Director – Carol Cannaway Musical Directors – Andrew and Chris Aldrich
Performed at Ingatestone Community Centre, 29th June 2012
Despite having lost some of its older talent Young Expressions successfully entertained an appreciative audience with a younger and less experienced principal line-up and ensemble. With the exception of relatively old hand Rebecca Craythorne, who appropriately played Aunt Eller (with strong voice, grey wig and ageing make-up Rebecca was very convincing), most of the principals were perhaps playing only their first or second lead roles. The G2K version of Oklahoma reduces the running time by perhaps an hour and inevitably strips out the sub-plots leaving the main event and therefore Curly to carry the bulk of the show. Thankfully Grant Clark as Curly McLain had both a delightful voice that accommodated both ends of the vocal range required as well as an easy manner on stage. He was a very likeable Curly who was reliable from start to finish. The duets with Megan Greenwood’s Laurey and Ben Charles’ Jud respectively were well balanced both in terms of singing partners and the orchestra. The small band was sympathetic to what was happening onstage throughout.
The need to introduce the comedy character, Ado Annie (Elena Abela), and her long-suffering boyfriend, Will Parker(Todd Brand), necessitated that the Kansas City and the iconic I Caint Say No numbers stayed in the show and these allowed for some good rustic chorus movement in the former and some comedy in the latter. Additional choreography in the Dream Scene was well done and both The Farmer and the Cowman and Okahoma! had the audience clapping along. This was a good introduction to a post-Alec and Harry world with great sets and costumes to provide context, enough parts to challenge those with principal ambitions and plenty of activity for the ensemble to enjoy. The two G2K productions I have seen so far represent excellent compromises between performing well-known shows with audience appeal and providing a younger cast with just enough to get their teeth into and enjoy. Congratulations.