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

Dolly given a youthful polish

Hello, Dolly!

BMOS Youtheatre

Old Rep


THIS is the first time I have seen a youth group saying hello to Dolly – and these youngsters make a triumph of their venture under Alan Hackett's direction.

They have surely been inspired by their Dolly. I was there on the second night and Lisa Coleman never put a foot or a syllable wrong in a role that finds her delivering Dolly's diktats matter-of-factly at breakneck speed, singing with vigour and bags of oomph, and generally and rightly being in total command of any scene – and there are many – in which she is involved.

James Matteo-Salt and Lisa Coleman shone in the BMOS Youtheatre production of Hello, Dolly!

Dolly's no-nonsense personality shines forth. This is her night and the way she coaxes so much comedy out of the admittedly rich seam with which Michael Stewart script provides her is a bonus to be cherished.

But this is not by any means a one-girl show. James Reidy (Cornelius) and Scott Jennings (Barnaby) are splendid innocents about town, with James strikingly reminiscent of the young Steve Davis while he prompts Scott to successive displays of goofy excitement. Lauren Neale is a strong Mrs Molloy, Isobel Robinson a personable Minnie Fay, and Karina Holness has a whale of a time producing Ermengarde's clearly unstoppable flow of tears.  

Nathan Queeley-Dennis (Mr Kemper) and Michael Fogarty (the Judge) play smaller but pleasing roles on a night that finds James Mateo-Salt bringing a pompous and authoritative Horace Vandergelder to heel in the face of Dolly Levi's ceaseless assault on his prospects of retaining his unmarried state. This is a difficult role, placed as it is opposite such a commanding character, but it is one that he handles well.


The Beeches Cadets are impressively involved as the Yonkers Band and the chorus scores points for generally looking happy – with two of its members being particularly full of smiles.

Two others reveal themselves to be hulahooping heroes, and another two bend over backwards – literally – in furthering one of the dance routines. 

Just one point: those shop windows may not have glass but they are supposed to have, so people should not be able to put their fingers through the small panes, either from the inside or the outside – both of which I saw happen – when they hold the frames. But this does not detract from a splendid team effort, choreographed by Melanie Flint and with Chris Corcoran wielding the baton as musical director. To 22.5.10. 

John Slim


Another dolly


THIS Jerry Herman musical isn't the easiest for youngsters to perform, but the youtheatre cast whose ages range from ten to 18 rise to the challenge superbly.

None better than Lisa Coleman in the lead role of Mrs Dolly Levi, the flamboyant New York matchmaker who also dabbles in anything from teaching music to the law.

Lisa mastered all the many and varied expressions used by the elegant woman who appears to be seeking a wife for wealthy Yonkers corn and seed merchant Horace Vandergelder but really plans to secure him for herself.

Lisa sings well, too, and there is a confident performance from James Mateo-Salt as the grumpy Vandergelder and slick comedy from James Reidy and Scott Jennings, playing the merchant's employees Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker.

Lauren Neale sparkles as Mrs Irene Malloy, with good support from Isobel Robinson, her assistant Minnie Fay.

Nathan Queeley-Dennis (Ambrose Kemper), Karina Holness (Ermengarde) and Sarah Hemming (Ernestina) also make important contributions, as do the Beeches Cadets from Great Barr who appear colourfully in the Yonkers March.

Alan Hackett directs the £19,000 show, with Melanie Flint's choreography and Chris Corcoran's musical direction. Final performance is on Saturday night 22.05.10

  Paul Marston  0121 358 3624

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