Thursday, May 23, 2013


Brentwood Operatic Society at Brentwood Theatre

Not just a best-of concert. Indeed one of the joys of this Kander & Ebb compendium, first produced in 1991, is discovering their lesser known work, often just as catchy, just as well crafted as the hits from Cabaret and Chicago. My favourite find ? Perhaps the love song to Sara Lee – all about layer cake, with a tap routine the icing on top.
BOS's version, directed by Sam Cousins with MD Jonathan Sands, is an almost sinful pleasure, with inventive choreography on the tiny stage, helped by creative lighting [Guy Lee]. The frenetic caffeine-fuelled Cardboard Cup, the ukulele babies, Ring Them Bells, complete with standard lamp, the hardships of the dancer in Pain, the skaters frozen on The Rink, the jazz-hand white gloves in Cabaret, the polyglot tour bus in the New York, New York finale.
Among the many impressive solos and duets, Juliet Thomas's title number, her tipsy thoughts on Class with Mandi Threadgold-Smith, Sian Hopwood's illicit longing for a touch of Arthur in the Afternoon, housewife and superstar Amy Newland and Nina Jarram's mutual envy – "That's wonderful!" - in The Grass Is Always Greener, and Martin Harris's beautifully judged Mr Cellophane.
Polished and professional, like the close harmonies, the excellently disciplined chorus and the quartet in the pit, much of this would not look amiss on any stage. Brentwood - "How Lucky Can You Get ?"

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