Carousel

Musicals

Various venues

Sun Apr 20

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Wesley

Moira Davies writes for Southwark News, Weekender: I was in need of some light-hearted distraction that Thursday night, luckily, Roxy and I had arranged to meet up and see Carousel at The Landor with its teeny-tiny stage above the nice posh pub with the staircase, carpet and landing upstairs slightly reminiscent of The Shining. Let me just say, this was a brilliant and wonderful affair; it did what theatre should do (and was invented for), to take our minds off our own dreary worries. Despite the small stage, the production conveyed depth and space…and it was wonderful to be so close to the singing, the high jinks and the consummate acting. Carousel is a Rodgers & Hammerstein musical; a famous one, a popular one, and it certainly was an engaging one. We are transported to a seaside town in New England after the Second World War, and introduced to its captivating inhabitants. Love is in the air. Julie Jordan (played by the wondrous Ebony Buckle) is at the fairground with her friend Carrie Pipperidge (Chelsea Corfield, very nearly the star of the show, such was her triple threat appeal of singing, dancing and humorous acting) and they are being chastised by the jealous faded carousel owner Mrs Mullen (Charlotte Moore). Local buck with a bad rep Billy Bigelow (great name) had put his arm round Julie (on the waltzer?) and this had wound Mrs Mullens up no end. Quick to anger, Billy ends up jobless and takes up with Julie. Together they sing If I Loved you, and I am immediately entranced. I don’t believe in their love story so much but the songs are wonderful; I feel like I am 12 and watching Julie Garland singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow again. So, we see lovers, (Carrie’s paean to her ‘Mr Snow’ is just sublime), we see the full cast sing ‘June is busting out all over’ (led by the incredible Sue Kennett playing Nettie Fowler) and it almost matters not that the plot, the encroaching darkness, the love affair turned sour and the tragedy leading to redemption exist, engaging as these events are, because we have the incredible uplifting songs shifting the story along and moving the spirit. There is also some fabulous dancing by the boys; ‘Blow high, blow low’ was particularly memorable, while the young and talented Georgia Bevis playing Louise, Julie and Billy’s 15-year-old daughter, was simply stunning. I also loved Sean Paul Jenkinson’s portrayal of the ruddy, aggressive Billy and his bombastic singing voice, but special mention must go to Lee Dillon-Stuart for his fantastically energising portrayal of the irascible Jigger Craigin; truly a joy to watch. Director Jeremy Lloyd Thomas should also be praised: with Carousel, he has definitely triumphed.

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