Dames at Sea
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Cast & Creative
Reviews & Awards
One of the mainstays of the Hollywood musical, especially during the 1930s, was the ‘backstage’ plot, with the troupers, whether they were struggling professionals or a group of youngsters trying to break into the big-time, overcoming all odds and obstacles to get their show on the stage.
‘Dames at Sea’, which was given in the Studio Theatre of Richmond Adult College last week by Barnes & Richmond Operatic Society (BROS), is an affectionate send-up of all those movies and is highly successful because it does not attempt to poke fun at the genre, but in a way, to celebrate it.
BROS’s presentation of the show was sheer joy, from beginning to end, not least because the whole cast played the piece absolutely straight, allowing the audience to see the funny side of the whole procedure and to enjoy the accuracy and good-naturedness of the parody, for which much praise must go to director Andy Locke.
An equal amount of recognition must be afforded co-director and choreographer Melanie Edwards for drilling the cast in the routines.
And that cast was terrific, from the innocent Ruby come to search for fame on Broadway, given a shining sweetness by Debbie McDowell and Tara O’Sullivan warmhearted as her newly found best friend Joan to Angela Sturgeon’s monstrous leading lady Mona who had every facet of the character off to a ‘t’.
Then there were the men: Carl Smith was the ambitious songwriter constrained only by the fact that he is in the Navy, and who brought an attractive personality and a pleasant singing voice as well as a thousand-volt smile and a matching innocence to that of Ruby. His sidekick, Lucky, allowed Hamilton Faber every opportunity to clown, yet he never overdid the slow-wittedness, while Robert Salter was a splendid Captain of the battleship that is pressed into service as a theatre when the show’s original venue is demolished – and what a marvellous coup de theatre brought the first half to an end with one of those enormous building-shatter balls swinging out over the audience!
The chorus girls and boys performed with a will, and the pit band directed by Carole Baker had a whale of a time, although balance might have been better served if they had been placed nearer to the audience.
I laughed much, and more often hugged myself with delight at this delightful tribute to the Hollywood musical and BROS did it proud.
This is the full review which was heavily cut when published originally.