Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 7°C

min temp: -0°C

Search

Gallery: Preview - Oklahoma, Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society, Ipswich Regent, to April 16

PUBLISHED: 11:07 13 April 2016 | UPDATED: 11:26 13 April 2016

Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society's production of Oklahoma at The Regent Theatre. Photo: Lucy Taylor

Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society's production of Oklahoma at The Regent Theatre. Photo: Lucy Taylor

This was a relatively slick run-through. The were a few issues, mostly technical; the occasional mic failure, the door to Jud Fry’s smokehouse proving particularly stubbon as people tried to get in or out. All things that could be easily ironed out, that’s what dress rehearsals are for.

Andy Gledhill as Curly and Sian Naylor as Laurey. Photo: Lucy TaylorAndy Gledhill as Curly and Sian Naylor as Laurey. Photo: Lucy Taylor

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first collaboration, Oklahoma broke new theatrical ground when it opened on Broadway in 1943 with songs being tied far more to the action and carrying the story along than before. For those not familiar with it, it’s a love story between cowboy Curly and farmgirl Laurey set against the backdrop of the rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys in turn of the 20th Century America.

It’s not one of my favourites. Very much a show of its time, it’s a little too colourful, cartoony and full of yeehaw, thigh slapping and convenient plot resolutions for me. I prefer something a little grittier and it would’ve been nice to see the award-winning company take a bit more risk in that respect.

This version, in part, injected some of that earthiness via Nathan Cant’s portrayal of farm hand Jud Fry who jealously covets Laurey. It’s probably the best take on the character I’ve seen in a provincial production. It was a nicely balanced turn; I actually felt a little sorry for him as Curly goaded him during the Poor Jud is Daid number.

Overall it’s a very good show with confident performances throughout and fantastic songs you can’t help but tap your foot too.

Sian Naylor as Laurey, Owen Berry as Ali Hakim and Chloe Brown as Ado Annie. Photo: Lucy TaylorSian Naylor as Laurey, Owen Berry as Ali Hakim and Chloe Brown as Ado Annie. Photo: Lucy Taylor

The vocals were particularly good, perhaps the strongest I can remember. Sian Naylor as Laurey and Andy Gledhill as Curly particularly impressed.

The scene stealer for me was Chloe Brown as Ado Annie, a whirlwind of naivety, feistiness and flirtation. Played out in front of an actual audience, I think the comedic love triangle between her, cowboy Will Parker (Michael Haywood Smith) and peddler Ali Hakim (Owen Berry) will go down a storm.

The elaborate set allowed the cast to make full use of the Regent’s limited space and the lighting was stunning.

I had just two problems. The first concerned the stage hands. An effort had been made to dress them in wild west attire, but more could be done. I found myself taken out of the story as they moved things around.

Stephanie Brown as Aunt Ella. Photo: Lucy TaylorStephanie Brown as Aunt Ella. Photo: Lucy Taylor

The second was the ballet dream sequence. It was beautifully choreographed and performed by the principals, usually replaced by dancers. It was well acted too, but it went on too long. The show had licked along at a great pace until then and I felt it wasn’t a great way to go into the interval. But I applaud them for trying something new.

Wayne Savage

Contemporary ballet director Holly Noble is premiering a new take on the Snow White legend at DanceEast this weekend. Arts editor Andrew Clarke spoke to her about the contemporary concerns reflected in the timeless story

Get ready to rock in 2019 as the much-loved musical based on the music of Queen is coming to the Ipswich Regent.

There’s something special about a well-performed pantomime. Arts editor Andrew Clarke spoke to Karen Simpson, from Bury Theatre Royal, about what makes this great theatrical tradition so successful

It’s safe to say that the Dreamboys received a grand reception at the Regent theatre in Ipswich on Friday night.

From rambling stories about dispensing sockfulls of change into an ATM to regaling the vagaries of living with a jazz musician, Irish funnyman David O’Doherty’s latest bonkers brand of comedy proved a hit.

With the Christmas season now almost upon us, our theatres are dusting down their stock of bad jokes, readying themselves for two months of festive fun. Arts editor Andrew Clarke casts an eye over the pantomimes seeking to entertain us this year

Gym goers of Ipswich are invited to a free workout with exotic-dancers The Dreamboys to raise money for Children in Need.

When you watch a comedian like Ross Noble, you’ve got to expect the unexpected.

Acting legend Sir Ian McKellen is touring the region next celebrating his 80th birthday and raising money for regional theatre. Arts editor Andrew Clarke finds out more about this ‘must-see’ event

Most read

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24