RUDDIGORE: 12th October 2019
Photos: Graham Brown
Photo: David Ireland
OLIVER: 17th May 2019
Photo: Val Scott
"I don’t think there are many people who have not had the privilege to watch Oliver on stage, if you haven’t you are missing a splendid musical and especially this one! Trinity Methodist has given the audience a masterclass on how to produce a show. The talent on the stage was exceptional and we went out saying ‘Wow’!
Directors David James and Deborah Marks with Musical Director Gerald Hindes, are to be congratulated for producing such a professional show. They provided some lovely little touches which added to this production. From the very start when the ladies of the ensemble took to the stage and the children marched in through the auditorium, the audience were hooked and the magic began; their rendition of ‘Food Glorious Food’ got the whole audience singing.
Enter Mr Bumble (Tony Brett) with Widow Corney (Pat Hollingsworth), from the very beginning this couple worked the stage and their characterisation of each of their roles was spot on. Their comedy shone through, while their facial expressions spoke volumes. Both had great singing voices and timing, their song ‘I shall scream’ was hilarious. Tony’s rendition of ‘Boy for sale’ was also superb.
Another good pairing was Mr and Mrs Sowerberry, the funeral directors, not large roles but the scene provided energy and comedy, the song ‘That’s your funeral’ was very well delivered. Lauren Russell playing Charlotte and Ryan Wuyts – Noah Claypole, added to the scene, both projecting well. I also loved Mrs Sowerberry’s wig. Patsy Page is to be commended for all of the wigs, as this must have been a huge undertaking with such a large cast.
Oliver. (Gene Gardner) was absolutely wonderful. His crystal clear voice and angelic looks made this show a complete hit. This young man is surely a star of the future and his rendition of ‘Where is love’ was beautiful.
The Artful Dodger (Aleks Gulliver) gave a strong, energetic, confident performance and complimented Oliver very well. His rendition of the classic ‘Consider Yourself’ was a gem and he came over as a very likeable rogue.
David Slater as Fagin was superb. With energy and verve David never fails to deliver a role and his work on this character was brilliant. His accent was consistent and his singing always spot on. As an ex -professional West End actor he is able to bring his experience to the amateur stage and it was really a great performance, his costume, wig and beard were also spot on. Well done to the wardrobe department for all the costumes in the show.
Bill Sykes (Kris Tyler) was possibly the best I have ever seen. He sent shivers down my spine and was totally believable as the aggressive psychopathic villain. His rendition of ‘My name’ was truly scary and menacing.
The smaller roles but just as important, were Bet (Hannah Griffiths) looking and sounding beautiful, Mrs Bedwin (Helen Wilson) who had a stunning voice, Mr Brownlow (David Ehren) as the grandfather, and Susan Bartle as Old Sally both characters played well. The ensemble cast and of course the children, all made this show the hit it definitely was. Well done to everyone.
I leave the best till last. The incredible Charlotte Reed as Nancy in the wonderful red dress made especially for her by Tony Brett. This young lady totally blew us away. She is a star in the making and would grace any West End Stage. In fact I do wish Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber could have seen her as she would be chosen straight away. Her energy, incredible voice and beauty shone out. Her iconic song ‘As long as he needs me’ was totally beautiful and had me in tears. If there is any justice in the world I hope that this young lady is spotted by a talent scout and she does indeed end up on the West End stage. I’m just sad that there is no best musical actress award with NODA as she would definitely receive this.
The musical director Gerald Hindes and his eleven piece orchestra were amazing and not once did they overpower the singers, which can sometimes happen. The professional lighting and sound was good, while the set stunning. Thank you to Front of House who looked after us.
This was an incredible evening out; we congratulate each and every one of you on a superb show".
