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Musical MADDSness - MADDS, Maldon

This was the first production from new society MADDS in Maldon.

Undertaking your first show is always a challenge and their first performance started a little shakily with the curtains opening and closing and a random lady running across the stage.

After this somewhat unsteady start, the first number in the show was ‘Good Morning’ from ‘Singing in the Rain’. The three performers who delivered this were Louis Bartlett, Jenson Bacon and Shanno Emerson. The main number from them was light and fresh. This went onto the title song ‘Singing in the Rain’. This number had a mixture of performers. Some really stood out while others looked more uncomfortable in the limelight.

The choreography across the evening was ambitious and many of the cast struggled with it. It is also worth mentioning that when performing on stage it is important that you stay in character until after you have gone into the wings rather than stop before you leave the stage.

Next came Jenson Bacon with ‘I Really Really Love You’ unfortunately the sound balance in Act one was poor so it was very difficult to hear any of the solo vocals but I was impressed by what we could hear from Jenson and his acting of the song had good comic timing and characterisation.

This was followed by ‘Does Your Mother Know’ from ‘Mamma Mia’, again we couldn’t really hear the vocals but they clearly enjoyed themselves with the two younger men.

'Stepping Out' allowed Aimee Hart to shine in the choreography. She is a strong dancer with a sharp style and stood out head and shoulders above everyone else on stage.

‘She used to be Mine’ from ‘Waitress’ was a nice choice for Ayla Moor from the bits we could hear, she sang this well although it would have been better if she could have avoided pacing back and forth throughout the number.

Next came Sharon Lindsell and Alicia Thimble with the ‘Stepsisters Lament’, again with the issues of poor sound balance, I couldn’t make out what either of these ladies were singing,

The SIX medley featuring Holly Hallam, Karla Marie, Grace Salfairso, Libby Johnson, Aimee Hart and Ayla Moor really started to shake things up, the six ladies had strong vocals and delivered great sass. This was one of the better sections in the evening and was followed by another strong performance of ‘I Wish I May’ from ‘Witches of Eastwick’. One of my personal favourite songs and Aimee Hart, Holly Hallam and Emma Loring sang this beautifully.

The Romeo and Juliet sonnet was delivered well and was followed by the Act One Finale from ‘& Juliet’ with ‘Larger than Life’. It was clear there were some very novice performers on stage and that’s good to know that live theatre still has an appeal but relaxing and smiling will make a better sound and allow the audience to relax and smile too. There were a few ladies who if they were enjoying it on stage needed to tell their face.

Act Two had a strong start with ‘Run Freedom Run’ from Urinetown. Callum White led the vocals on this. All his vocals throughout the evening were very strong and he has a lovely tone to his singing voice.

Shanno Emerson’s rendition of ‘Me and The Sky’ was very sweet and was followed by a mix of ‘Found’ from ‘Evan Hanson’ and ‘Tonight’ from ‘Hamilton’. There were some issues here with sightlines and masking of the vocalists but the short scene between this and ‘For Forever’ was probably the best dialogue scene of the evening. Once again Callum White impressed with his vocals in this number, he worked the audience well and was one of the performers who knows how to finish a number.

This was followed by an emotional duet danced by Aimee Hart and Louis Bartlett – this connection here was evident and because of this it was very moving. Aimee is a superb dancer with beautiful lines and great technique.

Libby Johnson’s rendition of ‘Adelaides Lament’ was a little shouty for me and lacked the light and shade to maximise the comedy of this number but her vocals are very strong and perhaps a different number which allowed her to showcase her belt and vocal power would have been better for her.

Following this the company delivered the ‘Jellicle Ball’ from ‘Cats’. This was an ambitious piece of dance and while it didn’t suit all those involved there were individuals such as Karla Marie who really stood out. Following this Carole Hart sang ‘Memory’, she delivered this with empathy and a haunting delivery.

Next came for me was the highlight of the whole evening, the entire company signed and sang ‘Keep Holding On’ This was just amazing, emotional and very poignant. Well Done to everyone on this number.

For many delivering a solo after such a beautiful piece of theatre would have been challenging but Emma Loring sang and acted ‘I’m not afraid of Anything’ with great style. She acted this well and her lovely vocals delivered a truly wonderful performance. I have seen Emma sing a few times but for me this was definitely her best performance to date.

A change of direction for the last sketch of the show with Jenson Bacon and Louis Bartlett with the ABC Sketch, this was great fun, well delivered with good diction from Jenson and nice comedy timing.

The Act Two finale was a medley of ‘Hamilton’ and ‘& Juliet’. MADDS worked hard to give us an evening of musical theatre, there were a few technical and sound issues but there were some good performances too. I’m sure many of these will be ironed out for their next performance.

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