Reviewed by Sally Carter
I have been to other productions by Fareham Musical Society (the last being James and the Giant Peach), so I was eagerly anticipating this production of a celebration of some of Britain’s greatest musical writers & composers put together for this complication show by Fareham Musical Society’s very own Graeme Clements.
Along with choreographer Beth Marshall and musical director Val Tucker, the songs were selected to create a balance between well-loved classics like “Oliver” and “Me and My Girl, to more modern shows such as “Kinky Boots” and “Matilda”.
The already sizeable ranks of the Society were joined by FMS Youth section and extra children from several local dance schools. Accompanied by a live band and scenery, sound & lighting provided by the Fernham Hall team, the stage was set and ready to go.
They opened with 3 songs from “We Will Rock You”, and despite the odd opening night wobble, we were soon off, taken along on a musical whistle stop tour as was clear to see the whole cast and companies enjoyment and pride in their performances.
For me highlights of the first act came from David Johnson and chorus performing “Some of us belong to the stars” from “Billy”. The selections from “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “Jekyll & Hyde” .
The finale to Act 1 was truly goosepimply and awesome! 3 songs from “Billy Elliot”, involving a stonkingly good monologue from one of their youth members, soloists, chorus, the children and coming to its climax with the full company on stage for ‘Electricity”. A truly magical moment which I’m certain the whole theatre could feel!
As usual the staff and volunteers of Fernham Hall provided interval drinks and ice-creams before we were ushered back to our seats for the second act.
Act 2 opened with a couple of songs from “Kinky Boots” led by their very own Drag Queen, Cameron Hall (well done!) and a fabulous selection of sparkly boots. Highlights of the second half came from all the children performing “Revolting” from “Matilda” and the ladies & children singing “I’d do anything” from “Oliver”.
A great choice in “Mary Poppins” for the finale. “Feed the Birds” which featured a beautiful lyrical dance piece, “Step in Time” and finishing with “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, the complete company, pyrotechnics and a confetti shower!
Congratulations Graeme, Fareham Musical Society and Fernham Hall. A great evening’s entertainment. Thank you for helping me to celebrate “The Best of British Musicals” (singing along is not compulsory, but if you’re anything like me, you just won’t be able to help yourself).
Tickets cost from £13 to £15 (booking fees may apply).
The Best of British Musicals is at Fernham Hall in Fareham from 13-17 March 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.fernehamhall.co.uk or call the box office on 01329 231942.
Ferneham Hall, Osborn Road, Fareham, Hampshire, PO16 7DB | 01329 231942