ChorusLambousa teaches us the “Rhythm of Life“
On April 30, May 1 and 2 at the Baron’s Theatre
A good friend of mine, a theatre man through and through, said to me one day: “What people want from us is entertainment, they don’t want to see their problems repeated on stage, they don’t want to go back home with their backs bent double but with their heads up and laughter in their bellies.”
That is exactly what the audience was offered at the Baron’s Theatre at the ChateauLambousa Hotel. Pure entertainment with show and musical songs composed and written by artists who thought likewise and who have done nothing else but that during their whole lifetime, and many from the audience joined in when they recognized the famous popular songs of their young days, from Cabaret, Sweet Charity or Hair, music by Gershwin and Hammerstein but also the Beatles, Abba and Queen and many others.
With very little but very effective means the stage was transformed into a night club and the costumes were superb, a lot of thoughts were invested by each member of the chorus, most probably under the professional eye of Jan Marsh, the director. And, we could realize that many of the chorus “girls” had most beautiful long legs.
Francine Ash, the soul of it all, took her place at the piano with the glittering hat of a show director and directed the stage movements and the chorus with expert hand signs. They have grown together, she and her team, you could feel it. Vocal training of the soloists was usually done by Francine separate from the chorus, this time she has had the assistance by voice coach Anna.
How could it have been otherwise than that the Master of Ceremonies, alias Matt Turner, opened the show, and he did it well. A good voice, a show voice. What is a show voice? In my opinion it is a well balanced singing-acting-moving kind of body expression. When an actor is well balanced, the audience knows it automatically and feels comfortable.There was a little nervousness in the very beginning but soon overcome when the chorus set in, that gave them the strength to overcome stage-fright. Anyhow, it was the very first evening when I was there – and for some it was a very first public appearance on stage – and also, I must say, the soloists had to cope with very difficult songs. I must come back to what I said before: in a show like this, it is not so important that you have a well trained voice, it is important that you have the courage to act and bring in your enthusiasm and your joy to do what you do. And that they did. Everybody brought in what they had and did best.
Here, I would like to express my respects for the construction of the programme, it was theatre, it was not just a sequence of songs, it was a real show. Even the written programme could not have been done better: it explained the background of the music chosen and in what connection the various songs could be seen, there was a real thread through it all, and it ended up in a show without any hold ups, the new scenes developed out of the one before and thus it all became a whole unit.
The performance of the soloists was well received (Ruth Williams, Emma Phelps, Claire Morley, Jilly Regan, Anita Woods, Sue Cowley Linda Burton, Sandy Pace, Jean Lindsay, Jan Marsh, Chris Heath, Annie Mockridge) although you could pick out those who had been working with Francine over a longer period where voice and body went well together. For example like Linda Burton, she has a talent for comedy, Jean Lindsay and Anita Woods are “old hands” already, Emma Phelps in two sketches, very good; then Sandy Pace with two songs, remarkable, Annie Mockridge, very touching with Memory from Cats, not easy to sing; and finally Jan Marsh who gives herself completely to whatever she does with just great body language and enthusiasm. Claire Morley seems to be most happy and excited to have found an alternative to her famous Action Woman activities, my compliments.
A special mention to the men soloists (Matt Turner, Alan Peek, Joe Devlin, Ian Long, Anthony McCartney, Roger Bradley). I heard mentioned that you and the other men from the Chorus were afraid to do dancing steps while singing at the beginning of rehearsals? You did perfect, very much like Fred Astaire, dancing and singing. Good songs, good performance!
ChorusLambousa’s fan groups are growing in number, and when the last “curtain” fell after two encores, many sat motionless as if waiting for some more and not wanting to leave the magic ring of joy and laughter.