Salisbury Journal ReviewKatharine Lawley
Challenge Pays Off As Cast Show Star Quality..
To paraphrase theatre impresario Julian Marsh, Katy Sibbald and Matt Sparkes, playing Peggy Sawyer and Billy Lawlor, “went out there youngsters, but came back stars”.
Katy – in her first principal role – and Matt sang and danced for all they were worth and considering they could not tap dance at the start of the summer, put in stellar performances.
My colleague and I were very critical of the May production of The Full Monty, saying it was a step too far for the society. But while 42nd Street presented a huge challenge, both physically and vocally, the entire cast met it head on.
The choreography by director Barry McIlroy and his assistant Kim Yew Wong was quite simply superb.
There were some great moments: the sleeping car full of ladies in Shuffle off to Buffalo, the Lullaby of Broadway sung against a magnificent railway station backdrop and the 42nd Street Ballet. The costumes looked wonderful in Getting Out of Town.
Act 1 started a little hesitantly with a few crackling mics and David Coxon as Julian Marsh speaking rather too quickly. But in Act 2 he visibly relaxed and his final scene was excellent.
In other roles, David Booth, Helen Lovett-Turner and Martyn Davies were convincing as sugar daddy Abner Dillon, diva Dorothy Brock and dance supremo Andy Lee.
As always the band, under the baton of John Dempster, was brilliant, the brass section and percussion clearly enjoying themselves in Dames and We’re In the Money.
Great singing, great hoofing, great diction and great costumes – welcome back SAOS.
Southern Daily Echo ReviewAlan Johns
This popular musical sizzled from the opening tap-dancing number through to the well-deserved rapturous applause that the large opening-night audience gave the finale.
Katy Sibbald was outstanding as Peggy Sawyer as she danced and sand everyone else off the stage in her first leading role with the company. She was well-supported by Helen Lovett-Turner, expertly swapping her usual role of stage manager for leading lady Dororthy Brock and David Coxon, a strong and charismatic Julian Marsh. Rebecca Martin sang particularly well as Maggie Jones as did young lead Matt Sparkes (Billy Lawlor).
Costumes were appropriate and the backdrops changed the scenes well, with the station scene being particularly effective. The whole show was very professionally performed, although the scene-shifting was clumsy at times. Choreography by director Barry E McIlroy was spot on, this being the main area where the show can rise or fall. It rose!
NODA reviewPeter Wheeldon
It was my first experience of this society as they delivered a spirited, first-night performance of the familiar musical to an appreciative near-full house at the capacious City Hall. After a tentative start, punctuated with the occasional continuity glitch, the pace picked up progressively, and the action developed an impressive momentum that went particularly well in the second half after the interval – for me the Lullaby of Broadway routine was best-in-show. A competent cast was well and truly led by the authority and experience of David Coxon playing Julian Marsh, while in contrast, the freshness and youthful enthusiasm of Katy Sibbald as Peggy and Matt Sparkes as Billy shone through. Helen Lovett-Turner, hitherto behind scenes as stage manager, showed versatility with a creditable performance as Dorothy. In the knowledge that tap dance is an important feature of this show, the cast had worked hard on their technique to produce some highly accomplished routines. Clearly there had been much done backstage to prepare the colourful settings and costumes that, together with the efforts of John Dempster’s musicians, made major contributions to this production. It was another confident notch in the directorial belt of Barry McIlroy for Salisbury AOS.