10th - 15th June 2019
Join PODS for their latest show – Mel Brooks’ hilariously outrageous comedy musical about a theatre Producer who sets out to make a guaranteed flop. Complete with a squadron of pigeons cooing the German National Anthem and little old ladies dancing with their Zimmer frames, this shockingly satirical show is full of laughter, high energy production numbers and songs that will fill your head for days.
Performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Limited.
ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND AND THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
December 2nd to 7th 2019
PODS PAST PRODUCTIONS
THE PIRATES OF PENZANNCE (BROADWAY VERSION)
3rd to 8th December 2018 including a Saturday Matinee
NODA Review by Bruce Wyatt 6th December 2018
The Broadway version of this well know operetta provides an opportunity for a new comic dimension to be added to the standard format and PODS took many opportunities to explore this, with great success.
The story remains centred on a roguish Pirate King and his band of pirates and an adventurous Apprentice called Frederick, who goes in search of treasure and romance. Amongst others, he meets a bevy of beautiful girls and their befuddled Father, the Major General, falls in love with one of them and overcomes an unfortunate technicality which almost prevents their happiness.
The ‘Pirate King’ (Paul Tapley) was played with great strength in voice and presence throughout with a splash of comedic naïve devilment, most suited to his character. ‘Frederick’ his apprentice, played by Tom Wilson-Dowdeswell was equal to the task with some accomplished singing which the score frequently demands. Suzie Tapley provided an endearing characterisation of Frederick’s nursemaid ‘Ruth’ who Frederick tactfully explained may not be as beautiful as she would have him believe.
The arrival of Major General Stanley’s daughters increased the momentum and their innocent antics added to the fun, led by Loren Howland as ‘Edith’. Frederick soon meets ‘Mabel’ (Briony Stevens) and is not surprisingly swept off his feet with her good looks, matched by her beautiful singing. Their Father arrives and Tim Shackley completely rises to the occasion with his superb rendition of ‘I am the very model of a modern Major General’, complimented with relevant back projections.
Throughout, the swashbuckling pirates and chaperones sang with great energy and the unaccompanied piece ‘Hail Poetry’ was a magnificent ‘goose bump’ moment in Act 1. In Act 2, the tempo rarely dropped and further comedy was added by the Policemen led with great physicality by the ‘Sergeant of Police’ Sean Phillips. Other good support was provided by Peter Spence (‘Samuel’), Lindsey Kirby (‘Kate’), Issy Jones (‘Isabel’) and Rob Watts and his aerial silks. The choreography was stylish and well executed on an impressive well -lit set and the costumes were stunning.
The orchestra and sound can ‘make or break’ a show, and in this instance it was clearly the former. Andrew Hemming with the baton led his own tight ship, reducing the volume as required, in support of the performers. The Director Judy Megarry and the production team should be very pleased with the overall result.
Director: Judy Megarry
Musical Director: Andrew Hemming
THE BEST OF WESTEND AND BROADWAY
11th to 16th June 2018 at Number 8 Community Arts Centre
NODA Review by Andy Brown for Bruce Wyatt December 15th June 2018
The show was billed as ‘The Best of West End and Broadway’. This was indeed what we saw and more, bringing the songs from these iconic theatrical locations to the historic town of Pershore in Worcestershire.
The show itself consisted of music and dance from 33 musicals! Some titles more well-known than others however, it was likely the audience would at least have known the music selected if not the title of the show. The cast of 45 members and superb orchestra took us on an amazing evening of entertainment with no less than 650 costumes and stunning lighting.
With all these ingredients it was little wonder Pershore Operatic and Dramatic Society played to a sell out audience and a highly appreciative one at that.
With so many cast members, many of whom took part in numerous numbers, it is impossible to name everyone. Even if looking for the outstanding musical numbers it would still be a tall order as they simply came one after another and the quality of this show came out time and time again.
The show opened with an ‘overture’ involving the whole company and a medley from three musicals. It was slick and promised the quality of performance about to come. This was followed by ‘One Night Only’ from Dreamgirls sung by Tessa Sheehy and ‘Tell Me It’s Not True’ from Blood Brothers lead by Lindsey Kirby. Both very well done. Shortly afterwards we heard, ‘Somebody to Love’ from We Will Rock You sung by Loren Howland and, ‘How Flying Adored’ from Evita sung by David Hemming again both very well done.
