Saturday, January 28

A Night at the Musicals – Buxton Opera House

The stunning Buxton Opera House hosted ‘A night at The Musicals’, an Icy Shark production with an array of well-known scores from some of the world’s most popular musicals. Directed by Chris Ellis and Des McGill and produced by Dennis Kay this is a must for any lover of musical theatre.

Including music from Moulin Rouge, Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables and Jesus Christ Superstar, and accompanied on stage by keyboards, drums and percussion and guitar, this non-profit making company had put on quite a show, considering that their first rehearsal was only in September 2021 following many delays related to Covid 19 prior to this.

Before discussing the entire performance, it would be remiss not to mention the one major issue with the entire production and it was sadly the poor quality of the sound. Buxton Opera House is a stunning yet unforgiving theatre as audiences are closer to the stage here than in many other theatres. From the beginning and unfortunately for most of the production, with slightly more before the interval, the sound was sadly distorted at volume and there was little consistency. Occasionally performers were singing before the microphone seemed to ‘kick in’ and presumably, they were unaware of this. Even sitting at the front of the theatre it was hard to hear some of their phenomenal voices at times. The cause of this technical issue was unclear, but microphone headsets did not seem up to the job in hand. Possibly with some realisation of this and when certain singers changed to using hand help microphones the quality of sound improved massively however it continued to be an issue up to the final number unfortunately.

However, there was still a great deal to applaud in this production. The younger members of the production should be acknowledged and Estella Paynes performance of Les Misérables ‘Castle on a Cloud’ was performed with the delicacy and emotional content required for this well-known piece. Natalie Fooks performance of ‘Defying Gravity’ from Wicked certainly hit all the high notes and she displayed much confidence as a solo singer in this. With the addition of the fantastic Olive Heathcote when performing ‘A Million Dreams’ it was clear that the audience were impressed, and that the youngest members of the cast would surely have a very bright future ahead of them.

Jenny Williams performance of ‘I Will Always Love You’ from The Bodyguard was excellent. Williams impressed with an abundance of stage presence and a huge vocal range in her performance.

Tim Robinsons performance of ‘Bui Doi’ from Miss Saigon was faultless. As a solo artist performing previous roles such as ‘Marius’ in Les Misérables it is easy to understand why he would be a first choice in such parts, with his outstanding vocals.

Icy Shark Productions are a non-profit making company. They want to nurture and create opportunities for talented performers to be able to showcase their talent. Having only first rehearsed in September 2021 it is impressive what they have achieved. Despite technical challenges Icy Shark must be applauded for showcasing some phenomenal talent, many of whom are certainly on a journey to even greater things. The talent on stage is not to be questioned and if you would like to see some of the most popular scores from musical theatre performed in one night then this production is for you. A must for all lovers of musicals.

‘A Night at The Musicals’ is touring until October 2023. Their next performance is at Blackburn Empire on 17th September. Tickets available via their box office Monday-Friday 10am-12 noon or emailing boxoffice@blackburnempire.com or visit http://www.icysharkproductions.co.uk/ for further tour dates.

Reviewer: Angela Kelly

Reviewed: 3rd September 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★

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