Reviews 2011 – 2014

REVIEW Les Miserables – Norwich Playhouse

So gripping that they moved me to tears

The young people of Norfolk did something extraordinary last night when they took on one of the hardest musicals. The story has at its core the emotions of human torment, pain and unrequited love. And I was absolutely astounded by the maturity of this Norfolk Youth Music Theatre performance, which moved me more than the West End tour version.

Playing the lead faultlessly was 19-year-old Chris Brown as Jean Valjean, whose voice displayed such control, depth and utter emotion.

I loved Daniel Herman’s interpretion of the anti-hero, Javert, tormented by his own feelings of remorse for Valjean; and 15-year-old Edward Bartram made a superb Marius. He had a fabulous voice, again evoking high emotion in Empty Chairs and Empty Tables and, with Emily Stanghan as Cosette, bringing tears to my eyes with their beautiful rendition of A Heart Full of Love. The expectations with this musical are huge, and Kellie Brown, as Eponine, can be happy she sang On My Own perfectly, as did Lily Betts, as her mother Fantine, in one of the most difficult songs, I Dreamed a Dream: she sang this with such emotion, making every word matter.

Bringing some much-needed humour to the production were Alex Green and Harriet Millsopp as the two Thenardier rogues.

There was an evocative set and costumes; however, I would ditch the dry ice – it was a little distracting… and who needed it to create atmosphere? The passion was all there last night in the eyes of every single young performer on stage. They did Norfolk proud.

NUNSENSE. VENUE Greenside. 6 to 13 August 2011 Broadway Baby Reviewed by Lee Zhao 4 STARS

Bad habits die hard (Review)

Nunsense is a farce. There’s no other way to describe the plot. Even the setup is ridiculous: fifty-two of the Little Sisters of Hoboken are sent to Heaven when their cook accidentally poisons them and, with the Reverend Mother caught with her hand in the collection plate, the nuns are unable to bury the sisters temporarily stored in their freezer. To resolve this crisis, they stage a variety song and dance show to raise the required capital… and that’s where the musical begins!

Last year, when I went to review the Norfolk Youth Music Theatre, I was blown away by the maturity of the teenage cast – and this year’s production is no different. I am still amazed the senior Reverend Mother was played not by a middle aged woman, but by Alex Baldry, a child of the nineties! In fact all five actresses easily inhabit characters well beyond their years.

Nunsense is also challenging in that it calls on the singers to dance, as well as act and be funny. I was very impressed to see an excellent stab at the ballet and tap sequences, rather than cutting them for this abridged show. However, this seems to have come at a price, as the vocals didn’t quite reach the perhaps unfairly high standards I’ve come to expect from this company. On occasions, the words were drowned out by the accompaniment, and it’s also unfortunate that in the final fifteen minutes the thumping soundtrack of the other show at Greenside bleeds into the venue.

But my biggest gripe is the length. The original off-Broadway musical was over two hours long, and it has been trimmed here to fit into a one hour slot. Although a good majority of songs have survived, the dialogue in between has largely been dispensed. Apart from the obvious change to the pace, it’s also a shame because you lose the wonderfully playful banter amongst the group.

Mainly though, I wish it had been a bit longer because I didn’t want the show to finish – and not just because I didn’t want to face a walk across town in the dreadful Edinburgh weather. By the end, the cast were really getting into their stride. The accents had settled, the comic timing was spot-on and the five members of the NYMT had turned into a slick comedy unit, milking every bit of gold out of the outrageous plot. I left wanting more, much more. And in that respect, Nunsense does a lot of things right.

THE CARD – Venue: Spotlites @ The Merchants Hall GORDON CLAYTON 3 STARS

Company: Norfolk Youth Theatre

Production: Adrian Connell( Director and Conductor)

With the pedigree of a book by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall and music from Tony Hatch, Norfolk Youth Theatre maintain their reputation on the fringe with this production of The Card which is not only amusing but backed with some really catchy numbers.

