derek Lee and David Ehren were the inept gangsters, still in spats for Shakespeare, deadpan vaudevillians.
In smaller roles, Matthew Lecznar was a flamboyant Gremio, seizing the chance to shine in the Act Two opener, Too Darn Hot, the other standout production number. And Adam Sullivan was a barnstorming General, his effortless baritone bringing his one number to glorious life.
Elsewhere, the ensemble work was unremarkable, and the smallish chorus struggled to match the panache of the principals. Accents were a problem for many; the cast are required to do American, then American doing Shakespearean British !
The set, from Albemarle, was superb, with flying pieces, a lovely front cloth and a truck for the adjoining dressing rooms – not quite stable enough for waltzing, though … And props: a gasp greeted the inappropriate blooms, and plastic flowerpots are poor weapons !
The excellent band, led by Trinity veteran Anton Archer, was under the baton of Musical Director Susannah Edom.