Yesterday I was in Edinburgh in the afternoon - I'll post the reason soon. But in the evening I went to see the Edinburgh Playhouse Stage Experience production of Cole Porter's Anything Goes. I had watched the youngsters rehearsing (see within this post here) earlier in the week and I had been 'persuaded' to come watch the finished production.
Friday night's performance was the first of three performances. An amateur production. First night. My expectations were not high.
I was blown away. What a enjoyable evening! These young people put on a really professional show. I have seen many things in the Playhouse over the years, and last night ranks high amongst the best.
I'm no critic, but more needs to be said. The performance was the culmination of a two-week theatrical workshop to give the city’s young actors, musicians and technicians experience of acting and production. Auditions were held in February, and this year's project involved 120 young people aged 10-21. There were 110 in the cast (!) as well as musicians and those involved in lighting and direction.
Keith Ramsay was Billy Crocker and Lauren Burnett was Reno Sweeney, the roles played by Bing Crosby and Ethel Merman in the 1935 film of the stage musical. The plot and other information is here. Keith and Lauren are experienced performers and were great in their roles. The programme notes say that Lauren is studying to be a primary school teacher. On the basis of last night she would not have been out of place on a West End stage.
Marc MacKinnon was a hilarious Sir Evelyn Oakleigh. At 15, what a star!
Rachel Coll, a fourteen-year old at North Berwick High School, was outstanding in the role of Hope Harcourt. What a strong performance. What a strong voice!
A young man called Blair Anderson is intending to study musical theatre in London from this September. He carried off the role of Moonface Martin (a second rate gangster who is 'Public Enemy Number 13') brilliantly, and his performance of Be Like the Bluebird was the highlight of the night for me.
The principals in a production like this can really only shine if they get great support from the cast. Who were top drawer. Never mind the Opening and Finale, the performance of Blow, Gabriel, Blow got my vote as the evening's hit!
Everyone knows the musical numbers from Anything Goes. Remind yourself of the title song here. Elaine Page sings Blow, Gabriel, Blow here. (I thought Lauren Burnett and Friday's cast did it better!) A famous Glaswegian performs It's Delovely here. And here he is again with You're the Top. Enjoy.
There was an enthusiastic audience last night. Not surprisingly, as it was made up mostly of family and friends of the cast. It was a great night. Congratulations to all those involved.
Now you know I'm fond of musical theatre, and I'm pleased to report that in Edinburgh this weekend musical theatre is alive and well!