This is a new venue for the group and certainly more comfortable for their large audience although the dome of the Merchant’s Hall sometimes made it difficult to catch all the words. These young performers did well without the obvious support of microphones but occasionally they need to project their voices and characters a little more.

The show is about the rise and rise and rise of Denry Machin the son of an industrious washerwoman who grasps every opportunity to make money and enhance his social standing amongst his fellow citizens.

Fraser Davidson does really well coping with his character going from childhood to adulthood in front of our eyes. The diminutive Charley Nicol makes a big impact in a small part as she sees her son make progress despite his doubtful morality.

The women in his life are all strong with Nellie Cotterhill (Phoebe Robinson) playing the coy and unrequited admirer while our hero dallies with the forceful Ruth Earp played in commanding style by Jess Davidson. The Countess of Chell role was filled by Ellie Freeman who looked every inch a lady.

In this production, the male actors are up to a similar standard with impressive performances by Alex Green, Edward Bartram and Dan Cruikshank supported by Chris Brown and Dan Herman. The ensemble not only contributed to the overall quality of the production but their non-verbal work was first class and were well supported by the band under the direction Of Adrian Connell..

This is an engaging show, light but interestingly performed by a young but equally engaging cast of teenagers. The queue to get in snaked round into Rose Street and this was a show worth the wait

THE CARD Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich 2 – 5 November 2011

The cheerful (ace of capitalism, Denry Machin is not content with the hand that life has dealt him. He demands a better deal. A joker, not a knave, he never misses a trick, always comes up trumps and wins nearly everybody’s hearts. Fraser Davidson is the confident young entrepreneur in Keith Waterhouse and Willis Halls adaptation of Arnold Bennett’s short novel.

It is directed by Adrian Connell on sets of his own design that reflect working people’s hard lives in the Potteries. With a small, responsive band, Mark Sharp is musical director, and the singing, in solos, duets and choruses, has strength and rhythm to carry the action forward through a sequence of episodes that never last too long.

As Denry’s hard-working mother, Charley Nicol displays sound sense that nothing can faze, while Eleanor Freeman shows county qualities in the Countess. Phoebe Robinson is Nellie, the nice girl who contrasts with Eloise Hare’s flighty Ruth, the dance teacher who knows the art of keeping her balance after a faux pas.

Filling the stage with tireless vitality, the whole cast creates a panorama of individual characters in this Norfolk Youth Music Theatre show that repays the tremendous effort that must have gone into producing it. Christopher Smith

Sue DuPont NODA

Seeing this reworked version of The Card, parts of the show were hardly recognisable from the original that I was involved with many years ago, however the female roles and minor characters offered more opportunities for the cast with only fractionally less emphasis on Denry (but still an enormous amount to learn and perform).

In this title role, Frazer Davidson excelled with his effervescence and dexterity and good vocals and smooth professionalism: it is really rewarding to follow the group and watch the members graduate into title roles and grow in strength with talents cultivated and exploited to the full.

He worked very well with the other principals and between them drew the story and comedy, but above all the drive and ambition in Denry. The two leading ladies who vied for his attention and love: Eloise Hare as the determined Ruth Earp with her sophistication and ambition and superficial polish in competition with the softer Nellie Cotterill of Phoebe Robinson, but there was a steel in the soft centre of this character; both were appealing in their different ways, sang well, and worked together in a good team.

Benefactor Countess of Chell (Ellie Freeman) had a superiority and style and nice characterisation; and Joy Cruickshank as Mrs Shilitoe gave a good cameo role in the Tailor’s Shop. But the female performance accolade must go to the talents of Charley Nicol as Mrs Machin: what a role of magnificent timing and with perfection in underplayed comedy: those asides or just seconds-long appearances side stage were waited for with anticipation of their professionalism and that long suffering appeal, and the acting and singing were more than up to standard!

