Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Springers at the Civic Theatre

It's a classy joint, the Chicken Ranch, with its “guests” entertained by Miss Mona's elegant young ladies in glamorous evening gowns.
Still, a whorehouse is a whorehouse, and decency demands it be closed down.
Springers' production of this unusual musical, directed by Maz Clarke, with its catchy country 'n' western tunes, was impressive on many levels.
The music [MD Ian Myers], the set with its double gilt staircase and lovely pink top-light, and especially the chorus work [choreographer Olivia Gooding]. Yes, the working girls of course [Hard Candy Christmas, and the inflatable Cheerleaders led by chief Angelette Natalie Schultz] but mostly the men – brilliant moves in denim at first, and then in much less for the amazing Aggie Song, the climax to Act One.
Catherine Gregory was outstanding as the Ranch's Madam – her “Bus from Amarillo” and “Girl, You're A Woman” were impeccably styled. As her two new faces, Bethan Anderson [Shy] and Mel Smart [Jewel] were impressive too – Mel's gospel-ish Twenty Four Hours another stand-out number.
Fighting over the future of the whorehouse were Simon Brett's larger-than-life Melvin P Thorpe [a hard-to-forget performance], Pete Spilling's powerless Edsel, and Barry Miles' smooth-talking Senator.
But strong ensemble all round, from Jon Newman's smiley Band Leader welcome to the downbeat one-way ticket which brings down the curtain on the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

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