Noda East District 8
PATIENCE: 6th October 2018
Photos from Chelmsford City Opera's performance of "Patience," given in Saint John's Church, Moulsham Street, Chelmsford CM20JD on the 6th Ocotber 2018. Photo credit: Graham Brown
Noda Review: OKLAHOMA: 15th - 19th May 2018
Type of Production
WEDNESDAY, MAY 10, 2017
Billericay Operatic Society
Director – Wayne Carpenter
Choreographer - Jane Granby
Musical Director – Gerald Hindes
Performed at The Brentwood Theatre on Friday 23 March 2018 at 7.30pm
I was intrigued to see how Billericay Operatic Society would manage to perform the show in such an intimate venue. The answer is very well indeed! Having only seen The Producers in large theatres before, with lavish sets, it was an eye opener, for me, to see that it could be done on a smaller scale. Whilst it was impractical to do the large, showpiece, dances that were in the original show, choreographer Jane Granby did create the effect that was required of the script.
Max Bialystock was played by Wayne Carpenter who also produced and directed the show. Wayne is able to turn his skills to almost any part and this was no exception, a well portrayed character. Leo Bloom was played by Matthew Carpenter and he is turning out to be a chip off the old block! A very assured performance, with excellent characterisation. Jeff Stillman played the closet Nazi Franz Liebkind very well, a great comedy performance with some excellent timing. Roger de Bris was well played by Niels Bradley and his aide de camp, Carmen Ghia, was played by Nik Graham, both characters wonderfully over the top.
Anna Dunn was excellent as Ulla Inga Hansen Benson Yonsen Tallen-Hallen Svaden-Svanson and thank goodness I only had to write that once! The three main Angels; Gail Carpenter (Hold Me, Touch Me) Margaret Garnett (Kiss Me, Feel Me) and Jane Martin (Lick Me, Bite Me) were all good.
The other parts were played well, and I loved the gang of four, Mark Clements (Bryan) Jon Keeler (Kevin) James Richardson (Scott) and Bev Peeling (Shirley). The ensemble and the dancers completed the cast and, together they gave us an excellent evening’s entertainment.
Of necessity, in this small space, the scenery was simple but worked well. It was a shame that there had to be so many blackouts between scenes as this slowed the pace of the show. But I can recognise that there was no real alternative. I loved the pigeon loft, that was a stroke of genius and the memory of it will remain with me for a while!
Costumes were excellent, as they should be when they are hired from a professional supplier, but it is nice to see a society care enough to make sure that the costumes worked. Lighting and sound were fine, this stage did have a few dark spots but the cast, in particular Wayne, made sure that they were in the right place to be seen in a lit area.
A full house which is always rewarding to see, and the audience obviously enjoyed the show.
YEOMEN OF THE GUARD
Trinity Methodist Music and Drama at the Civic Theatre
10.05.17 Michael Gray
The curtain-raiser – always the fate of this early G&S collaboration – is Trial by Jury, a welcome revival of Tony Brett's charmingly fantastical production first seen at Trinity in 2015. Good to see Wayne Carpenter moonlighting as the errant Prince, playing opposite Emily Delves' sweetly sung Cinders.
Pinafore is equally inventive and off the wall. The British warship, moored at Portsmouth Point, becomes a spacecraft in a galaxy far, far away, not unlike the Enterprise, or Captain Tempest's D'Illyria probe. But Sullivan's music survives intact, and, some cheeky tweaks apart, it's the look rather than the lyrics that is radically altered, with the crew clad in silver and scarlet space suits, and the Sisters, Cousins and Aunts elegant in fantasy frocks and wigs.
Tony Brett has assembled an impressive cast, led by soprano Jenny Haxell, who languishes with style and lilac locks as Josephine, and sings the part beautifully – her Act Two soliloquy particularly enjoyable. Her Ralph is Ashley Thompson, who despite his futuristic tinfoil space-suit is an old-fashioned light tenor. Patrick O'Brien, who plays the learned judge before the interval, excels again as a leering Dick Deadeye. Janet Moore makes a lovely Buttercup, here relinquishing her bumboat for a tea-trolley stocked with Pringles. Her palm-reading duet with Howard Brooks' Captain Corcoran is splendidly done.