On the male side, apart from Denry, Dan Cruickshank put in a strong, powerful and excellent performance as Mr Duncalf the Solicitor; and the cheeky clerk Parsloe was a delight from Tom Coath. The entire cast of principals and chorus filled with enthusiasm and energy, and, as expected from NYMT, the talents of the whole company resulted in an excellent show under Adrian’s direction.

Must also congratulate the speed of furniture changing in this multi-scened show and the problems of a small stage. I look forward to the next season of NYMT.

2012 SWEENEY TODD, GALA CONCERT, WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND

SWEENEY TODD – NORWICH PLAYHOUSE Sweeney won the NODA best production award for 2012 Revenge sweet in this thriller

Spndheim’s ground-breaking, musical revenge thriller is “heavy with gore and bodies. This Norfolk Youth Music Theatre production puts some professionals to shame.

Adrian Connell directs a highly talented ensemble. Callum Bicknell plays the barber with an amazing voice, towering morosely over victims and innocents alike. Harriet Millsopp is just outstanding as the amoral Mrs Lovett;turhing bodies into pies.

High soprano; Emily Stanghan, as Todd’s daughter, and Emma Hume as his tragic, lost wife, arp superb, Fraser Davidson (the love-lorn Anthony), Daniel Herman (the depraved Judge, Turpin), Jack Edwards (his accomplice), Alex Salzado (the rival barber) and Marland Barsby (the young, simple Tobias Ragg are all exceptionally, strong singers and actors. This is extremely challenging musically. Mark Sharp’s hidden orchestra are consistently excellent and the on-stage chorus are spot on.

The whole cast collectively and individually do full dramatic justice to the clever lyrical narratives and complex melodies. Songs like The Worst Pies in London and My Friends have become classics and the ingenious chair served gruesomely well.

David Porter EDP

WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND: EDINBURGH FRINGE Barn Stormer Broadway Baby Rating: 4 STARS

Maybe it was lack of sleep. Maybe it was lack of food. Maybe it was lack of affection in early childhood. Whatever the reason, I bawled my eyes out at Norfolk YMT’s beautiful production of Whistle Down the Wind. The sobs and sniffs from elsewhere in the audience suggested that the cause of this emotional outburst was in fact what was happening on stage.

This is not Lloyd-Webber’s setting of the tale, but rather a version adapted by Russell Labey and Richard Taylor. The score is folky and delicate, with some astonishingly beautiful moments and more than a few tricky bits of recitative. These were navigated serenely by the able young cast, turning the idea that youngsters need strong melodies on its head.

The story follows the Bostock children as they discover a man they presume to be Jesus in their barn in Yorkshire. His identity forms the battle between youthful innocence and adult suspicion. The siblings each give stellar performances, and work well together as a group. Tilly Chitty was suitably adorable as Nan, with just a hint of girly bossiness. Marland Barsby as Charles has a great treble voice and gave a boisterous performance as the brother who is always in the wrong. My main episode of weeping came at Nicola Myers’ cracking solo as the eldest, Cathy. She gave her character a gravity beyond her years, which made her childlike belief all the more touching.

The set was beautifully evocative, if overly clunky for a fringe venue. The hordes of stage-hands required to get big sets on and off for short scenes were distracting, although their ambition cannot be faulted. That this beautiful production should be a youth project is nothing short of miraculous.

James Robert Ball

Musicals Review: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (The Norfolk YMT)

Amateur but very well done, this is a fun, light hearted production of Sondheim’s period musical comedy. The sparkling, cynicism and humour were carried over well by the convincing leads, who were sharply subtle, their characters convincingly portrayed. Ironically, one of the main flaws was the singing: while in places it was wonderful – particular mention goes to the rendition of ‘Send in the Clowns’ – other songs, especially those preformed by most of the cast, were often difficult to hear. This may have been more down to sound balancing than the group’s abilities, however; technical problems were also obvious in the occasionally awkward and distracting lighting. Yet, despite these small issues, this production of was very high class for an amateur show.

