The Mayor of Durham
With a cast of almost 70 people and an orchestra of 12 this was another triumph for Durham Musical Theatre Company as well as a sell-out weeks before the show.
We have come to expect spectacular productions from DMTC and this was no exception with the whole cast tap dancing as well as fabulous singing under the baton of Musical Director Stephen Hood who controlled everyone admirably.
The 2 main leading parts were taken by Society stalwarts Delia McNally and Anthony Smith as Dorothy Brock and Julian Marsh respectively and they both gave their usual polished performances that we have come to expect from them.
Taking one of her first leading roles was Jennifer Kirby as newcomer Peggy Sawyer who was delightful both in her singing and in particular her dancing. Playing opposite Jennifer was Matthew Banks as Billy Lawlor and he gave us a very slick and polished performance.
The other principals all worked very hard to ensure this was a very accomplished show and credit and congratulations must go to Choreographer Kathleen Knox whose hard work was obvious in the excellent dance routines and the whole thing was coordinated by their very talented Director Fred Wharton who as usual managed to give us a wonderful evening’s entertainment which was obviously enjoyed by the capacity audience.
We look forward to the society’s next production of ‘Sweeney Todd’ in February 2013.
by Fred Piggford
published 20th April 2012
In this the 10th Anniversary of the Gala Theatre, the opening of Durham Musical Theatre Company’s production was indeed spectacular; every member of the cast in perfect tap synchronisation as the curtain slowly rose revealing their feet.
A competent cast was led by the authority and experience of both Anthony Smith playing Julian Marsh and Delia McNally as Dorothy, while in contrast, the freshness and youthful enthusiasm of Jennifer Kirby as Peggy and Matthew Banks as Billy shone through. The young couple’s dancing skills were tremendous.
The many other principals gave credible performances in particular the comedy timing and delivery by Sarah Jackson as Maggie was excellent, and Graeme Smith gave a notable performance as Andy.
The orchestra under the direction of Steven Hood were superb, never overpowering the performers. 42nd Street is one of those spectacular musicals that needs a good chorus and in the knowledge that tap dance is an important feature of this show it was obvious that the entire cast had worked hard under the direction of Kathleen Knox on their technique to produce some highly accomplished routines, in particular Lullaby of Broadway and 42nd Street.
The costumes were spectacular, lighting & sound were excellent, hair & make-up good, scenery and props were in keeping with the period and all of the scene changes were well executed.
The audience certainly left very happy, singing and dancing as they went! It was obvious that a tremendous amount of hard work had gone into this production, congratulations to Fred and his team.
by Michelle Coulson
I saw the show on Wednesday it was fantastic. I felt so proud of DMTC as everyone came out of the auditorium with smiles on their faces. I know you will have fabulous reviews.
by Cherry Bartell (Karen Gallaghers Gran)
Louisa Jane Robinson
Durham Musical Theatre Company’s version of the Broadway musical extravaganza 42nd Street was a seductive trill of pretty frocks, riveting fancy footwork and pipe dreams where even the tea lady was a star.
We were transported back to 1930s and small town girl Peggy Sawyer’s meteoric rise up the theatre ranks, under the careful mentoring of director Julian Marsh hits the big Apple with a vengeance. Anthony Smith embodied the sheer stage perfection of his persona Julian Marsh, and alongside Peggy Sawyer, he gave a quality performance through his energetic physical directing approach and rapid stage movements whilst whipping his wannabe protégés into an ensemble of tap affecionados.
DMTC made effective use of space, multiple costume changes evanescent of 1930s glam, and set changes to portray the hustle and bustle of New York, alongside an evident display of well choreographed amateur dancers. The costume changes were ever regular, prompt and well synchronised. Even the imitation of American accents wasn’t far fetched, even if the odd vowel dropped, the onus was on the tappy toes.
Together the chorus girls made a beautiful sound, dazzled in their sparkly and colourful dresses, all in keeping with true positive American spirit despite being set during the Great Depression. It was evident that DMTC adhered to a strict rehearsal schedule in order to get their cast up to par with the tap dancing that was the central focus of the show. It was as professional as it could ever aspire to be, and certainly worthy of it’s artistic venue at The Gala Theatre, and even being an insult to say it is only semi-professional as there are members of the cast with more promising futures than such small performing venues, but no one can argue that the GALA doesn’t serve the guests that frequent there, or the performing troops that descend to bring some much needed vibrant energy to the cobbled paths of Durham.
Jennifer Kirby as the shy and show stopper Peggy Sawyer was a good casting choice, in terms of her strong vocal range and natural flair for dancing rhythm, while simultaneously enacting humorous body language when auditioning for the coveted role. Sawyer’s arch rival in the show business popularity stakes was the robust Dorothy Brock played by DMTC prodigy Delia McNally whose strong voice, and melodramatic portrayal of Brock was perpetually gripping on the viewer.
All in all, a fast paced, lengthy production that has obviously been well prepared as the sheer visual impact of scenery and costumes required artistic efforts that extend beyond a semi-professional performance. This production incorporated everyone, no matter how large or small their singing or speaking was, everyone was a star, and the dancing highlighted this most of all as everyone got the same air time.
Congratulations to incorporative directing from Wharton, whose choice of musical made all his cast’s stage dream come true.
by Louisa Jane Robinson
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