42nd Street – CYGAMS, Civic Theatre, Chelmsford.
What an exuberant and energetic performance we saw tonight at the opening night of Chelmsford Young Generations production of 42nd Street. From the moment the curtain rose to the familiar sight of tap dancing feet the show never stopped its surge of energy from the talented young cast before us.
With a cast which was evidently of all ages, from some quite young looking young members to those who clearly had lots of experience and stagecraft, in particular, the opening number shone with a young and very talented young man, Noah Miller playing the part of Andy Lee. It was a joy to watch such a fantastic dancer play this role.
Millie Parsons as Maggie Jones shone like a star every time she stepped onto the stage, her comic timing and ability to play right into the hands of the audience was a masterclass and she was cleverly paired against Aleks Gulliver as Bert Barry who also found a great characterisation making them such fun to watch.
Personally, I am a stickler for detail and tonight there were some splendid examples of that, Matt Hedges as Oscar who actually looked like he was playing the piano and playing the music coming from the band, the boys Patent leather shoes and all the Girls in dames with matching silver shoes, these little attention to details were just a few of the finishing touches.
Finley Walton as Julian Marsh had every ounce of confidence required and skilfully managed the cast around him while Georgia Clements as Peggy Sawyer was exactly everything the character should be, not only was she clearly the best dancer in the line; her foot placement and body lines were exceptional but she had the right measure of naiveté, charm and talent for this part in abundance. As well as great presence of thought - holding her skirt in to the opening of ‘We’re in the Money’, she never showed on her face what was obviously going on inside her head and she still managed to perform exceptionally. In fact it didn’t faze her at all. Charlie Toland as Billy Lawler was charming and led some great numbers throughout the show.
Livi Khattar as Dorothy Brock had all the venom, the cutting remarks, and the poise of a Broadway Star as well as outstanding vocals and there were also some lovely cameo roles from Matt Wickham as Texan, Abner Dylan, Kat Moahs as Anytime Annie and Finley Gooch as Mac.
All in all this was a high octane show however, I have to mention that I personally find it a little uncomfortable seeing such young girls dressed up as adults with such big wigs on but we must remember this is a youth production and therefore all ages with in its range should be represented.
The Tap Numbers were by far the strongest numbers in the show and I liked seeing so many young boys tap dancing in the company and to a good standard too.
The costumes were beautiful and as I previously mentioned the attention to detail was spot on but a few more hat pins would not have gone amiss. The dialogue and diction in general the clear although on occasions difficult to hear over a rather loud orchestra.
Other than a few opening-night technical issues the show we had a good pace with swift scene changes and the stage crew should be commended for dealing with such large pieces so easily.
This was a great night of musical theatre presented extremely well and if you can manage to get any of the last remaining tickets I strongly urge you to do so!