C too, 6-11 Aug, 6.00pm. rating 3 STARS | [Katie Cunningham]

WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND MADDERMARKET THEATRE

From the opening with the full cast on stage, this show both moves and gladdens the heart, stirs emotions and leaves room for plenty to think about. There is an escaped convict on the loose just before Christmas. Village children think the stranger in the barn is Jesus. On that hangs a variation of the Nativity and parables and events from the Bible, including a Judas character in.the boy (George Hunt) who betrays the Man, sympathetically played by John Chitty.

Rough, rural family life is captured perfectly with props and effects handled well. The acting and singing in the children’s chorus/ disciples’ commentary is priceless; their parents wonderfully odd. The church nativity scene is hilarious. The orchestra under Mark Sharp are excellent. Director Adrian Connell has surpassed himself with this challenging piece of musical theatre. He’s well served by superb performers. Cameos and larger roles work in harmony. Nicola Myers, Tilly Chitty and Marland Barsby, the children.who find and care for the Man, brilliantly convey first innocence, then dawning realisation that he cannot be Jesus. Or can he? See it. Prepare to wipe a tear.

David Porter EDP

GALA CONCERT – 2012 DISS

A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC – 2012 UEA NORWICH  NO REVIEW

 The local newspapers choose not to review our young people’s work.

MISS SAIGON NORWICH PLAYHOUSE

Theatre at its best TONY MALLION BBC

For any amateur group to take on the Vietnam War-based love story Miss Saigon is a massive challenge but the Norfolk Youth Theatre not only did so, but did it triumphantly. In almost six decades of theatre-going there will always be utterly outstanding moments for me, and this was one of them. Founder and director Adrian Gonnell and his production team are to be congratulated. The principals were faultless in both acting and powerful voices; the big set pieces, including the Morning of the Dragon and the high-kicking American Dream were superb, all backed with a full orchestra.

Getting this Schonberg and Boublil operatic-style mega-musical on the stage of the Norwich Playhouse was a credit to both the stage crew and set designers Beccles-based Scenic Projects. Stunning Miss Saigon.

JENNY HOLMWOOD,Norwich.

I write to congratulate the Norfolk Youth Music Theatre on their breathtaking performance of Miss Saigon at the Norwich Playhouse on April 6. I saw this musical at the Theatre Royal a few years ago and was overwhelmed by it.

The cast – as you have reported – consisted of youngsters from schools’ around Norfolk who were confident and immensely talented. This was an ambitious project but the Youth Theatre managed to pull it off with great skill. Special effects produced jaw dropping scenes, especially when the helicopter landed and took off.

The orchestra was polished and impressive. I look forward to the next production of the Norfolk Youth.Music Theatre

LOVE STORY

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Lauren Humphreys

Inspired by Erich Segal’s best-selling tearjerker of a novel, Love Story by Stephen Clark and Howard Goodall, charts the story of rich Harvard boy Oliver, and poor but clever Radcliffe student, Jenny. They bicker and bitch, fall in love and marry much to the dismay of Oliver’s parents who disinherit him. While Oliver pursues his dreams at law school Jenny puts her ambitions aside to support them, but tragedy strikes.

Staged as a series of short, fast changing scenes, the young cast from Norfolk Youth Music Theatre manage the transitions adeptly. There are a vast array of props and plenty of costume changes to keep the visual interest up too. The score by Goodall is undoubtedly beautiful and easy on the ear, and helps to weave the emotional tale well. What the songs achieve that the film does not is to allow us a glimpse into the interior monologues of the characters and presents them as more rounded and relatable human beings. If any criticism were to be levelled at the music though it’s just a tad repetitive.

Will Arundell and Eloise Hare are beautifully cast as Oliver and Jenny, playing both with an emotional depth and maturity beyond their tender years. Each manages to steer clear of the saccharine schmaltz it would be so easy to descend into.

At just 80 minutes, the running time allows the spell to remain unbroken. The emotion is ramped up throughout and when the final scene is delivered there are genuine tears from the audience. This a stunningly accomplished company who breathe new life into this well-loved tale.

