26th May – 2nd June 2018
Photographs from the show by Alan Martin – see more by clicking here…
NODA – Patricia Connor, Region 6 Representative
Oklahoma was the first musical from that well known partnership of Composer Richard Rodgers and Librettist Oscar Hammerstein II and is based on Lynn Riggs 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. The show opened on Broadway in 1943 and was a big box office hit which is still enjoyed by audiences today. Set in the Oklahoma Territory in 1906, it tells the story of Laurey Williams who lives on a farm and has two rival suitors, cowboy Curly McLain and the sinister farmhand Jud Fry, there is also a secondary romance between cowboy Will Parker and the flirtatious, Ado Annie.
This excellent production from BOS Musical Theatre Company was brought to life on the stage by the very experienced production team of Director Liz Clarke, Musical Director Charles Moss and Choreographer Mary Forbs who had at their disposal some very talented cast members, who worked together and produced some wonderful entertaining characters for our enjoyment. They included Sophie McGuinness who really suited the part of Laurey, she acted well and sung beautifully, and was complemented by a very strong performance by Leslie Langley, as an excellent Curly, they both acted and sang together delightfully. Erin Bretherton was suitably ditsy as Ado Annie Carnes and gave a very enjoyable, all round performance in this entertaining role. Craig Billington was energetic as Will Parker singing and dancing very well with lots of enthusiasm, partnering Erin nicely, while Carl Sedman as wheeler dealer peddler, Ali Hakim had a good accent and great comic timing which gave his performance of this character that something extra. Nick Lloyd was suitably grim and seedy as as Laurey’s other suitor Jud Fry, Nick seamed to understand his characters inner demons very well which gave that added depth to his performance. Anne Powell gave us a very good likeable characterisation as Aunt Eller, and she also had good comic timing. Other good characterisations came from Phil Power as Andrew Carnes and Emily Caswell as Gertie Cummings who both appeared comfortable in their roles. There was also a lovely dance performance by Principal Ballerina Zoe Findlay who along with the other dancers performed expertly in the entertaining very well choreographed Dream Ballet.Generally American accents were more than satisfactory and with good clarity of words the plot could be followed easily. The chorus sang with gusto and performed Mary Forbes lively well thought out choreography excellently with lots enthusiasm, supporting the principle cast well. The orchestra led by Musical Director Charles Moss made a good sound playing the well known music expertly while supporting the company during the performance. Costumes were colourful, and just right for the era enhancing the production. Scenery was minimalistic, on close inspection buildings were represented by their skeletons which was very effective, precipitating smooth transitions between scenes which meant the pace of the show was just right. Sound and lighting was good and effective so well done to all the backstage stage and Technical Crew.
Congratulations to Director Liz Clarke for an outstanding show and thank you for an enjoyable evening and for making us welcome
Champion News – Ron Ellis
THREE quarters of a century since it was first performed, Oklahoma still retains a sentimental hold on theatregoers as the first of the Golden Age of Musicals, despite the rise of more recent box-office hits like Chicago and Les Misérables.
What was notable about this production was the youthful age of the cast which made for a faster and more vibrant performance compared with the pedestrian pace of the old 50s shows, the era when Oklahoma reached its peak after the release of the 1955 film. But in those days, fewer youngsters trod the amateur boards.
Leslie Longley shone as Curly who falls in love with the wistful Laurey (Sophie McGuinness) while Nick Lloyd gave a surprisingly brutal performance as his rival in love, the aggressive hired hand, Jud.
Erin Bretherton played the seductive Ado Annie, playing off her two suitors, boyfriend Will (Craig Billington) and the smooth-talking pedlar, Ali Hakim (Carl Sedman) against one another, Ali ending up with wild Gertie (Emily Caswell).
Anne Powell made a perfect Aunt Eller, Laurey’s aunt, and an avuncular Phil Power played Judge Andrew Carnes, Ado Annie’s father.
A simple set consisting of wooden shacks and a handcart emphasised the early 1900’s cowboy-country atmosphere which served to put the emphasis on what were the star features of this show, namely the action, the music, the costumes and the dancing.
The 10-piece orchestra, under the expert direction of Charles Moss, gave an lively rendition of the score while the young vocalists showed a remarkable degree of confidence and stage presence.
The costumes were a blaze of colour and the dancing, choreographed by Mary Forbes, was exhilarating.
Yes, these shows are dated now and cannot compete with the modern technology and stage effects that grace Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon.
However, they are infinitely preferable to the even more modern trend of adding music on to films like Legally Blonde, The Addams Family and Liver Birds Flying Home, which rely on their past reputation to sell seats, yet with not one memorable song between them.
Seventy five years on and people still remember Oh What a Beautiful Morning, People Will Say We’re in Love and…. Oklahoma.
Star rating 7 out of 10. A trip down memory lane.
Oklahoma is being presented until this Saturday.