national Arts Festival Banner

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Most enjoyable evening of song by eight Westville Theatre Club members offering quality not quantity. (Review by Maurice Kort)

The 2009 end-of-year production by the Westville Theatre Club departed from their usual large cast and concentrated on a small group of four men and four women, all in very good voice and with good stage presence. Another departure from their usual format was the choice of songs - not one is from a stage or film musical, which would be my choice, but they are lesser-known songs, certainly to me. This in no way detracts from the quality and enjoyment of the show which wowed the audience the evening I attended.

The format of Music Extravaganza consists mainly of solos with some duets, as well as songs by all the ladies (I Kissed a Girl and Not Fair - one of the highlights) or all the men (Rise and Fall) and the grand finale Karma Chameleon with the full cast (another highlight).

Particularly enjoyable were I'm Alive (Sylvia Tempest), Don't Know Why (Sarah Joubert), I'm Yours and Confession (Gareth Moerdyk), You Don't Know Me (Gordon Grant), I Surrender (Sue Watt), All Summer Long (Carl Parsonage, accompanied by two very sexy backup dancers, Chantal Saunders and Sarah Joubert). The show could indeed have benefited from more such imaginative backing offering more contact with the audience. A welcome and novel item in the 16 songs in the first half and the 14 after the interval was the ballet number River Flows in You by Chantal Saunders.

Standout duets were My Life Would Suck (Sue Watt and Sylvia Tempest), The Prayer (Sue Watt and Jerryn Fosteras) and Caruso (Gordon Grant and Jerryn Fosteras). Very popular was a surprise "guest" artist delivering the opening number of the second half Simply the Best - in more ways than one. It certainly was most popular and brought the house down.

The show is tightly directed by Jerryn Fosteras and Kevin Hillier, who was also responsible for the sound which generally was very well designed although I found a couple of the songs a bit loud, albeit not distorted. The small clubhouse has been transformed by the addition of a long ramp across the centre giving the cast greater mobility and proximity to the audience. This and the sumptuous backdrop to the stage brought a whole new level of class to the performance area. This walkway was a great challenge to the Lighting Designer and Ivor Bundock rose to the challenge, and more.

Not only were the singers in excellent voice but they were costumed most elegantly when required with one costume change after another adding even more class. Although the format did not lend itself to there being much choreography, what there was was nicely executed. – Maurice Kort