Friday, 28 April 2017

Anything Goes | Willenhall Musical Theatre Company

Anything Goes is one of those shows that I know almost all the music from but have never seen all the way through. Well, this changed on Wednesday night when I visited Willenhall Musical Theatre Company's production. I don't think I've ever seen one of their large productions before (although I've seen a couple of their variety concerts and enjoyed those) so I didn't know what to expect  but I left the theatre with such a huge smile on my face. It's easily up there as one of the best amateur productions I've seen in the Midlands area.

From the opening, Rachel Coleman as Reno Sweeney was a pleasure to watch. She had an enchanting charismatic charm - and what a voice! Her vocals really impressed me throughout, especially in the title number where she held her own even among the ensemble voices. Coleman also had great chemistry with all her scene partners and I just thought she suited the role wonderfully. Her duet of 'You're The Top' with Will Phipps, who played Billy Crocker, was a highlight for me. Phipps was very likeable as Billy and again, had a lovely voice which he first really showed off when singing 'Easy to Love' in Act 1. Daniel Haddon as Lord Eyelyn really grew on me as the show went on and his rendition of 'The Gypsy in Me' in Act 2 had the audience howling with laughter. I also really enjoyed the performances by Dom Napier as Moonface Martin and Megan Rai as Erma Latour - both were very funny.

The production as a whole was visually very impressive. The set had stairs and a balcony as part of the ship which added some height and interest and gave the cast opportunity to spread out during the big chorus numbers. The choreography, by Lindsey Grant, was really impressive with 'Anything Goes' and 'Blow Gabriel Blow' being some of my favourite parts of the show. The only downside for me was there were a few sound issues - at times the mics sounded a bit tinny and occasionally I struggled to hear the dialogue over the orchestra but this is often the case with amateur productions and it didn't mar my enjoyment of the show overall. I think everyone involved should be very pleased with the standard of production they've produced.

There are three more performances of Anything Goes at the Dormston Mill Theatre this week (Friday evening, Saturday matinee and evening) and I'd really recommend grabbing a ticket if you can. Be sure to check out the Willenhall Musical Theatre Company website for tickets and more details!

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