Youngsters pull off a dazzling production
Go, go, go Joseph (and the 60 or so other junior members of Berwick Opera): What an amazing, technicolor performance you gave us last week at The Maltings.
It was the Opera’s first attempt at a junior-only production, but I have a feeling it won’t be the last, despite co-directors Lisa and Laura describing the rehearsals as “noisy and entertaining”.
It was a brave choice. Joseph is such an iconic and much-loved production, but the team managed to get the balance just right; delivering a fast-paced spectacular, which was fun from start to finish.
With such a gigantic cast, it’s difficult to praise all of them individually, but, believe me, there was a huge amount of talent on that stage.
However, I must give credit to Morgan Flannigan, following in the footsteps of mega stars in the lead role, and giving them a run for their money.
His strong singing, expression and comic timing throughout meant he really earned his star status. Yet it was in the jail scene where he really shone, singing Close Every Door To Me with such feeling and poignancy and proving his versatility as a performer.
Matty Forster, as Pharaoh, and Corey Learmonth, as Reuben, also stood out – their dance moves provoking much hilarity, and their confident solos testament, again, to their all-round ability.
There were great little touches from so many others too, including Rory Moscrop, as Simeon, also blessed with a flair for comedy, and Kate Harwood (Pontiphar’s wife) whose seduction technique involved high kicks and cartwheels. Oscar Lowson (Jacob) was very convincing as Joseph’s continuously sobbing father.
Anyone who has ever tried singing along to the Joseph score (don’t pretend you haven’t), will know how tricky it is to reach those high notes. But lead narrators (Eilidh Campbell, Alice Heald, Mhairi McLeman, Evie Ryan and Susie Ward) did a brilliant job. They executed their role as story-tellers very well, interacting with the other characters and leading the audience seamlessly from scene to scene.
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They had great support from the chorus narrators, sha-la-la sheep and go-go goats, who, along with all the wives, brothers and cameo roles, impressed again and again with passionate singing, energetic dancing and downright silliness.
The cast’s sheer enthusiasm was lovely to see and reflects the society’s success in attracting and nurturing young talent.
Of course, a production as slick and modern as this doesn’t happen without an equally gifted behind-the-scenes team.
The creative crew of musicians, technicians, chaperones, costume designers and the overworked pom-pom maker all played their part and their hard work was evident.
But special congratulations go to Lisa Summers and Laura Catterall whose vision, expertise and (by the sounds of it) unceasing patience made it all possible.
The result was a truly amazing (noisy and entertaining) show.
It may just be my favourite version yet.
• Berwick Operatic Society’s next full company production will be The Sound of Music, which will be performed at The Maltings from May 1-5, 2019.