In the most stunning costume, Brett himself plays Sir Joseph Porter, Ruler of the Galaxy, preening and pompous but not above a bit of fancy footwork in the amusing Why and Wherefore trio. Strangely reluctant to be paired off with his cousin Hebe, Emma Byatt imposing in tight black leather.
Not much ambitious choreography elsewhere, and a deal of standing around singing. But a fresh sideways look at a Savoy favourite, accompanied by a sizeable pit orchestra, comparable to Sullivan's own, conducted by Trinity's Musical Director Gerald Hindes.
In an old Savoyard jest, I recall, some wag would enquire “Who's playing Celerity tonight?” The answer for this week at least, is Pat Hollingworth.
THE MUSIC MAN
Billericay Operatic Society at Brentwood Theatre
Meredith Willson's old-fashioned family musical comedy is given an enjoyably old-fashioned family production by Billericay Operatic.
Directed and produced by Wayne Carpenter, who modestly takes his place as the assorted Iowans oompah up and down the Brentwood stage. He's very watchable as the charismatic shyster “Professor” Harold Hill – confidently talking the talk, eyeing up the folk of River City from front stage, enjoying a great vaudeville duet with Matthew Carpenter as his old mate Marcellus, flirting suavely with his Librarian Marian – an excellent performance from Anna Green, even if it's hard to see her as an old maid …
A lively Tommy from Harry Reeves, Tia Warboys is the Mayor's daughter who's his love interest. Mayor - “watch your phraseology” - Shinn is strongly played by Mark Clements, with Jane Granby as his pretentious wife Eulalie. And there's a very promising performance from young James Nash as the 10-year-old problem child Winthrop, matching the Professor in panache and stage presence.
“Well done, lads !” whispers one of the ensemble as they troop off after the hugely challenging railroad number that opens the show. Well done, indeed, damn near faultlessly delivered, and nicely staged with luggage, newspapers, hats and loud check suits.
The ensemble work maintains this high standard; gossiping ladies, kids, townsfolk, and a very polished Barbershop quartet, delivering numbers like Lida Rose with just enough tongue in cheek. Shipoopi is an impressive production number, and the finale – the triumph of the “think system” - is suitably spectacular.
It is a long show, and a little dated in places. The scene changes, in varying degrees of darkness, are swiftly done, but none-the-less cause the action to drag, especially in the dénouement.
But it's a great evening out, a reminder of how good the old shows can still be. The music is in the capable hands of Gerald Hindes; his little band, hiding stage left, includes trombonist Mark Vokes – one man doing the work of seventy-six ...
The Music Man
Director – Wayne Carpenter
Choreographer - Jane Granby
Musical Director – Gerald Hindes
Performed at The Brentwood Theatre on Wednesday 22 March 2017 at 7.30pm
A full house for this performance and almost full for the whole run. That’s an achievement in itself, so well done to Billericay for generating such good ticket sales and a credit to the marketing team.
The show is regularly performed despite it being one of the ‘older shows’. I think this is because it is light hearted, slightly tongue in cheek and generally good fun, both to do and to watch.
Wayne Carpenter took the lead as con man Professor Harry Hill and he brought a slightly ironic twist to the character which I liked. Making it fresh and slightly different. Anna Green played librarian Marion Paroo and what a beautiful singing voice she has, it was a delight to listen to her songs.
The two principal children Jake Dunning (Winthrop) and Christina Galligan (Amaryllis) were excellent, both bringing good characterisation the their parts. Both projected well and have excellent stage presence. I am only sorry that I could only watch one of the two children in each part. I am sure the other two, James Nash (Winthrop) and Summer Hicks (Amaryllis) were equally as good. The rest of the children were also outstanding, many of them had given a lot of thought to what their characters would be doing and how they would behave. If this was guided by the director, well done, if it was their own creation, even better! It is so lovely to see confident children on stage.