The absolute highlights were the ‘Phantom Medley’ especially from Suzie Tapley and Briony Stevens supported well by Paul Tapley and Peter Spence. Les Misérables involving the whole company was well staged and of a particularly high quality vocally, visually and from the musicians.
Mention must also be made of ‘Pure Imagination’ from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Steve Miller, ‘The Impossible Dream’ from Man of La Mancha by Paul Tapley. Finally, ‘Bui Doi’ from Miss Saigon and ‘Tonight’ from Westside Story. All these were outstanding. The staging of ‘When I Grow Up’ from Matilda made the most of the fun this provides for adults dressed as school children.
The director was fortunate to have a team of choreographers at her disposal. They provided some good use of the stage and ensured within the company numbers they made the most of the stronger dancers such as ‘42nd Street’. We saw two ‘dance only’ routines – ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ from The Wizard of Oz and, ‘Wait for It’ from Hamilton.
The set for the show was simple. Either a bare stage or use of some rostra. The lighting was extremely effective. The use of LED lighting including moving heads was well throughout creating the right atmosphere for each of the different numbers. The costumes were good and stunning in visual effect for their characterisation and representation of the pieces such as many already named plus others including Children of Eden, Wicked, Godspell, Sweet Charity and The Jersey Boys.
The ten musicians were under the leadership of musical director Andrew Hemming. The music was wonderfully played especially during both Phantom and the opening to Les Misérables. The orchestra arrangements were incredible.
Congratulations to Judy Megarry and her entire production team. It was evident this show was well rehearsed and well put together with numbers following each other in a constructed way. The energy throughout was amazing. Thank you also to Jim Hutcheon in his role of President of the society and all the front of house team for making us so welcome.
I most certainly look forward to seeing forthcoming production performed by this creative and talented society including ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ in December 2018.
Director: Judy Megarry
Musical Director: Andrew Hemming
Producer: Stuart Megarry and Ellen Honeybunn
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK
4th to 9th December 2017 at Number 8 Community Arts Centre
NODA Review By Bruce Wyatt December 5th 2017
This version opened and closed in the local setting of Pershore Town Square and in between incorporated several local references which added effectively to the storyline. As Giant Blunderbore seeks to increase taxes, rents have to rise and Dame Trott and her family are the first to be affected. The King’s daughter Jill is captured and offers Jack a rent-free life for her rescue from Cloudland, the home of the Giant.
PODS’ ‘Jack’ was well played by Oliver Roberts, bringing a smile that would charm any King’s daughter and his musical numbers including ‘Wrapped up’ with ‘Jill’, ‘Corner of the Sky’ and particularly ‘Right here waiting’ were sang with power and feeling. ‘Princess Jill’ played by Louise Bent sang and moved well whilst adding that all-important splash of sweetness and colour.
Jack’s brother, ‘Simple Simon’ played by Matt Owen was a delightful foil adding his own simple humor with fun, whilst ‘Dame Trott’ played by Rob Brown performed with great style and energy, delivering his dialogue at pace, which kept the action moving. David Hemming as the ‘King of Pershore’ added his own brand of bumbling humour to great effect.
No panto would be complete without a ‘Fairy Cupcake’ who was played with great sweetness by Susan Perry, in opposition of course to the devilish ‘Desdemona’ played by Rachel Kent, who sang ‘I’m only human’ well. Forced to sell ‘Daisy the Cow’ (Amberley Connor and Julie Smout) in exchange for ‘Fairy Cupcake’s’ magic beans, from which a beanstalk to Cloudland grows where the Princess is being held, Jack finally outwits ‘Desdemona and the ‘Giant’ (resonant tones provided by James Megarry).
Throughout, the chorus and dancers worked well, backed by a well-controlled orchestra under the tight direction of Andrew Hemming with ‘The Climb’ which closed Act 1 being a particular highlight. The set was well used, the sound was well balanced and the lighting was very effective in supporting the director (Paul Turvey) and producer (Lindsey Kirby), all enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience.
Director: Paul Turvey
Musical Director: Andrew Hemming
Producer: Lindsey Kirby
Shows prior to 2003
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