Oklahoma 1995

North East Essex Theatre Guild Adjudicator's Report

Oklahoma

Clacton Amateur Operatic Society
Princes Theatre, Clacton
16 May 1995

General Production

This much loved and well known Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, certainly sets out to be a very colourful, energetic and entertaining production.

A good basic set of the standard hired by most societies enhanced by some nice set dressing and props.

A talented cast well directed with some interesting and creative choreography.

The pace of the production was just right for each scene and the scene changes were managed very well and were carried out quietly.

The first Act did feel overlong, but that being a fault in the writing not in the production.

A lovely dream sequence to finish Act I, which was interpreted fairly well, with some interesting groupings making good pictures and good choreography.

Again this sequence I felt was too long. The stage was utilised very well and the overall look of the show was good with some very effective costumes and some praiseworthy performances.

Most of the humour in the production came across very well although I did feel that the "Poor Jud Is Dead" number could have been more amusing, as I have always thought it an opportunity for comedy, but in this production it did not come across as such, although sung well by Curly and Jud.

A good orchestra not too overpowering as sometimes is the case with Operatic Societies.

An enjoyable overture and the orchestra handled very well by the musical directer. The general standard of singing by the principals and chorus was very good, projected well with good clarity and diction.

Set

The sets were colourful and exactly what was required from the text. I did however notice colour photographs on the wall in the Smoke House scene which I believe were not around at the turn of the century.

I loved the idea of bringing on 'The Surrey With the Fringe on Top' for the final scene most effective.

The gauze and smoke gun used effectively for the dream scene.

Lighting/Sound

On the whole an adequately lit set with some interesting colour variations. There were one or two minor hiccups for instance; During "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" the lighting went down? and was exactly the opposite of want the song was about.

There were also a few times when players were badly lit. When Jud stepped forward in front of the cloth we could not see his face at all well.

The lighting did seem to be a bit haphazard in the middle of the the show I do not know whether this was due to operators error, or if there was a problem of some kind?

The sound balance of the singing and the orchestra was on the whole well managed, with one or two exceptions.

Aunt Eller was inaudible at times and the orchestra slightly too loud in certain places. But nevertheless a well balanced and hardworking orchestra and very good choral singing.

Costumes

This production was costumed meticulously and the many varied and colourful costumes were obviously chosen with care. Principals and chorus outfits all suited the characters quite well with attention being paid to detail,such as hats, wigs, gloves shoes etc. A very well dressed production, well done to the wardrobe department.

Music

The orchestra were superbly handled by the musical directer, and played with confidence, energy and vigour. The choral singing was audible, full of energy and I particularly enjoyed the harmonising during the title song. Well done.

Movement/Choreography

The choreography was lively, creative, full of energy and performed with great conviction and ease by a talented troupe of dancers. The chorus performed extremely well all their routines, and I liked the 'Many a New Day' routine and also the tap routine during 'Kansas City', both were very well executed and most enjoyable.

A highly entertaining and energetic company who performed the routines with grace, enthusiasm and lots of sparkle. Very well done.

Curley

Courtenay Botterill. Courtenay looked extremely good on stage, he seemed very at ease in the role, full of confidence and charm. He moved well and sang with great conviction and had a very pleasing singing voice. Very good reactions and worked well with Laurey. He was sometimes lacking in vocal variation during his dialogue and could have been slightly more physically expressive. Courtenay projected well had good diction a believable accent well sustained. A credible, confident and very enjoyable performance, very well thought out and well defined. Well done.

Laurey

Karen Stutter. Karen looked lovely and was exactly how Laurey should look. She moved extremely well and had tremendous stage presence with lots of confidence and sparkle. Karen had good reactions, nicely expressive both vocally and physically. She had a nice sweet pure voice and was a joy to listen to. Karen was full of energy, and attacked the role well. A lovely, charming and delightful very enjoyable performance. Well done.

Will Parker

Jon Pettman. A delightfully, bright, cheery portrayal, full of energy and enthusiasm. Very good movement and his routine with the male chorus was extremely well carried out and most enjoyable. Jon sang well and his scenes with Ado Annie worked very well, as they worked well together. A good accent, and good timing and sense of comedy. An assured, well thought out and lively performance.

Ado Annie

Catrina Grimsey. A lovely, enchanting and believable portrayal. Handled the silliness of her character well without being over the top. She looked very good and I liked her rendition of "I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say No". Catrina was confident, moved extremely well, with good expressions and good body language. A very charming, energetic bright performance.

Ali Hakim

Jim Sissens. I liked Jim's performance, he was very convincing and was very expressive vocally and physically. He had a very good accent which never faltered throughout the performance. Good movement, timing and a nice deep singing voice. A well rounded, credible and funny portrayal.

Carnes

Terry Ratcliffe. Looked good, spoke with confidence and ease. A fairly well realised portrayal of the protective Father. He sang well, was nicely expressive and had good rapport with his fellow actors. A nicely observed study, well maintained.

Jud Fry

Steve Church. Steve looked menacing enough, but vocally he needed to have more light and shade to give his character the weight it required. He had a nice deep rich singing voice and I liked his rendition of "Lonely Room". Steve's movement seemed slightly stilted at times and it was as if he was trying too hard to be the 'villian' of the piece. Nevertheless a good solid, well realised and confident performance.

Aunt Eller

Doreen Humphreys. Doreen looked the part and she moved and interacted well. She seemed confident, had good presence and was fairly expressive. Doreen was under-projected at times and her singing lacked power. A good confident performance but needed more attack and projection.

Gertie Cummings

Caroline Newson. Caroline looked charming, she spoke and moved very well. She was confident and had a nice accent, and I loved her affected laughter which she utilised extremely well. A nice cameo performance, convincing and enjoyable.

Chorus/Dancers

An extremely confident, hardworking, energetic and very capable well disciplined chorus and dancers. Very good singing, good ensemble playing and both the chorus and dancers were a considerable asset and an integral part of the production.

Summary

A very entertaining, colourful and lively production, well directed and choreographed, with some good individual performances. A most enjoyable evening.

Best Wishes,
David Thompsen, Adjudicator

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