High energy Babes in Arms

COLIN S Performing Arts College has taken up the challenge of Babes in Arms, and brought a lively rendition of Rodgers and Hart s much-loved musical to the Kenneth More Theatre last week. The High School Musical of the 1930s, it tells the story of the c

COLIN'S Performing Arts College has taken up the challenge of Babes in Arms, and brought a lively rendition of Rodgers and Hart's much-loved musical to the Kenneth More Theatre last week.

The "High School Musical" of the 1930s, it tells the story of the children of the small Long Island town of Seaport, whose actor parents are away on tour. To avoid being sent to a work farm, the youngsters stage a musical, but the rich child who is providing the financial backing pulls the plug because two black youngsters are in the show.

The group finds itself toiling on a work farm, but the agony is short-lived, thanks to a trans-Atlantic pilot who crash lands in a Seaport field and offers money for the land where he plans to set up an airport.

The usual musical plot, then, but this piece is energetic and colourful, and filled with memorable numbers like My Funny Valentine, This Can't be Love and The Lady is a Tramp.


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Brett Shiels was charismatic and believable as Val LaMar, the youngsters' leader, although this performance took a while to warm up and I think Brett may have been having some trouble with his vocalisations.

Danielle Morris was wonderful as his girlfriend Billie Smith. Danielle has a lovely smoky voice and sinuous manner that lent great value to her solos, My Funny Valentine and The Lady is a Tramp. These were very well rendered and much in the style of the time.

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Lindsey Mitchell and Drew-Levi Huntsman, as sheriff's daughter Dolores and "quick-with-his-fists" Gus, had a couple of memorable duets with I Wish I Were in Love Again and You Are So Fair, demonstrating some nifty footwork as well.

Sophia Hornsey fizzed and bubbled in a high-energy appearance as young showgirl Baby Rose, and Joel Babbington was appropriately bigoted and nasty as rich boy Lee Calhoun.

Daniella Gregory and Pierre Angus thrilled the audience with their song and dance routine to This Can't Be Love. Daniella has a voice like dark velvet and delivered beautifully, even though her style was more 2009 than 1930.

Louis Turner showed a strong voice and fine dancing style as Peter, a youngster who tries to make it on his own, and David O'Reilly was funny as Sheriff Reynolds. Taylor Maza's portrayal of French pilot Rene Flambeau was deft, but perhaps a bit understated.

The piece began with some troubling sound problems, but these were soon resolved.

Steven Harris's choreography was exciting, particularly in ensemble numbers like Imagine and in the ballet that tells the story of Peter's adventures. The orchestra, under the baton of David Barber, delivered a beautiful sound and there were some terrific costumes by Sophie Mosberger.

- SUE LEEMAN

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