Review: Chesterfield Operatic Society dances with joy in Songs From The Shows

Jon Davies, musical director with Chesterfield Operatic Society
Jon Davies, musical director with Chesterfield Operatic Society

Songs from the shows give members of Chesterfield Operatic Society the opportunity to prove that they’re not only good at singing but they’re pretty neat on their feet too.

Their magical, musical journey through the creations of Ivor Novello and Rodgers & Hammerstein and smash-hit Broadway and West End shows sets the town’s Pomegranate Theatre stage ablaze with colourful movement.

The society’s new musical director Jonathan Davies certainly stamps his mark on a programme featuring more than 40 numbers, Imaginative arrangements of well-known songs and a couple of unfamiliar numbers entertain and educate the audience.

Keyboard accompanist Chris Milton’s arrangement of Ivor Novello creations includes the song Soldier Lad from the musical Valley of Song which was premiered only last year. Pauline Hindle performs the atmospheric solo leading to the five-strong men’s chorus singing Keep The Home Fires Burning.

Highlights in the Novello section include We’ll Gather Lilacs, beautifully sung by Sarah Morrell and Georgii Bailey, and Rose of England, confidently sung by Danny Winson in which military precision and patriotic pride are the keynotes of his performance.

Those dancing feet get moving as Alison Doram opens a short section from My Fair Lady with choreography which is full of joie de vivre and as pretty as her vocal performance of Wouldn’t It Be Loverly.

The remainder of the first half of the show takes the audience on a whistlestop ride through Rodgers & Hammerstein’s best known Broadway shows including The Sound Of Music, Oklahoma and The King and I. Soloists include the show’s choreographer Juiie Metcalfe performing I’m Gonna Wash That Man which is taken from South Pacific, society chairman Doug Melloy performing It Might As Well Be Spring from State Fair and Sue Siddall singing the uplifting anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone from Carousel.

Nine numbers from Guys and Dolls launch the second half of the show, with the best saved until last - an imaginative and lively performance of Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat.

Three numbers from Chicago are a show-stopper. Sarah Morrell puts heart and soul and bags of character into her fantastic performance of When You’re Good to Mama, Georgii Bailey and Yasmin Richardson razzle dazzle the audience with sparkling singing in All That Jazz and golden-voiced Karl Brennan makes sure that the audience kn-o-o-o-ow just how long he can hold a note in his impressive performance of Mr Cellophane.

A lovely duet of Baby Dream Your Dream by ladies in red Sarah Morrell and Julie Metcalfe is followed by an equally delightful If My Friends Could See Me Now, performed by Alison Doram who then makes a quick costume change to dance her way through I Feel Pretty.

Six of the best songs from West Side Story round off the show. Doug Melloy and Karl Brennan doubling up on vocals make Maria a particuarly enjoyable and memorable number.

Chesterfield Operaic Society will perform Songs From The Shows at the Pomegranate again tonight (Saturday, November 21) at 7.30pm.

l The society’s next full-length musical will be Jesus Christ Superstar which will be staged from April 26 to 30, 2016.

An open rehearsal will be held at the society’s base at Abercrombie Street, Chesterfield, on Monday, November 30, at 7.30pm. To register your interest, email Sally Roberts on: sally_roberts@hotmail.com