Southern Daily Echo
by Jan Foster
In 1890s New York, Matchmaker Dolly Levi endeavours to find a partner for wealthy Yonkers merchant, Horace Vandergelder. Through twists, turns and changes of fortune for several characters, we arrive at a happy ending with Dolly herself the new partner for Horace.
Claire Parrett as the ebullient Dolly, which she acted with style and panache, led the cast. All the supporting characters excelled. As Irene Molly, Nikki Angel-Jull’s crystal clear singing had lightness, lift and power in equal measure – perfect. Special mention too for the waiters’ rendition of “Hello Dolly” and their Gallop – phew, what energy! A winning debut performance by David Simmons (Barnaby Tucker) equally engaging was Olivia Hodgson as Ermengarde. John Dempster led nine lively musicians with his usual flair.
Enhanced by lovely costuming, super sets, scenery and lighting, this production can be summed up as “Salisbury does it again”. A scintillating performance, by a talented, hardworking company with excellent support from their extremely busy technical crew and welcoming front of house team.
Alec J. Ruddick, NODA Regional Representative, S.W. Area Region 6
With music and lyrics by Jerry Harman, based on the play ‘The Matchmaker’, this tells the story of Mrs Dolly Gallagher Levi who arranges things.
The direction and choreography by Jeremy Tustin certainly made this production sparkle.
It was well cast, danced and sung, with some delightful individual performances.
In the title role of Dolly, Claire Parrett was in her element. Her fast talking patter was well delivered and her singing and dancing well executed.
Derrick Foord made an impressive Horace Vandergelder.
Christian Jull as Cornelius Hackl looked completely at ease with this part. His singing and dancing were very commendable and Dave Simmons played Barnaby Tucker with boyish enthusiasm, just right for this part. He and Cornelius made a great partnership.
Nikki Angel-Jull was a perfect Irene Molloy. Her good looks, beautiful singing and natural movements made her a star.
Nicky Burgess was a fast talking, excitable Minnie Fay and so right for this part. She executed one of my favourite musical numbers, ‘Elegance’ with Irene, Cornelius and Barnaby superbly.
All the other members of the cast also did very well.
The ‘Waiters Gallop’ was very well done and the chorus singing was of a very high standard.
The orchestra was well controlled by Musical Director John Dempster and the stage crew worked very hard and well to keep the continuity of the story.
Overall this was a very good production and most entertaining.
by Jill Harding
The social whirl of matchmaker and meddler Mrs Dolly Gallagher Levi was the setting for Salisbury Amateur Operatic Society’s spring production.
Hello Dolly! is a great choice of show, with memorable musical numbers, dazzling dance routines and plenty of good parts for the talented cast to make their own.
The story revolves around Dolly’s plot to see herself married to the self-made half-millionaire Horace Vandergelder.
Along the way, the scheming social engineering manages to find love for Vandergelder’s hapless assistants, Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker, who make a dash from small-time Yonkers to the bright lights of New York. There, they meet hat maker Irene Molloy and her wary assistant Minnie Fay.
But, while she has great success organising the love lives of others, Dolly’s own dreams will fall apart, unless she can convince Vandergelder that she should be his bride.
Claire Parrett had fast-talking Dolly’s patter just right and her charming performance kept the show moving at an impressive pace.
Although she challenging songs in the first act, her voice was better suited to the show-stoppers in act two, and the title number was a real highlight.
Derrick Foord struck a good balance between grumpiness and bemusement, as Horace Vandergelder, and Nikki Angel-Jull and Nicky Burgess showed both their acting and singing talents as Irene and Minnie.
Christian Jull and David Simmons worked well together as the double act of Cornelius and Barnaby and their slick timing gave the show momentum.
A successful production of Hello Dolly! relies on its dancers and a number of new male recruits joined the society for this show.
Their enthusiasm could not be faulted and, coupled with strong performances from the singing chorus the big-hitting musical numbers were a great success.
Although, in places, there were touches of first-night nerves and minor shakes, the enthusiasm and commitment of the cast shone through to provide a great evening of entertainment that was warmly appreciated by the audience.