Mark Clements was good as Mayor Shinn, and Jane Granby was terrific as Eulalia, that is such a great part! Gail Carpenter maintained the Irish accent required of Mrs Paroo and showed a warm and welcoming character throughout. Tia Warboys was good as Zaneeta Shinn, loved the voice which added to the character! Phoebe Mulqueen (Gracie Shinn) was also good. Matthew Carpenter (Marcellus Washburn) was excellent in the character and Harry Reeves was very good as Tommy Djilas.
The two singing groups were great, the Del Sarte ladies performing Pick-a-Little were absolutely on time and that isn’t easy with that song! They each had their character which came out in that song and in their dances which were very well balanced, just the right side of caricature. The male Quartet were terrific, strong harmonisation (as expected) and good characters.
The choreography was slick and very well performed, getting both adults and children to move together and in time is a challenge to any choreographer and Jane Granby got it just right. Well done to her and the cast.
The scenery was very cleverly designed to make the most of the small stage. This show has a lot of scene changes and the impact of that is to slow the pace of the production. The stage crew were very quick and I cannot see how it could have been any quicker. Scene changes are a factor in this show and there is no avoiding that.
Costumes were beautiful, absolutely in period and well co-ordinated. There was a lot of attention to detail in the costuming, well done to the wardrobe team for making sure it all looked so good.
Given that the band was in the wings, stage left, and most of the moveable scenery was also taken off that side I thought the band did a terrific job. Nicely balanced and supportive of the singers.
So, a really good evening’s entertainment, well done to all.
Tessa Davies NODA East
Yesterday, I took myself to the Brentwood Theatre once more, this time to see Billericay Operatic Society perform the Meredith Willson musical 'The Music Man'.
I have to say that it was a nice change to see a BOS show that was uplifting and family friendly - their recent previous shows have always had a darker feel, often with at least one of the main characters being murdered!
The Music Man centres around the idea of a con-man, Harold Hill, starting on his most recent con but falling in love with the local librarian.
Harold Hill was, unsurprisingly, played by Wayne Carpenter who has lead the society for some time, alongside relative new-comer Anna Green as Marian Paroo the librarian and love interest. Although not exactly a visual match, vocally they worked very well together when eventually they sang a duet in the second act.
Throughout the show, different groups interacted with Harold & Marian moving the story forward.
Marian's family were played by Gail Carpenter as the Irish mother, Mrs Paroo,and in the show I saw, Jack Dunning as her shy, almost elective mute Winthrop. Jack did well as the character changed throughout the story.
The bumbling major, played by Mark Clements, huffed and puffed his way throughout the show with aplomb, aided by Jane Granby who played his highfalutin wife Eulalie excellently. The Shinn children were played by Phoebe Mulqueen (Gracie) and Tia Worboys (Zaneeta), whose excitable 'ee-gad's were always well placed.
Playing Zaneeta's love interest was Harry Reeves as Tommy Djilas, the local delinquent who as taken under Hill's wing. He played the role with enthusiasm, showing a clear acting talent.
Within the town as well as the general chorus, all of whom did exceptionally well throughout the show, there were two other groups: The Quartet and the Del Sarte Ladies.
The Quartet, also known as the school board, started off as people who couldn't get along, but when convinced to sing by Harold, could not be separated. This group of four, Jeremy Martin, Niels Bradley, Nik Graham & Ray Bowler, probably had the hardest sing of the show having to perfectly coordinate and harmonise, something they did well enough.
The Del Sarte ladies, were mainly used asaccompaniment for Eulalie, but did an excellent job of becoming characters in their own right. Margaret Garnett, Jane Martin, Linda Moore and Jaz Cook made the 'One Grecian Urn' scene very funny.
Two other characters of note were Charlie Cowell, played by Trevor Lowman, as the salesman trying to uncover Hill's scheme and Marcellus Washburn, played by Matthew Carpenter, an old friend of Hill who becomes complicit in the scheme. Trevor played Charlie with aggression and force, whilst Matthew's Marcellus was a complete contrast being played very jauntily.
