Director & Choreographer: Eric Pover
Musical Director: David Greatbanks
(Review taken from NODA North West News)
Having previously enjoyed the film of this show I was particularly looking forward to seeing the stage version and was not disappointed in the production at the Crewe Lyceum Theatre.
Led by Jim Davidson in fine form as the con-man Professor Harold Hill and Linda Race in fine voice as the librarian and piano teacher Marion Paroo the show moved at a cracking pace with good all-round performances from the principals, chorus, dancers and student band.
Making a welcome return to the musical stage Ray Cowdall was well suited to the role of Mayor Shinn, as was Margaret Taylor bringing her considerable stage experience to the role of his wife Eualie Mackecknie Shinn (whoever thought up that name!) appearing with her friends acting out some comical scenarios in outlandish costumes.
Making his debut in a principal role Mark Pountain excelled as Marcellus Washburn.
The suspicious Mayor instructed the four-man board of school governors to delve into the Professor’s credentials but they were conned by the Professor into forming a barber shop quartet.
Thereafter Eric Denyer, Darren Thornhill, Danny Williams and Bill Kynaston drifted in and out of various scenes with well sung melodies.
Susan Dodd (whose real-life family of Caroline, Ellen and Joseph were also in the production) brought Irish witticism to the role of Mrs Paroo, mother of Marion and young Winthrop played outstandingly by Simon Thunder.
Also outstanding was junior member Susannah Davies who gave a charming performance as Amaryllis and there were pleasing performances from Charlotte Platt as the Mayor’s daughter Zaneeta defying her father’s wishes in her romance with Tommy Djilas played by Josh Fischer.
Paul Nevitt was convincing as Charlie Cowell whose attempt to denounce the fake Professor was countered by Marion’s defence and the arrival of the student band in their resplendent uniforms so ensuring a happy ending.
The production was enhanced by scenery by Proscenium, costumes by Triple C, wigs by Bromiley and properties by Howorth Wrightson and was backed by a good band.
Yet again, a brave attempt by a Society to perform something out of the ordinary proved to be unpopular at the box office which is a great pity.
Hopefully the opening night audience would spread the word and ticket sales would increase during the week as this fine production was deserving of much better support.