Runs until Sat 10th Aug

OLIVER! MADDERMARKET THEATRE

Once again a very slick and fast moving production by NYMT and several different touches in this ‘Oliver’ to make an interesting show. What a pace from the orchestra, really excellent, and how the score and action sped past, and that continuous run with very slick scene excellent changes integral into the action, this was a seamless (no pauses) entertainment of music, action, and dance without any stops in the story line (and the curtain down well before time for younger members).

Young Oliver at age 8, Alexander Lelewel, was a joy to listen to and very appealing, and seemingly already experienced with ‘Whistle Down Wind’ and ‘Miss Saigon’ (Tarn) performed plus being a Norwich Cathedral chorister. His opposite young lead: energetic, personality plus, quick moving, huge voice projection, leader of all young boys partners in crime Artful Dodger, Marland Barsby was more than everything required in this role and fulfils the promise shown in previous productions, 8 so far with NYMT at age 14 including Gavroche and Chuck; a triumph of the role and he was unmissable on stage.

All those smaller youngsters had such a great time in the Workhouse and Thieves’Kitchen scenes, so enthusiastic and very exuberant and each creating a tiny cameo character role; also liked the use of many of the chorus as extras in other scenes as it gave an opportunity to develop acting skills. The energy of the entire chorus and the dancers in the big routines created with Marina Bill gave an almost, wild exuberance, only just disciplined in energy, and carried away the audiences in song and dance in these happier scenes.

A mix of new members with the established in this cast (presume some regulars disappeared to college): Fagin. Nancy, and Bill Sykes were all new to NYMT and talent to retain in their acting and singing abilities. 16th birthday on opening night, Archie Brown really hit the jackpot, a strong and thoughtful and well acted performance (not too OTT thankfully) with excellent relationships to other characters.

Nancy, Molly Cutter (15), had a voice for the role to die for, worked extremely well with Fagin, Bill, and the duo Oliver and Dodger, hopefully will stay with the company. Support from a strong voiced Bet, Tilly Chitty (11) looks well for the future roles. A strong and menacing Bill from Aidan Parsons. Callum Black at 17 gave an imposing presence and yet clever comedy touches as Mr Bumble, and the voice was perfect as expected after his Chris in Miss Saigon earlier in the year.

A good relationship and the scene mastered well and no chances missed with the Widow Corney from Nichola Myers (15), see that 16 shows with NYMT show her experience. As the dolorous Sowerberry couple Tom Coath and Joanna Maxwell had the attitudes and the voices and the timing for this sombre but comedic sequence. And one must not forget the smaller roles that all showed the talents of the group in street scenes (sellers singing) and domestic (the Brownlow household), and of course the Inn.

Once again a credit to Adrian and his Team and the whole Company of NYMT.

Sue Dupont NODA

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – 2014 Norwich Playhouse _ The increasingly ambitious, hugely talented Norfolk Youth Music Theatre team excelled in their magnificent, confident Phantom, which is a big show by any definition. Adrian Connell, stage and musical director, should be proud of his performers and know that he is guiding many future stars. EDP

An evening of ‘blown away’ enjoyment for all in the Playhouse audience, quite brilliant in every way, once more NYMT climbed the mountain and showed what is at the top. NODA

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 12 April 2014

The increasingly ambitious, hugely talented Norfolk Youth Music Theatre team excelled in their magnificent, confident Phantom, which is a big show by any definition.

Whether in the dramatic solos and duets or the entire ensemble on stage, this was a smooth operation allowing the music, singing and Marina Bill’s tight choreography to drive the emotions in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s dark love story.

Never easy musically, the orchestra under Mark Sharp’s expert baton sounded so good somebody near me thought it was a professional backing track. Norwich School of Dance delivered glorious ballet routines.

Adrian Connell, stage and musical director, should be proud of his performers and know that he is guiding many future stars. Hyoie O’Grady donned the Phantom’s mask with tragic aplomb, Emma Seamarks’ powerful, rich voice soared the heights as Christine, the Phantom’s iconic muse.