The show itself is very song heavy, so a congratulations has to go to the whole company for remembering all the lyrics.
Songs of note included 'Rock Island' - a well performed linguistic tongue twister, 'Iowa Stubborn', 'Good Night My Someone' - performed excellently by Anna and Christina Galligan as Amaryllis, 'Seventy-Six Trombones' - possibly the most well known song from the show, 'Pick-a-little, Talk-a-little', 'Marian The Librarian' - which incorporated excellent movements from the Youth Chorus, 'Wells Fargo Wagon' (although the 'wagon' was a bit of a disappointment) and 'Shipoopi' - which was sung strongly with an excellent dance routine.
As mentioned the Wells Fargo 'Wagon' was a bit of a disappointment, but the rest of the set and props were excellent. I especially liked the metamorphic nature of the set, and the attention to small details. The scene changes were completed efficiently by what appeared to be a team of back stage crew.
Finally I would like to congratulate the small band and MD, Gerald Hindes, for their superb orchestration. It was interesting that a piano was chosen over a keyboard - seen when the curtain was moved for scene changes - which gave the sound a more authentic feel.
There was no indication as to what the next BOS show is to be, so I will look forward to see what they decide upon to follow The Music Man.
About "Fiddler on the Roof," Trinity Methodist Music and Drama, 10.5.16
A real treat to have an actor/musician in the title role. Carrie Penn is a frequent presence in Eric Smart's heart-warming production: a silent witness on the side of the stage, perched on the milk cart, or reaching out a comforting hand to Tevye,
Another delight was the chorus: a real sense of the peasant community here, in the Sabbath Prayer, in Sunrise, Sunset, and, after a shaky start, in Lo Chaim.
Though the scene changes were bridged by music cues, they were all done under cover of darkness, and things generally seemed a little slow on opening night.
Plenty of good performances from the principals. David Slater, fighting “a stinking cold”, gave a larger-than-life Tevye, a good father, a good neighbour, talking with his God, chary of his wife Golde [Catherine Gregory]. His three elder daughters were all splendidly sung – and acted – by Beth Elam as Tzeitel, Emily Delves as Hodel – Far from the Home I Love wonderfully performed – and Nicola Myers as the bookish Chava.
Aaron Crowe was an engaging, eager Motel the Tailor, William Micklewright was Perchik, the stranger in a strange land, and Adam Pomozow brought a touch of authenticity to Fyedka, the gentile whom Chava loves.
And a lovely comedy cameo from Pat Hollingsworth as Yente the Matchmaker. Not to mention the sterling work from Shandel, Fruma-Sarah, the Butcher, the Bookseller, the Innkeeper and the Beggar.
But it's the ensembles that will stay in the mind, from Tradition to Anatevka and the emotional company encore at the end.
Julie Slater was the choreographer, Gerald Hindes the Musical Director, with an impressive band in the Civic pit, including two trumpets, an accordion and a mandolin.
Michael Gray Arts Blog
Photos: Val Scott
About "Strictly Legal," Trinity Methodist Music and Drama, 19.09.15
Trinity follow their “night-in-the-museum” Pirates with a surreal Trial by Jury. Part Wind in the Willows [remember the rabbit jury? ] part Alice in Wonderland, part panto, Tony Brett's production had Cinders suing her Prince for breach of promise. Buttons, who traditionally might have the better case, is the judge here, and of course gets his girl before the final chorus.
A riot of colourful costume – sugar-pink piglets for the bridesmaids, a presumably perjurious Pinocchio, Fox, Hedgehog and Toad, a Mole with cap and pink gloves, a Badger in a natty black-and-white suit. And the whole jury glued to their animal husbandry centre-folds. Many enjoyable performances, too: Gavin Jarvis the Prince, Kayleigh McEvoy his accuser, and the inimitable Patrick O'Brien playing the Learned Judge to the manner born. Directing the music from the upright piano: Gerald Hindes.
