2008 to 2005 Reviews
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Director: Kevin Shippey
Musical Director: Gabriel Fitzsimmons.
Choreographer: Cynthia Maxey
Date: December 2008
For this production, the audience was treated to an impressive Light and Sound overture as the techies made full artistic use of the theatre’s technology. Not a chance of missing the contribution backstage teams made to this production! Same too may be said of costumes, all bright and colourful, a sentiment which best sums up this festive offering from RATz.
Played out on an open stage the cast brought to life this Peter Denyer script very well, taking every opportunity to exploit the comedy. Pace and projection on the whole was very good, especially with the big production numbers where the chorus was given full rein with the choreography. The best example of this being the Eat It number – creative choreography superbly performed in “Oliver” style costumes. Daniel Brittin (Count) did a good job in the role of bully frequently coming up against one-line put downs from Cynthia Maxey (Countess) or Laura-Jayne Shippey (Beauty). Emlyn Moment (Dame) was on form with this piece ably supported by Matthew Beare (Loopy Louis) a comic talent of great potential. Robert Williams (Beast) gave another creditable performance, as did Karl Brittin and Bob Kynnersley.
As for the youngsters in the audience, they loved it.
(Regional Representative NODA Eastern Region Area 4 North)
Director: Kevin Shippey
Musical Director: Mark A J Checkley
Choreographer: Cyn Maxey
Date: October 2008
First, a mention for Wardrobe – cosmic, secondly the amusing way in which “The Management” delivered pre-show announcements. Related in flash-back style we start and end at a wedding reception via a catalogue of 1970’s pop standards and a surprising twist in the tail at the dénouement. With a live band on stage providing excellent toe-tapping support to events, it was difficult at times to hear all the singing, but that said, this was another high energy production from RATz.
Delivered with good pace, energetic dancing and outlandish costumes; it set the right tone for the decade. Kevin Shippey (Roddy) was in his element as a “Peter Pan” narrator to events, effortlessly slipping in and out of the action to deliver the story.
Performances from all cast members, in particular Emma Small (Debbs) were very good, providing a wealth of characters for the audience to love (or loath).
There was much to enjoy about this production, the cast exploited the comedy to good effect (including the unintended) and tackled the Disco numbers with great gusto. Mixed up in all this good humour were several poignant moments of heartache and loss, of love and tender support, retaliation, revenge and good old friendship.
(Regional Representative NODA Eastern Region - Area 4 North)
30th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS
Producers: Kevin Shippey & Laura-Jayne Shippey
Date: September 2008
Take one small dream, one small theatre and one small but talented cast, throw a party and you have, in a nutshell, The Angles Theatre 30th celebrations.
Apart from the delights of this production, it was a pleasure to be a member of the Gala performance black-tie audience, a throw back to the time when people dressed for the theatre. (Not that I remember this firsthand, I have seen it in old movies.) In a sparkling production a cast of 15 (including four founder members) treated the audience to a mix of music and theatrical memoirs. Theatres: parts one and two by the founder members had the audience in stitches of laughter as did the anecdotes and poems from Michael Burrell.
The quality of the singing, particularly the harmony of the production numbers, was very good especially considering there was no musical director as such. Highlights for me were: All for the best; Seventeen; Maybe this time; Gus the theatre cat; and The song that goes like this. This was a memorable way to celebrate 30th years of success and hard work and to look to the future with a tempting taster of next year’s proposed production ‘Into the Woods’.
(District Representative NODA Eastern Region - District 4 North)
WIZARD OF OZ
Director: Emlyn Moment
Musical Director: Gabriel Fitzsimmons
Date: April 2008
Wizard of Oz proves to be an enjoyable romp - triumph for RATz
Supporters of Wisbech's Angles Theatre are avidly travelling along the Yellow Brick Road, following Dorothy and her motley companions in their quest to find the Wizard of Oz.
I would be giving the game away if I divulged the outcome of their endeavours, but the RATZ Youth Musical production makes the eventful journey exceedingly enjoyable. And, with such an abundance of young talent, the future of theatre in Fenland seems very secure.
Directed by Emlyn Moment, with Musical Direction by Gabriel Fitzsimmons, and choreography by Laura-Jayne Shippey, every aspect of the production is a sheer delight.
The settings are sturdy and colourful, and the numerous costumes assiduously created. The American accents are exemplary and the energetic, well co-ordinated choreography full of verve.
It is a shame that the cast needs to use mouth amplifiers, particularly as the beautifully balanced trip of musicians are unobtrusive. A special word of praise must be given to Kerry Ketteringham for her skills as a make-up artist, dealing with such a large cast.
All the principals show exceptional ability for their young years. Matt Beare uses his arms expressively as Scarecrow, whereas Jack Hurst's convincing gain resembles my arthritic lets, as the stiff, heartless Tinman. Josh Shippey has never been better as cowardly Lion, and Natalia Moment makes a vivacious Good Witch.
Jess Bates manifests a lovely singing voice as the Guard of the Gates and Vicky Turner is very sinister as the Wicked Witch. Diminutive Danae Larham shows good stage presence as the Wizard.
But, star of the show, giving a lively and expressive performance as Dorothy, is Chandre Roman.
Director: Emlyn Moment
Date: Dec 2007
The Space Odyssey 2001 overture swept us on a magic carpet of sound far from the Fens to imperial China, where the lively marketplace population was already Dancing in the Streets.
