Association of Community Theatre
Show Reviews November 2017
Stockport Operatic Society
Director: Michael Jones-McCaw
Musical Director: Claire Sweeney
Choreographer: Gary Jones McCaw
Is there such a thing as an old show? I think not. The question should always be, “Who is my audience?”. Oklahoma! has all the timeless ingredients to keep it ever popular for an audience. Its memorable score from Rodgers and Hammerstein, the romance of Curly and Laurey, the entertaining sub plot, and the finale Act I ballet sequence, all contribute to its everlasting appeal.
This revival had all the right imagery. It was traditionally costumed, had choreography that was appropriate for the period and the story and musical interpretation to keep alive the audience's love of the musical.
Hanging their Stetsons on this framework, the cast filled in all the necessary dramatic colouring.
In the main, this was a young cast with the ensemble and main characters contributing to the story telling. Likewise, the dancers told the dream story, leaving Laurey clear minded about Jud. High energy drove the production through all the twists and turns of the various relationships.
The sub plot of Ado Annie, the girl “who cain’t say no”, and the two men in her life, gives light relief to the dark side of Jud Fry. Jordanne Woodward as naïve Annie Carnes played each would-be-beau against the other with comedy running right through all of her scenes.
Travelling pedlar man, Ali Hakim, has the eye for the ladies, culminating in a shotgun wedding. Alessio Scappaticci, as the lonely Gipsy, brought out the best of the script and had fun with all his female encounters. Wanting to marry his sweetheart, other worldly Will Parker gets himself into all sorts of predicaments. Ben Drane gave Will a charming simplicity making Ado Annie’s choice easy.
Matriarch Aunt Eller (Carol Ackers) kept the farmers and cowmen in their places with a firm hand. She couldn’t, however, control the hired hand, the menacing Jud Fry. This complicated character was played by Rhys Nuttall, who captured Jud’s moods. His rival for Laurey’s affections is cowboy Curly McClain, Gary Jones-McCaw sang . “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'”, danced and romanced his way through the script and score in true matinée idol fashion. Laurey, the object of Curly’s affections, played cat and mouse with him. To portray all the emotions of Laurey an actress of experience is needed. Having all the appropriate attributes, Sarah Thewlis displayed the playful and the frightened aspects of the character to perfection, especially in her scenes with Jud.
The audience, the yardstick that measures success, came to see and went away, having enjoyed a very entertaining show.