Calum Black pitched his love role just right and demonstrated how to lead and be part of the ensemble. A wide range of ages performed with infectious enthusiasm and joy. ‘Music of the Night’ indeed, that lingers into dawn.

NODA – FRIDAY 11tH APRIL – Reviewer Sue Dupont

Dear Adrian, Thank you very much for the invitation to see NYMT in their latest production, ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, and also especial thanks for the extra NODA tickets and I know how impressed all who attended were with the company. Where do I begin with this production? Ambitious, professional, brilliantly cast and sung, innovative in staging, groupings and movement, sets impressive and very clever on a small stage but imaginative and enhanced with atmospheric lighting and effects, superbly costumed (220 made especially for this week by Thespis), a delightful dance troupe from Norwich School of Dance: the whole thing a joy and spectacular delight for eye and ear.

The orchestra was a triumph with the score, clever to use again another space to place the 19 players and thereby use full scoring, understand that some in audience thought it was professional backing tracks used rather than real live musicians and that says it all!

And how do you find principals aged 17 to 19 years who can sing these roles with such ability and style: well it has to be Norfolk Youth Music Theatre who triumph yet again and enhances a brilliant reputation. The two leading roles were outstanding in vocals and acting: Hyoie O’Grady in the title role took us into another level with his mature singing and interpretation of the role, a newcomer to NYMT and off to stage school, this was something special and how well he worked with Christine in this production. And Emma Seamarks as Christine was quite, quite brilliant in her singing, what work must have gone into learning and achieving those notes, seemingly without effort, and on top of the voice a delight to look at. The solos and duets from this pair brought home the soaring score and filled the theatre with excitement and pleasure as shown by the reactions from the sell-out audience.

And the third in the love triangle, Raoul from Calum Black (remembered as Chris in Miss Saigon) just brought the emotions and drama to a new high, and again superb vocally alone and in duet with Christine. These three were phenomenal, the feelings came through, but there was more! Maria Willis as Carlotta gave a coloratura performance in the opera, where did she find that amazing voice at 17 years, no wonder a semi-finalist at Llangollen Eistedfodd, a superb role opposite a solid Elliott Scott-Greenard as Piangi; and the whole of the Hannibal sequence an impressive use of full company and stage. The management team at the Paris Opera strong in performance and vocals: Andre from Kevin Aves and Firmin from Iverson Yabut (both previously in OVA production).

A dominant and well characterised Mme Giry from Natalie Woodward, nicely acted and mellow vocals; and the dancing through the actions but singing the lines with clarity, a thoughtful Meg from Lydia Whiting. The ensemble works from all these named roles so good in ‘Notes and Prima Donna’ and ‘Notes and Twisted every way’: every note of harmony heard and perfect and balanced with the orchestral score.

But it is not just the singing from the principals, it is the whole company singing and the trength of all performers with the notes: interesting to see that Kim from ‘Miss Saigon’ and Nancy from ‘Oliver’ (previous productions) included in the Ensemble Chorus, such is the strength of the back-up notes. And as expected from NYMT, every member on stage knew exactly where to be and what to do and still keep up this amazing standard of singing. An evening of ‘blown away’ enjoyment for all in the Playhouse audience, quite brilliant in every way, once more NYMT climbed the mountain and showed what is at the top. Congratulations!

MISS SAIGON – EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL – AUGUST Gordon Clayton – Posted on 06 August 2014 EDINBURGH GUIDE

It may not be the Sale of the Century, but the opportunity to see a production of ‘Miss Saigon’ from Norwich for £12 must be the bargain of this year’s fringe. It may be the school edition, but the maturity of performance from the young members of Norfolk Youth Music Theatre raises the bar once again in what is a too short visit to Edinburgh.

The musical by the same writers as ‘Les Miserables’ Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, with lyrics by Boublil and Richard Maltby Jnr is an emotional journey of love and life during the Vietnam War that the principals convincingly portray throughout the production.

