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WEST END THEATRE IN PONTEFRACT....

WELL ALMOST, SAYS MAURICE HAIGH

ADDED 29 APRIL 2006

On Thursday 30th March 2006 my wife Kath and I had the pleasure of attending the Leydon-Smith School of Dance and Theatre production Live Show 2005, presented in the recently refurbished Pontefract Town Hall. I feel obliged firstly, to pay tribute to the design team responsible for the transformation that has taken place within. The quality of interior decoration can only be described as superb and fantastic! The white painted curve of the ceiling set with arched plaster decorations, subtly picked out with red and gold, continued to the wonderfully sculptured plaques which adorned the balcony frontage – all beautifully done. I could only sit and wonder at the quality of workmanship carried out by the painters and decorators who had worked on the project. The stage curtains in a deep shade of red compliment the warm and colourful interior. But, for its size, you could have imagined yourself watching a performance in an old West End theatre music hall.

…the stage was filled with girls in the most daring and revealing of costumes…

The show itself commenced at 7.00pm. A grand opening to the show was from the adult entertainers singing a medley of Queen songs. The group sang in pleasant harmony and with great enthusiasm, which gave a good start to the evening’s entertainment. This was soon to be followed with the well-known song from ‘The King and I’ musical, ‘Getting to Know You’. The stage, overflowing with some of the younger cast members, dressed in the finest of period clothing, were led into the singing by a very musically talented soprano, Sarah Barker. Without a pause they were quickly followed by Group 3 and 4, singing and dancing to the Cockney ‘Lambeth Walk’ song. They shone ever so brightly in their sparkling jackets and sequined caps. Before the lights had a moment to fade, the stage was filled with girls in the most daring and revealing of costumes, who were cast members of the Musical Theatre, with Group 1 in support, entertaining us with their interpretation of the Cell Block Tango, taken from the musical ‘Chicago’.

Kevin Higgins dominated the stage playing the lead role of Humpty Dumpty, sitting on his wall surrounded by the smallest and youngest cast members who were dressed in their smart military uniforms acting out their roles as ‘The King’s Men’. But when Humpty Dumpty fell off his wall due to over enthusiastic swaying to the music, the King’s soldiers tried to put him back together again but sadly were unable to save him. The ‘Big Spender’ sketch brought a little humour to the evening’s entertainment. The audience bore witness to the two drunken husbands who had been enjoying a drunken evening out, and up to no good with the ladies, and were chased off the stage, hotly pursued by their respective wives waving rolling pins in the air.

Any Dream, Musical Theatre Group, Adult Jazz Class with Kevin Higgins and Darren Wakefield and Amarillo soon followed. Sailors with a nautical influence was performed by young cast members, the medley of hornpipes and other sea related songs found an audience who were quick to clap and stamp their feet in support of such a worthy effort. The closing theme, which took us to the interlude, was taken from ‘Fame’ and was performed with great energy and vibrancy.

The second half of the evening’s entertainment began with a medley of songs taken from the musical ‘’My Fair Lady’, performed elegantly by the adults, with solo performances by Julie Penty and Kevin Higgins. Other acts performing throughout the evening with great enthusiasm were Gypsy Ballet, who danced to the music of Carmen; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Group 5 and 6 with support from Kevin Higgins and Darren Wakefield; Anything Goes – Adult Tap; Flash Bang Wallop – Groups 2, 3 and 4; Bye Bye Blackbird – Adult Jazz; 42nd Street Medley – Groups 1 and 2; Snow Ballers and Skaters – Groups 4 and 5; and We Go Together – Groups 1, 2 and 3. The closing act of the show was performed by Alan Norrish as Elvis, who, with his cape of sparkling sequins and jump suit to match, would have made Joseph envious of his attire. His rendering of some of the well-known Elvis classics made a wonderful ending to a well-presented and rehearsed production.

I must finally mention the parent’s, friends and organisers for the wonderful work carried out behind the scenes, which enabled the production to run so smoothly. Also most relevant to the occasion and on the home front must be to acknowledge the labours of the mothers who spent many hours producing the most intricate of costumes and period clothing. It must surely have been a labour of love!

The beneficiaries of the musical extravaganza were:- Ackworth Riding for the Disabled; Candlelighters; Children’s Cancer; and Alzheimer’s Society (Wakefield and Five Towns Branch)

The production was by Leydon-Smith School of Theatre Dance and included a cast of about 200 performers.

Maurice Haigh.


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