Friday, August 30, 2013


LADS at the Tractor Shed

This celebration of twenty-five years of Show Hits begins with a touch of the feather duster, and a rumbustious tap-dancing Time Warp [from The Rocky Horror Show]. Fittingly, the eclectic offerings include a handful of favourites from years past, as well as plenty of new work.
For Show Hits has grown over the years, and now manages to encompass contemporary dance, mime [an inventive, complex two-hander with a twist, to Jacko's Man in the Mirror, impeccably done by Aden Gardner and Dani Hoad] a comedy sketch, and even an old novelty song from the Music Hall, The Sardine and The Sprat, revived to great acclaim by LADS veteran Robin Warnes.
But of course the meat of the miscellany still comes from the musical theatre, even if some of the numbers, like Michael Bruce's subversively naughty Portrait of a Princess [Aimee Hart] are still looking for a show.
Amongst many stand-out solos, Evie Brown, with perfect Julie Andrews vowels, in I Could Have Danced All Night, Aimee in I'm Not Afraid Of Anything, and Vicki Cumbers bringing a strong voice and dramatic presence to I Dreamed A Dream.
Excellent ensemble work in the production numbers, choreographed by Vicki Bird, assisted by Aimee Hart and Alice Tickner. The chorus is imaginatively used in Superstar [though to be honest, under lights few performers are flattered by a white top], boundless energy in a clever Travolta pairing – We Go Together and You Can't Stop The Beat, and superb performances in Bernstein's America – great frocks, strong voices and a dynamic staging powered by the upstage band, directed by Kris Rawlinson, who has brought so much to Latchingdon over the past few years. Nice to hear some polished choral singing, too – Seasons of Love [from Rent] especially.
The youngsters, who will of course provide talent for LADS over the next quarter century, have their moment of glory with numbers from Lion King, Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast [Carole Hart the teapot here] and High School Musical.
The show ends on a high, with Dirty Dancing [complete with lifts!] and an electric Let The Sun Shine In for the finale and the curtain calls.
Star Hits 2013 is directed by Cathy Hallam, Mandi Tickner and Kris Rawlinson.

production photograph by John Strange

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