A splendid opening chorus – principals in colourful court costumes, lively dancers swirling and winding through them all, a glittering authentic Chinese dragon, jewelled head aloft.
We were soon back to basics with outrageous Widow Twanky. Kevin Shippey was in mischievous form, pouncing on adults, using his local knowledge to the full – corny jokes and all.
Young link-man Robert Williams’ Wishy Washy gained momentum and “got by with a little help from his friends”, in duet with Vicky Turner playing handmaiden Ting Ming, this amateur company certainly fosters young talent.
Boos came thick and fast at scary Karl Brittin playing fire-throwing Wizard Abanaza. Son Liam showed excellent timing as his cheeky henchman Won Tun.
Unique in the area so far this season is a feisty thigh-slapping principal boy Laura-Jayne Shippey and with haughty Princess Jasmini (Jess Bates) were both in fine voice. The strong vocals from every one of the principals in this show did not warrant the high sound levels, often near toleration limit.
Clever lighting evoked Aladdin’s cave, with skeletons in a UV ballet sequence before Genie of the Ring, pert Lisa-Marie Williams sent Aladdin flying high on her magic carpet on Phil Griggs’ excellent stage set.
After many adventures during this three-hour production, including a charming ballet duet by Brandon Loveless and Elly Page, the magic lamp was finally retrieved. Aladdin triumphed, and even Hannah Boasts’ acidic Empress, Ruler of the Mighty Ruler, relented before the colourful finale of this Chinese feast of high-decibel fun.
Peterborough Evening Telegraph
LES MISÉRABLES SCHOOL EDITION
Director: Emlyn Moment
Musical Director: Sarah Edwards
Date: April 2006
STUDENTS RISE TO MUSICAL CHALLENGE
Students tackled one of the most demanding musicals and captivated their audience with an impressive performance that belied their age and experience. Even though it was the schools edition of the record-breaking show, dozens of youngsters from Wisbech schools and the Isle College proved they were more than a match for the challenge. They displayed maturity in their acting and vitality in their singing to capture all the emotion of the story under the guiding hand of Emlyn Moment whose direction was the key to the show's success.
he ensured a slick production that maintained its momentum throughout and created impressive effects - particular of the barricades - in the theatre's confined space.
Sarah Edwards' musical direction added to the atmosphere.
All the cast displayed great confidence, with outstanding performances from Simon Smith (Valjean), Robert Williams (Marius) and Ashley Elsey (Enjolras) with strong support from Emma Small (Cosette), Natalie Stafford (Eponine) and Daz Mongston (Javert).
They all kept up the quality of the performance to the tear-jerking finale
LES MISÉRABLES SCHOOL EDITION
Considering the extensive publicity given to the RATz School Edition of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, I wondered if the end product might constitute and anti-climax.
I needn't have worried. This musical adaptation, being performed by nine to nineteen year olds at Wisbech's Angles Theatre, is a humdinger of a production.
Directed by Emlyn Moment, with musical direction by Sarah Edwards, this beautifully orchestrated piece of theatre incorporates an effective and realistic rustic setting, in vogue costumes, spectacular sound and lighting effects and a quintet which gives superb accompaniment.
It seems that Fenland has a bottomless reservoir of young talent, which is reflected in the attraction of full houses to this popular musical. There were many exceptional vocal performances. Foremost are the sonorous tones of Simon Smith as Valjean. He improves with every performance.
Others who excel include Daz Mongston as Javert, Laura-Jayne Shippey who brings poignancy to the role of Fantine and Emma Nuccoll, whose singing of Castle on a Cloud is a delight.
Terri Harris brings a big voice and a "big character" to Madame Thenardier, whereas Natalie Stafford as Eponine and Emma Small as Cosette show deep purple tonality. And both Ashley Elsey and Robert Williams sing with some style.
Also outstanding is the lively performance of nine year old Christopher Moment as Gavroche.
Eastern Daily Press
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM
Date: 4 Nov 2005
Sauciness and sexiness on stage
If a saucy, sexy scenario is to your theatrical taste, then wend your way to Wisbech’s Angles Theatre for its in-house production of A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To The Forum. Based on the dialogue and plots by Roman playwright Plautus, this Stephen Sondheim musical, redolent of the hit TV series Up Pompeii, is a right randy riot.
Nevertheless, this RATz production, directed by Kevin Shippey, with choreography by Cynthia Maxey and musical direction by Sarah Edwards, has much artistic merit. The action moves along like a well-oiled chariot and the comedy, though not hilarious, makes for an entertaining ‘chuckler’. The trompe l’oeil, split level set is well designed and the colourful costumes are very eye-catching. The choreography is delightfully co-ordinated and aesthetic and the choral singing is projected with gusto.
The musical ensemble is unobtrusive and well-synchronised. Kevin Shippey gives an energetic, but larynx straining, performance (with shades of Frankie Howard) as Pseudolus and Emlyn Moment’s brisk movement and superb timing as Hysterium is full of merit. Andy Maxey’s cameo role as Senex is a joy, as is Michele Larkin as his wife Domina. Paul Mayer enjoys playing the bumbling pimp Lycus. And, the glamorous courtesans, Laura-Jayne Shippey, Cynthia Maxey, Stef Roe, Rachel Shepherd, Rebecca Key, Samantha Rose and Nicola Key bring an erotic flavour to the proceedings.
Best performance, however, and most toneful and tuneful singing, comes from Ashley Elsey as Hero.