first night

Oklahoma!

Hannah Sanderson watches TCMS take on a classic staple of musical theatre.

 This moving story which tells how love must win out whatever the cost was performed brilliantly by Trevelyan College Musical Society this evening. It was a tightly knitted performance with all the essential elements supporting each other.

I must commend the Art Team for their beautifully painted set which created a very realistic background for this show. The crew must also be congratulated for their use of lighting and sound which, despite a few hiccups, complimented the action on stage well. The band played brilliantly, successfully maintaining interest through scene changes; it had the audience and I humming and swaying along. The solo acting was superb and I must congratulate the continued acting through musical numbers. Not an easy feat, actors often find it a lot easier to freeze and concentrate on their singing, however in this performance, both were very strong. My personal favourite was Sadie Kempner’s rendition of “I Can't Say No”. Her performance in fact was strong throughout, she was especially good at bringing across the humour in Hammerstein’s lyrics. The same can be said for her husband Ben Bauman; the chemistry between the two of them kept the audience entertained throughout. Sorrel Brown’s acting was also excellent, taking strong command of the stage and the American accent.

In the first half, though, the ensemble pieces left something to be desired. The chorus often looked unsure of their actions and this came across in both their acting and singing. The important point is to look confident and to perform to the audience which was often replaced by chorus members glancing at others for guidance. However, a transformation occurred in the second half with the opening number “The Farmer and the Cowman”. The choreography become smooth and well-practised with some very risky dance moves that I would not recommend trying at home! The chorus suddenly seemed more engaged and the gulf between the strong principals’ performances and that those of the assemble began to be bridged. It now seemed to be a cast performance rather than one by a selection of individuals. The singing was brilliant especially from the two lead roles. Ella Weston’s control of higher notes were beautiful and delight to listen to, while Asher Glinsman’s strong voice even managed to drown out the brass section at some points, who were really trying their best to overpower him. Hal Lockwood played a very convincing villain from start to finish and Jonathan White’s performance as the cheeky peddler continually tickled the audience. The cast were very good at continuing regardless through slight mishaps on stage and technical hitches, which made their performance all the more commendable.

With these small mistakes ironed out for the next performances the audience are in for a treat. All in all, a wonderful performance, right from Glinsman’s gripping opening solo of “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’” until the final bars of “Oklahoma!”. If you are looking for a funny and enjoyable evening, then this is a must see!   

18 February 2016

The views expressed in the reviews and comments on this page are those of the reviewer, and are not representative of the views of DST or Durham University.
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