Thursday, July 28, 2011


Tomorrow's Talent at the Civic Theatre

publicity photos by Louise Freeland

Tim Firth's Madness urban malaise musical would like to do for NW5 what Blood Brothers did for Liverpool. It cheekily plunders the band's back-catalogue to tell the story of some salt-of-the earth citizens of Casey Street, and chart the double life of Good Joe/Bad Joe.
It couldn't have better, more enthusiastic advocates than Gavin Wilkinson and his Tomorrow's Talent Theatre Arts company. Wilkinson himself is a veteran of the West End original, and he brought an impressive presence to the key role of Joe's dead dad, with Becky Stephens excellent as Kath.
A super-strong cast brought 24-carat commitment to the many roles – Sarah the girlfriend who escapes to university, wonderfully sung and acted by Emma Bennett [Jessica Moore in other performances], Reecey who tempts Joe to leave the straight and narrow [Bart Lambert], and a great character quartet in support: Tara Divina and Deanna Byron as the heartless girls, and Josh Butcher and Mark Ellis hilarious as the clueless boys.
Golden Boy Joe Casey was played with touching honesty by Sam Toland, no stranger to the Civic stage, which was hosting a Tomorrow's Talent musical for the first time.
The staging was slick, professional and very inventive: the skipping, jumping chorus collapsing to reveal that first kiss, the breathtaking ballet of the classroom desks, the tasteless Wings of a Dove and the patriotic Camden market, with its pastiche of Who Will Buy.
And let's not forget the young people labouring unseen in the pit, providing great sounds under dynamic young MD Kris Rawlinson.

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