Nomads Musical Theatre
Showtime Boheme, 16th to 18th March 2017
The next in our Showtime series.
New Greenham Arts, Newbury.
Review of Oklahoma!
5th to 8th October 2016.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
Nomads cast and crew stage a humdinger of a show
Nomads: Oklahoma!, at the Corn Exchange, from Wednesday, October 5, to Saturday, October 8
Oklahoma! was Rodgers and Hammerstein's first collaboration. Although there were doubts as to whether the pairing would succeed, these ended as the musical hit the stage and this all-time favourite was guaranteed to be popular when Nomads chose it to celebrate their 40th anniversary.
Often in reviews, the orchestra comes in for a late mention. I'm putting the musicians up front. Led by musical director Nic Cope, their playing, particularly of the overture, was a superb sound-setter for what was to follow.
The curtains opened on Aunt Eller (Alison Hoult giving an excellent performance) and soon the rich, strong voice of Jon Lovell, as lovelorn Curly, was celebrating a 'beautiful morning' and promising the beautiful Laurey (Sasha Robaczynski) a ride in that surrey with the fringe on top if she would go to the picnic with him.
She refuses, agreeing to accompany the unpleasant Jud Fry (gorgeously deep-voiced Russell Barrett). Meanwhile, we have met flirty Ado Annie (Fern Barthorpe) and her suitors, Ali Hakim (Neil Harvey, an entertainingly slippery peddler) and the impecunious Will Parker (George Stacey). George is an actor who lights up the stage; his 'Kansas' song and dance with the men was a highlight of this show.
Fern had both the voice and acting skills to capture the daffy Annie exactly in a first-class performance. In contrast, the dialogue in the scene between Jon Lovell and Russell Barrett in Jud's dilapidated home was cleverly menacing, while Jon and Sasha's duet, the evocative People Will Say We're in Love, was gently and musically charming.
Two big numbers – The Farmer and the Cowhand and Oklahoma! must have been an enormous undertaking for choreographer Sasha Robaczynski and one which she achieved tremendously well. With approximately 30 members in the women's chorus alone, an immense amount of rehearsal must have been necessary to reach this high standard of singing and slickness of action from the large cast. I felt the audience were waiting for a final chorus of Oklahoma! to end the show, but it didn't happen.
There were excellent actors in smaller parts, among them dancers Tom Hazelden and Annabelle Bowey in the dream sequence, father and daughter Daniel and Hannah Maskell as Annie's dad, and Gertie with that awful laugh, as well as dancers and cowboys, Andy Pocock, James Pascall-Smith and Tony Randall.
The difficulties of having such a large chorus were well overcome and director Jeanette Maskell and her team are to be congratulated.
Oklahoma!, 5th to 8th October 2016
Showtime Market, 17th to 19th March 2016. See the review in the archive.
Sunset Boulevard, 7th to 10th October 2015. See the review in the archive.
Showtime Circus, 26th to 28th March 2015. See the review in the archive.
Summer Holiday, 1st to 4th October 2014. See the review in the archive.
Showtime Royale, 27th to 29th March 2014
Grease, 2nd to 5th October 2013
Showtime Ever After!, 21st to 23rd March 2013. See the review in the Archive.
Footloose, 19th to 22nd September 2012.
See the review in the Archive.
Showtime Chemistry, 22nd to 24th March 2012
Our House - The Madness Musical, 5th to 8th October 2011
Showtime Locomotion 2011, 24th to 26th March 2011. See the review in the Archive.
Jekyll and Hyde, 6th to 9th October 2010. See the review in the Archive.
Showtime Café, 22nd to 24th April 2010. See the review in the Archive.
West Side Story, 7th to 10th October 2009. See the review in the Archive.
Disco Inferno, 1st to 4th October 2008. See the review in the Archive.
The Wizard of Oz, 3rd to 6th October 2007. See the review in the Archive.
Chess, 4th to 7th October 2006. See the review in the Archive.
Showtime 2006, 31st March to 1st April 2006. See the review in the Archive.
Annie, 5th to 8th October 2005. See the review in the Archive.
Showtime!, 28th to 30th April 2005. See the review in the Archive.
Jesus Christ Superstar, 6th to 9th October 2004. See the review in the Archive.
Guys and Dolls, 1st to 4th October 2003. See the review in the Archive.
Oliver!, 3rd to 5th October 2002. See the review in the Archive.
Sweet Charity, 4th to 6th October 2001. See the review in the Archive.
A celebration of the music of Stephen Sondheim and George Gershwin, Sat 7th and Sun 8th April 2001. See the review in the Archive.
Some Like it Hot, 5th to 7th October 2000. See the Archive for reviews.