Magic of the Musicals
A Celebration of Song and Dance from the Musicals
Barn Theatre, Oxted, Surrey
Thursday 17th to Saturday 19th June 1999
The Barnstormers first ever production was the musical compilation show ‘Magic of the Musicals’ written and produced by Richard Allen to help celebrate the Barn Theatre’s 75th anniversary year.
It was directed by Martin Patrick with musical direction by Michael Burbidge and choreography by Andrea Green.
We were delighted to welcome the Kenley Holiday Workshop who performed several numbers in the show.
This production raised £4,000 towards the ‘Barn 2000’ charity appeal, and proved such an artistic and financial success that Richard Allen decided to keep ‘The Barnstormers’ name and continue to stage ambitious and acclaimed productions at both the Barn Theatre, Oxted and Minack Theatre, Cornwall.
Producer: Richard Allen
Director: Martin Patrick
Musical Director: Michael Burbidge
Choreographer: Andrea Green
Choreographer's Assistant: Sarah Gillender
Stage Manager & Set Designer: Malcolm Le Croissette
Lighting Designer: Brian List
Sound Technician: Mike Sutton
Wardrobe Mistresses: Sally Dallosso & Sandi Saville
Properties Master: Eric & Elsie Hallson
Richard Allen - Samantha Beams - Moyra Brooks - James Burns - Mike Butler - David Clubb - Steve Cox - Julia Dallosso - Terry Donohue - Mark Edwards - Daphne Fairbrass - Ernie Finch - Eric Forster - Vanessa Fowler - Sarah Gillender - Claire Gimblett - Marina Grayston - Andrea Green - Desmond Groves - John Harris - Guy Hudson - Carol Isham - Katherine Jones - Sarah Jones - Lesley Kenyon - Claudette Law - Ann Lovell - Ian McKechnie - Cathy Newitt - Tonia Porter - Tracy Prizeman - Alison Redford - Joanna Richards - Joanne Saville - Teresa Skinner - Debbie Skipper - Darren Sumner - Jane Walters - Nicky Westlake - Fiona Whitehead - Bob Wilson
Kenley Holiday Workshop
John Beer - Jemma Catford - Melissa Cox - Caleb Cuddihy - Jake Cuddihy - Alice Gimblett - Sarah Gimblett - Glen Gooden - Danny Holme - Elizabeth Karani - William Karani - Stuart King - Jenna Lowy - Sian Lowy - Rebecca Reed - Alex Ryan - Elizabeth Skinner - Charlotte Suleyman - Leila Suleyman - Gemma Williams
Piano / Conductor: Michael Burbidge
Violin: Rachel Crafer
Trumpet: Graham Wright
Trombone: Matthew Allen
Reed 1: Paul Williams
Reed 2: Alan Ryder
Cello: Julian Gillett
Bass: Helen Gillett
Drums: Mark Christopher & Stuart Gain
'A Magical Night' - Graham Powell
With an ensemble of nine musicians placed within a simple, mainly black and white set, the audience awaited a night focused on impressive musical numbers. They were no disappointed.
The first themed section was full of songs centred on America, an early highlight being Alison Redford's solo 'Secret Love'. This was followed by an inspired chorus singing 'A Real Nice Clambake'. There was a sense of unity and enjoyment generated by the company, and this was very refreshing to witness.
After a rousing chorus of 'Oklahoma', led by Richard Allen, we were treated to an emotive hurly-burly of love songs. What could have been a laborious dirge of angst-ridden sagas was actually a splendid variety of songs, which explored many aspects to the theme. A particularly inspired juxtaposition was the light and delicate duet 'We Kiss in a Shadow' - beautifully sung by Terry Donohue and Julia Dallosso - and the antiphonous chorus numbers 'There's Nothing Like a Dame' and 'I'm Gonna Wash that Man', all of which began to stir the thoughtful audience inot a a more vocal appreciation of the proceedings.
This appreciation was crystallised by wonderfully controlled performances during 'Sunrise, Sunset' and 'Send in the Clowns', and Terry Donohue's tingling performance made sure there was a 'Good Thing Going' for the Barnstormers by the time the 'Tonight Sequence' burst on to stage.
The all-singing, all-dancing troupe began to show their mettle; the band was proving that whatever music was cast before them could be crafted into an ever more intricate and powerful show standard; by the time Daphne Fairbrass had finished the penultimate sond in Act One, the audience was gripped. The whole Barn began to erupt as the 'Rhythm of Life' flowed from the stage. There only remained one question: what drug was Bob Wilson Taking?
Act Two started with the talented Mr Wilson moving from drugs to photography via 'Flash, Bang, Wallop!' Various cockney numbers ensued from show like 'Me and My Girl', 'Underneath the Arches' and 'My Fair Lady'. Tracy Prizeman stirred the hearts of the audience with her performance of 'As Long As He Needs Me', and the superb Kenley Holiday Workshop sang other songs from 'Oliver', all ably choreographed by the supremely talented Andrea Green.
The Comedy section began with a somewhat less than successful performance of 'Make 'Em Laugh', but by this time, who cared?! David Clubb and Ann Lovell amused us with the charming 'It's Never Too Late', and the reverberating midriffs of the male chorus sent us into hoots of laughter during 'Honey Bun'.
The comedy section was capped off by a wonderfully choral performance of 'Master of the House'; and I have not heard such gutsy language since my father told me off for putting a football through a backdoor window in 1968!
My notetaking dwindled to nothing during the 'West End' sequence because the singing was never less than captivating. Spearheaded by the ardent Joanna Richards, we were treated to a resplendent theatrical experience of great sound, lighting and music, culminating in a fantastic tableau reminiscent of the original West End performance of 'One Day More'.
The Finale of 'The Best of Times' was greeted with enthusiastic clapping and chanting from the audience, and chanting from the audience, and long after the show had finished, people were singing and reminiscing about the show. I hope by reading this review people will hark back to what was a great night for everyone at the Barn. If I have managed to make people laugh and smile then maybe I will have captured the moment, a moment in June 1999 that could truly be called 'Magical'.