While the scenery does not slide seamlessly into place, the audience were oblivious to the scene changes and you were conscious of the audience leaning forward to catch every nuance and expression. All the great numbers are included even if there seemed to be changes in the order and performed by the cast backed up by their own live orchestra.

Chris played by Callum Black shows amazing depth in handling the relationships with both the women in his life. He has a number of tender songs and others where he has to use the full range of his voice.

Kim (Megan Artherton) started tentatively as you would expect as the shy girl being introduced to the bar girls but after that she absolutely put in a powerful performance of great quality and must be destined for further success.

Just when you thought that the cast had two great leads, Lewis Aves (John) led on Bui-doi with a voice to die for. Ellen (Jess Stewart may enter the fray late on but again a great voice with plenty of emotion. The Engineer despite the character flaws is at the heart of the comic numbers and Iverson Yabut did not disappoint especially in his acting and that wonderful number ‘the American dream’.

Sometimes it’s the ensemble that sets the amateurs from the professionals but not in this production whether they were bar girls, villagers, soldiers or cheerleaders they changed costumes and characters without any problem.

The show is well dressed and lit and one item of direction caught the eye and that was when the Americans pulled out leaving the girls behind. The use of the fencing worked really well and it takes something to put on a show of this scale in a confined space.

To NYMT- Haste ye Back!

STAGE AND SCREEN WITH THE NORWICH POPS ORCHESTRA – ST ANDREWS HALL NORWICH

Thank you very much for the invitation to the concert at St Andrews Hall for the Norwich Pops Orchestra which featured Norfolk Youth Music Theatre, and what a feast of sound we all enjoyed, and what a revelation to many in the audience (who probably would not attend a ‘youth’ production) on the talent and strength of the group, a superb evening.

With 48 in that excellent orchestra under Mark Sharp, we were able to appreciate the full scorings of the musicals throughout and they were splendid, as expected.

Add the 56 youngsters, mostly current members but featuring some past leads still in further training, and the wave of sound from the stage just overwhelmed in the big company numbers with magnificent harmonies and strength of immaculate notes and timing. And needless to say the soloists were very special and so good and professional in all aspects: and what a success story for NYMT to see so many go on to further careers in music. Seeing some of your previous leads brought back memories to add to the talents of the current membership.

I am delighted to hear of your 5 star review yet again at the Edinburgh Fringe this year.

The numbers featured gave a picture of so many achievements in your productions, a good choice to showcase the group with extracts from ‘Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Miss Saigon’, ‘Sweeney Todd’, ‘A Little Night Music’, ‘Secret Garden’ and ‘Les Miserables’, all of which have been successful in your hands. Does one pick out a single number and the answer is ‘no’ as all were so excellent whether solo or duet or ensemble or company. However the audience responded to the finale from ‘Les Miserables’ with a standing ovation!

Thank you again and I am always filled with admiration for you and NYMT.

ADDAMS FAMILY – MADDERMARKET THEATRE NOVEMBER

David Porter EDP

You don’t have to remember the TV or film series about the “creepy and kooky” family from the dark side created by cartoonist Charles Addams to enjoy this musical.

Daughter Wednesday (Megan Artherton) falls in love with ‘ “normal” Lucas (Felix Revel) who arrives with his respectable parents (Tom Coath and Nicola Myers) at the Addams’ bizarre mansion. Father ■ Gomez (Aidan Parsons) and his wife Morticia (the outstanding Molly Cutter) fall out over it.

Delightfully created family members appear—Uncle Fester (Archie Brown) is in love with the moon; crazy Grandma (Lauren Bryant) wheels a drug trolley. Austin Tanner is Wednesday’s strange little brother and Joseph Reed is a totally bizarre and hilarious Lurch, the zombie butler.

Clever songs and often discordant music is provided by a superb band conducted by Mark Sharp.

The whole works together to display some extremely high quality young local talent.