CLOGS Musical Theatre
As seen by Helen Heaton on Saturday 28th March 2015
for Graeme Savage, NODA SW District 14 Representative
Director: Matt Heaton
Musical Director: Peter French
Choreographer: Lucy Ibbetson
The Neeld Hall, Chippenham
The Producers, whilst being one of the funniest musicals on the circuit is also one of the most difficult to stage well. However, despite a number of staging and casting obstacles put in their way, CLOGS managed to put on a first rate production.
From the opening number, there was a real cast energy about the show, with some first rate choreography from Lucy Ibbeston and team. The cast numbers were well-rehearsed, slick and beautifully sung, with both ‘The King of Old Broadway’ and ‘Springtime for Hilter’ bringing the house down. Musical Director, Peter French had obviously worked hard on delivering the chorus harmonies and principal numbers and there was a good balance with the band, which never over-powered the singing.
The show requires a fantastic Max Bialystock to hold it all together, and Gary Ibbetson performed it with perfection. His comic timing was impeccable and he sang really well too – ‘Betrayed’ being a particular highlight. The show also requires a great relationship between Max and Leo, and Matt Heaton held the part of Leo together really well, well-enough that it was difficult to notice that he’d only taken up the part with a week’s notice. There was also a great relationship as a trio with Ulla, played by new-comer Jolanthe deKoning. She danced beautifully, sang well, held the Swedish accent and oozed the appropriate sex appeal to build a great character.
There was great comic support from Graham Davison-Smith as German playwright Franz Liebkind – the ‘Guten Tag Hop-Clop’ scene with the pigeons was hysterical, as well as his solo rendition of ‘Have You Heard The German Band’. Paul Whelehan, as terrible Broadway Director Roger DeBris and Russell Syrett as his common-law assistant Carmen Ghia were also well-cast and added further to the mayhem, really making the most of their comic lines and their relationship in ‘Keep It Gay’. There was great support from Bev Hockley as ‘Hold Me, Touch Me’ and Chris Howlett excelled as the Stormtrooper, though this was just one of the many parts he played! Overall, this was a terrific ensemble piece.
The show was imaginatively set and built by the Society, with a moving front stage for the office and rear stage area for all other scenes. Sound was well managed by Dave Tulloch at Soundbase UK. Lighting was provided by Mark Read (MDR Theatre Services) and complimented the performances well, even extending to some pyrotechnics and an overhead camera for ‘Springtime for Hitler’. Gill Powell ensured the costumes looked terrific, no easy task as they are extensive and tricky for this show, with help from Costume Workshop, Isle of Wight.
The only real show criticism of the show was that some of the set changes did seem unnecessarily long and occasionally the projection at the back would have been better displayed in portrait format, rather than landscape.
However, these are relatively minor observations and should not detract from a show the CLOGS should feel very proud of. May they continue to go from strength to strength!
National Operatic and Dramatic Association
Patron: The Lord Lloyd-Webber
Registered as a charity number 254640 VAT registration number 232 5945 62
15, The Metro Centre. Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. PE2 7UH
Tel 01733 374790 Fax 01733 237286 firstname.lastname@example.org www.noda.org.uk