In the curtain-raiser concert – Savoy Opera snippets with a legal theme – O'Brien was the insomniac Lord Chancellor, Jan Moore a splendid headmistressy Fairy Queen, and Howard Brooks and Tony Brett the Mikado and Koko, an oriental fan the only clue, thank heavens, to their Japanese ethnicity...
production photograph by Val Scott
Michael Gray Arts Blog
About "Die Fledermaus," Chelmsford City Opera, 18.04.15
Strauss's champagne operetta was given a sparkling concert outing last Saturday in Christ Church. Gerald Hindes, conducting a chamber orchestra [led by Anton Archer] freed from the confines of the pit, drew enjoyable performances from his forces: the CCO chorus, and a line-up of soloists augmented by some special guests. Dee Mardi made a striking Rosalinde, whose flirtatious infidelities set the plot in motion; Stephen Cooper was her hapless husband, Stephen Cviic her paramour. Excellent character work from Rebecca Moulton as Orlovsky, with an on-stick moustache, a fine Falke from young baritone Huw Montague Rendall, and a superb star turn from Rebecca Silverman as the maid Adele; her Act III “audition aria” brilliantly done. David Rose was the stuttering, incompetent lawyer Dr Blind, and also led us engagingly through the intricacies of the plot from the pulpit. The ladies and gentlemen of the chorus had to wait fifty minutes for their first entrance, but were compensated by a Vienna bon-bon where the ballet should be: An der schönen blauen Donau, sung in German. Some of the singers lacked the power to compete with the orchestra at full throttle, but the concept was an excellent one, and the familiar melodies sounded rich and sweet in the Christ Church acoustic.
Michael Gray Arts Blog
About "Calamity Jane," 2014:
Gerald Hindes and his pit orchestra gave an excellent account of Sammy Fain's score.
Michael Gray Arts Blog
About "The Merry Widow," 2013:
"...this was a good production with lovely music and a good balance of sound between pit and stage."
"The orchestra, with real live harp [Lynne Creasey] is conducted by Trinity regular Gerald Hindes."
Michael Gray Arts Blog
About "Hello Dolly," 2009:
"From the overture onwards, new musical director, Gerald Hindes, wielded a firm hand over his hard-working pit ensemble, with very pleasing results. His principle singers needed little more than a nod, so proficient were they, too."
About "The Sorcerer," 2008:
"This latest revival of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Sorcerer boasted excellent singing, a polished pit orchestra, beautiful costumes, an imposing set and plenty of pyrotechnics."
The Weekly News
About "Iolanthe," 2007:
"G and S was a real delight......Excellent music from the orchestra .... directed by Gerald Hindes."
The Weekly News
About "Gondoliers," 2006:
"...any band should blend seamlessly with the company and indeed it did."
About "Gondoliers"., 2006:
"There was no weak link and the orchestra was never in conflict with any of the singers, all of whom were noticeably without microphones! I make this point as it is now hardly ever the case that shows in the Civic are not sound-enhanced!"
NODA president, Eric Smart
On "Carousel" 2005:
"The orchestra under MD Gerald Hindes provided strong support, effectively underscoring many of the scenes."
On the Gondoliers:
"Gerald Hindes treats the well known score with affection."
On "Marriage of Figaro":
"Gerald Hindes musical direction was exemplary."
Braintree and Witham Times
On "Don Giovanni":
"Musically it was very accomplished. Musical director Gerald Hindes coaxed some fine sounds from his players and paced the work very imaginatively."
"...excellent forces were conducted with authority and sensitivity by Gerald Hindes"
On "Haydn's 88th symphony":
"...an extremely cohesive account."
On "Rossini's Stabat Mater":
"... came gloriously alive with both choir and orchestra responding to ...uninhibited direction."
Essex Weekly News
"Merry Widow," was awarded the NODA Eastern Area 2013 Chelmsford area Best Production Award.
"Jesus Christ Superstar" was awarded the NODA Eastern Area 2003 Best Production Award.