REVIEW: Theatre group wow a packed audience with scenarios that brought characters alive and the house down

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Game’ presented by Wilburton Theatre Group The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Game’ presented by Wilburton Theatre Group

Words by: ROSEMARY WESTWELL
Sunday, April 13, 2014
8:22 PM

REVIEW: ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ presented by Wilburton Theatre Group in St. Peter’s Hall Wilburton on Friday April 11.

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The title of this musical was intriguing. How could anyone make a show out of a Spelling Bee?

Well, Wilburton Theatre Group, under the excellent directorship of Emily Starr, made more than just an entertaining show of this script, they wowed the packed audience with delightful scenarios that brought the characters alive and the house down.

The show positively sparkled, it was well paced, the music was highly accomplished and there were wonderful moments in the choreography.

Louis Prime will never be forgotten for his portrayal of the emerging adolescent, Chip Tolentino, India Barton played the rigid Lograinne Schwartzandgrubenniere to a tee and Lacey Webdale effectively portrayed Leaf Coneybear with her tizzy ways contrasting wonderfully with those hypnotic moments when suddenly, she could spell.

Tim Meikle was absolutely brilliant as the know-it-all William Barfée much maligned by the frequent mispronunciation of his name. Tim’s foot movements were fantastic. Not to be outdone, Emily played a wonderful dead-pan Marcy Park, at one time causing the audience to ‘ah’ as she easily did the splits.

Nadia Saif gave the character Olive Ostrovsky emotional depth, while Becky Gilbert (as Rona Lisa Perretti), Tim Brown (Vice Principal Douglas Panch) and Mitch Mahony (Mark Wright) were credible adults with their own particular hang-ups. Douglas Panch’s and Mitch Mahoney’s backgrounds were particularly intriguing.

Although a small cast, many of the actors had no trouble portraying other key characters in the show making the characters stand out with their noticeably different traits in a way that disguised their duplicate roles really well and the impromptu additional spellers invited from the audience all acquitted themselves most fittingly.

The music under the directorship of Richard Hayward was a major contribution to the sparkle and vivacity of the show. His team Keith Hayward (synthesizer), Lisa Verrinder (clarinet and alto saxophone) and Helen Hayward (trombone) provided secure and assured accompaniment to the drama. Highlights for me were Olive and Barfée’s ‘Pas de Deux’, Olive and Parents the ‘I Love you Song’, Chip’s ‘Lament’ and Marcy and Girls’ ‘I speak six languages’.

Emily Starr and her team are to be congratulated for a wonderful night’s entertainment.

Future events include Summer Plays for the Hunstanton Drama Festival at Wilburton: ‘Dracula Revived’ and possibly a youth play – ‘The Exam’ and at Hunstanton 10-13th July and possibly at Wilburton 18th and 19th July. ‘Batman the Panto’ will be performed 11,12, 13th December 2014.

For more information contact: www.wilburton.org.uk/theatregroup

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