Association of Community Theatre
Show Reviews 2017
IN THE HEIGHTS
Mossley A.O. & D.S.
Director: Samuel Maurice
Musical Director: John G Barry
Choreographers: Simon Fitzpatrick & Gary Jones Mc-Caw
Musical theatre audience cannot wait for opening of “Hamilton” the niche musical from Lin-Manuel Miranda. His earlier Broadway success was “In the Heights”. Helping to pave the wayfor both In the Heights and Hamilton, was “Rent” which was set in the Lower East Side of New York City. The location for this musical moves to the Washington Heights area. Miranda’s own Latino community is colourfully portrayed with a score that just sparkles.
Set designer, John Buckley, and the set building team at Mossley created a “Coronation Street” of upper Manhattan. There is Rosario Taxis, a café, the hairdressers, and apartments. The defining image breathed life into the rich tapestry of personalities that live and work there.
Just like any soap opera, there is an act one cliff-hanger kiss, domestic drama and a power cut. A glossary was maybe needed to help with the American argot, and parts of the dialogue were spoken in Spanish, but none of this spoiled the enjoyment of the musical. Helpfully, there was a glossary of terms used included in the programme for the show. The director captured the Latin vitality creating tremendous energy, leaving the audience feeling shattered, but exhilarated. Similarly, the choreography, where rap and street dance meets salsa, was captivating and innovative. The music was presented “big” and in keeping with shows of this genre. The volume was high, which also added to the energy. The Latin strains just flowed from the band and they could play for Ricky Martin anytime.
As we meet the families and the people of the Heights the rich community is revealed. Sometimes the stage seemed to get a little too crowded, but then again, I suppose parties always are. Everyone on stage was like a piece in a jigsaw, and important to complete the overall picture. The ensemble work was equal to all the prioncipal characters.
Jordanne Woodward energised Daniela, the brash, booming, gossiping owner of the hair salon. A special mention must go to Maia Van Spall, who gave a memorable portrayal as Vannessa. No community is complete without its Ena Sharples type character, and here we had the Matriarch, Abuela Claudia, known to everyone and is loved by all. Alison Foy-Thackwell captured this surrogate grandmother superbly.
To lighten any drama often a comic character is introduced. In this musical, Piraguero who sells iced desserts is just such a role. Tom Kehoe filled the need for comedy, and contributed to the overall entertainment of the piece.
The Rosario family, Dad Jon (John Crebbin), Mum, Camila (Samantha Bates), and drop-out student daughter, Nina (Rosie Plummer), displayed all the complexities of family life. The interplay between Jon and Camila cemented their characters. Nina has the main storyline with her eventual relationship with Benny (Lucca Chadwick-Patel). His energetic charm wins her over. Rosie and Lucca lifted the story to believable “Heights”.
All the different stories that make up the narrative are narrated / rapped by Usnavi de la Vega, the owner of the café, Rhys Nuttall. Rhys gave a slick, confident portrayal throughout.
In the Heights is a show for that will not necessarily appeal to everyone, but it dertainly is a show that was tailor-made for MAODS. It is the perfect vehicle to bring together the groups. many creative elements.
Congratulations for presenting a very entertaining evening.