REVIEW: You cain't say no to Oklahoma!
This week, Rhodes Arts Complex in Bishop's Stortford has been transformed into a turn-of-the-century - that's 20th century - American territory.
Bishop’s Stortford Musical Theatre Company is performing Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! until Saturday (Nov 17) – and if you haven’t got a ticket yet, well… why not? It’s a rip-roaring, yeehawing, fun night out.
The story is based on a corner of Oklahoma, still a territory of the USA, not yet a state, until 1907 and the loves and lives of the people who live there.
Laurie lives with Aunt Eller and is pursued by Curly McLain, a self-confident cowboy who she secretly likes but won’t admit it, and Jud Fry, the farmhand who she is afraid of.
Ado Annie is a capricious and a consummate flirt who gets involved with a travelling pedlar while the boy who wants to marry her, Will Parker, is away.
The whole company are terrific singers and dancers, but the principal players need special mentions.
Matthew Juggins and Alex Outlaw as main love interests Curly and Laurie are both fabulous and jell very well.
Rebecca Faulkner was a hilarious Ado Annie, the gal who cain’t say no, keeping Will Parker and Ali Hakim – wonderfully performed by Jack Stevens and Mike Sykes – on their toes as her suitors.
Darrell Williams was a very menacing Jud Fry and Charlotte Pritchard kept the peace ably as Aunt Eller.
Songs such as The Farmer and the Cowman and Oklahoma! performed by the ensemble were so joyous and the dancing infectious that I’m sure most of the audience would have loved to join in – I certainly did.
The orchestra, under the guidance of musical director Sarah Sykes, kept the show swinging along and the choreography by Elsa Springham was perfectly performed by the cast.
I was also impressed by the set, which was simple but very effective in depicting the Mid West farmland of the story.
This was the first time I had seen a show by this company. I tried hard to find something to criticise but could find nothing!
Director David James should be very proud of everyone in this production.