Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

A night full of promise

Oh What a Night

The Arcadians

The Crescent Theatre


IT is a pity that this songs from the shows programme was only on for a day, two performances, but just one day - which hardly seems just reward or return for the cast and producers for what was obviously lot of hard work and effort.

And what a cast. There are 32 listed in the programme plus another 19 from the junior section, the L'Arcs, who range in age from six to 16 with the oldest member of The Arcadians on show a mere 76; and director/choreographer Viv Morrison managed to get them all on stage at numerous times duirng the evening without it looking like the first day of the sales at Rackham's.

Viv, and the cast, also managed to make the show interesting which might be thought to be a prerequisite of any show, but it is no mean feat with no props or scenery to fall back on.

The number of soloists was impressive and, although it was not difficult to pick out the more accomplished singers and performers, the rest all played their part. The odd note might not have been in quite the same key as the excellent four piece band  under musical director Lauren Coles, but it was all done with such charm and enthusiasm that no one could really complain.

Everyone was given a chance to shine  and, let's be honest, that is what an amateur musical theatre company should all be about, particularly on a concert night.

They opened, as did the society 40 years ago, with Finian's Rainbow – not a favourite show of mine but Elaine Struthers gave that section a lift with Glocca Morra.


That was followed by the L'Arcs appearing with four songs from Chicago, which seemed a strange choice for a junior section, a musical about sex scandals, loose living and fun-loving murders, but the kids coped well particularly Georgina Burgess with Funny Honey, Dylan Hartnell with Razzle Dazzle and Connor Parker who produced an excellent Mr Cellophane – if anyone noticed him, that is . . .

One little lad was the real star though. He must have been one of the smallest and youngest members but his levels of concentration were superhuman as he worked desperately hard to follow the rest in every routine and, when a bit he know and obviously liked was about to arrive, stopped and braced himself with furrows of concentration and then threw himself into it with unbridled delight. He is a star of the future.

Singin' In The Rain brought one of the show highlights with Moses Supposes as three of the leading men, Richard Ainslie, John Morrison and Kris Evans not only showedfine singing voices but a fine line in tap dancing – something we had already seen with Good Morning and Rob Houghton, Michelle Burgess and Bronwen Collins-Jones and in the rainless finale.

Tap was a dying talent but seems to be making a welcome comeback and Evans, in particular, seems to be a skilled exponent of the art.

We Will Rock You opened with some of the younger members, Sarah Evans, Michelle Burgess, Natalie Cooper, Alice Dent and Laura Peters,  putting some real rock 'n roll wellie into Somebody to Love and the set all ending with everyone on stage for the first half finale, We Will Rock You.


Claire Best gave a solid performance of No-one but You (Only the Good Die Young), written and recorded by Brian May and the survivors of Queen  after the death of Freddie Mercury.

The musical was a favourite of Arcadians member  Hilary Wade, who died suddenly  recently and the show, and particularly that section, was dedicated to her memory.

The second half brought us the Jersey Boys, and Wicked along with a Disney selection and finally a little preview of The Arcadians' next show, The Wizard of Oz, at The Crescent in October with We're Off to See the Wizard.

There were impressive performances from Gabby Thompson in I'm Not That Girl and Lucy Evans in Defying Gravity while Claire Best and Sonya Williams combined well with Beauty and the Beast and Helen Rourke, who is blind,  showed what a fine voice she has in Feed the Birds.

 Laura Peters, Elaine Struthers and Gabby Thompson gave us a lively Be Our Guest with Michelle Burgess, Alison Cooper and Alice Dent weighing in with Belle.

The numbers and quality of members on display, and particularly the youngsters who have joined a musical theatre company, show that The Arcadians are in a healthy state with a promising future.

Confirmation came in the form of a near full Crescent, plenty of cheers and an entertaining evening. 31-03-12

Roger Clarke

Home Reviews A-Z Reviews by affiliate