N E W S A N D R E V I E W S
In 2019, we received two Eagle Award nominations for our production of Whistle down the Wind, as follows:
Best contribution by a young person: all the children in Whistle Down the Wind
Outstanding Achievement: John Woolley & Stage Crew
Whistle Down the Wind was also nominated for the Hinks-Cole Trophy for best musical in the East Midlands region in 2019. LEOS have previously won NODA awards for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Review of My Fair Lady by East Midlands Theatre
The latest amateur production to grace the Long Eaton based Trent College May Hall stage is by LEOS Musical Theatre Company. It is directed by the talented director Nigel Taylor and musically directed by James Bowden, who brings a freshness to the songs through his arrangements and his wonderful twelve strong orchestra. Laurie Trott as choreographer imparts an impressive amount of joyous vigour to the dance sections where all of the ensemble seem to be having the time of their lives.
The set takes us effectively from Covent Garden to the Higgins household, a day at the Ascot races, the Embassy ballroom and back again. Each stage transition, in what is a lengthy but enjoyable production, is done very smoothly and professionally.
There are no weak links in this large and committed My Fair Lady ensemble and the lead characters played by Emma Collins (Eliza Doolittle), Simon Parker (Henry Higgins), Dave O’Neal (Colonel Pickering), Dan Bates (Alfred P Doolittle), and Rob Chilton (Freddy Eynsford – Hill) are all top notch. Emma Collins is superb as Eliza in both the singing and acting stakes. Her character’s journey from broad Cockney flower girl to a socialite who has a growing realisation of the realities of her relationship with Parker’s bombastic and chauvinistic Henry Higgins is spot on.
It is important that Henry Higgins isn’t just played as a snobbish unfeeling academic and Simon Parker gives us a fully rounded performance, sings delightfully and is both likeable and totally exasperating as a short sighted commitment phobic. His partnering with Dave O’Neal as the slightly more enlightened Colonel Pickering is both a comic and dramatic delight.
Dan Bates gives his drunken sot Alfred P Doolittle plenty of welly or as some might say, plenty of ooomph! Bates lights up the stage every time he appears and his gutsy performance of the rough diamond Alfred P Doolittle is one of the big highlights of this fine showing of My Fair Lady.
Rob Chilton makes the most of his small but important role of the gauche love struck Freddie Eynsford-Hill and we love his very confident and full of feeling rendition of The Street Where You Live. Living a rather rarefied life Eynsford-Hill looks terribly, and amusingly completely out of place in his straw boater and white suit as he appears amongst the working class folk in the 1912 rotting cabbage leaf world of Covent Garden.
Angela Walters and Liz Woolley act out their respective Mrs Pearce and Mrs Higgins perfectly. There is a great deal of understated confidence shown in each of these roles and their believability is a joy to watch.
This sparkling amateur production of Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady is graced with some superb costumes from Charades Theatrical Costume Hire, St Helens. The brilliant costumes really give this whole show package a visual lift and enable the cast to really shine knowing they look absolutely right for themselves and their audience.
A thoroughly enjoyable production of My Fair Lady by LEOS Musical Theatre Company with a top class, focussed and talented cast and beautifully harmonic ensemble.
Review of Strictly Musicals from Kev Castle theatre reviews (extract)
What can I say? What can I say about this show. Absolutely every person that left May Hall last night had the biggest smile on their faces, me included.. From the very start with the opening number "Flash, Bang, Wallop", Long Eaton Operatic Society had us in their spell. The joining of the Youth Group and LEOS was a cracking idea and I think both groups gained something from the experience, and we, the audience, certainly enjoyed both. Members old and new sang their hearts out, and I especially loved hearing the elder statesmen and women in the group taking leads in the ensemble numbers.
The "Les Mis" medley was out of this world with several solos and that wonderful ensemble choir which was so powerful, and really filled us all with emotion, which led to the well deserved standing ovation at the end.
There were a couple of solos that I really would like to highlight. Phil Deakin's "Somebody To Love" was spot on. His falsetto sent shivers up my spine and Queen songs are notoriously difficult to pull off because of Mercury's incredible voice but Phil smashed it. Emily Corner's "Wizard and I" was a sublime way to open the second act and Phoebe Mellor's solo of "Castle On A Cloud" showed off what a pure and controlled voice she has for one so young. Another tear-jerking moment was another from the "Les Mis" medley, Tony Newton and Robert McAuley was a magical merging in "Stars", and their voices complemented the other beautifully.
I'm not going to mention everyone on that stage as there were too many but, I've not seen an ensemble that size work so well and sound so good. I applaud every single one of you.
Review of Whistle down the Wind from East Midlands Theatre (extract)
The ALW musical story of Whistle Down The Wind is set deep in bible belt Louisiana and it sees innocent and vulnerable young teenager Swallow mistaking an escaped convict hiding in the family barn for Jesus Christ newly returned to Earth bearing his blood soaked crucifixion wounds. The Man has wounds on his hands, his side and his feet and Swallow is 100% convinced this is her saviour and that he could perform miracles including bringing her recently dead mother back to the living. Eleanor Carty is Swallow and The Man is portrayed by Adam Daniels.
They make a totally believable pair from the opposite sides of the moral compass. Their joint acting and singing is magnetic throughout; Carty being the very representation of trusting angelic innocence and Daniels the personification of confused guilt and anger at once awed and repulsed by the notion of love and yet protective of his young protector. Their ‘Prayer/The Nature of The Beast’ is a powerful duet that totally moves and engages.
Long Eaton Operatic Society’s Whistle Down The Wind boasts a large cast and includes many more talented young children and teens than would ever have been part of any professional production. Too costly and too many chaperones to employ! Their joyful rendition of ‘When Children Rule The World’ makes the heart sing with compassion and hope. These are the present and future talents of Long Eaton Operatic Society and are well applauded for their professionally done appearances throughout.
Older members of the LEOS ensemble show equal commitment especially with the rousing opening Baptist Minister and congregation number ‘The Vaults of Heaven’ and the end of act one song ‘No Matter What’. In this regard the opposing angles of the children and the adults works well to illustrate the differing adult/child interpretations of harnessing The Man for good or captivity. The company as a whole come across very strongly as a unit and representational of the Baptist community.
Whistle down the Wind audience feedback:
“It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening - the production involved a large, enthusiastic and talented cast and the singing was fabulous as always from LEOS. I was also impressed by the lighting and the sets – everything was amazingly detailed and looked so professional.” SD
“The Man, played by Adam Daniels, had fantastic vocals and acting and he actually made you feel as if you were right there in that barn with him. He pulled you into his character. Swallow, Eleanor Carty, has a demanding role. She portrayed the compassion of a young person trying to come to terms with losing a loved one and the wilfulness of a young woman wanting to be treated as an adult.” LR
“The whole cast looked like they were constantly enjoying the time on stage. The child ensemble brought an energy to the stage which lifted the whole show. The two leads, Adam and Eleanor, worked extremely well together, you could see the relationship developing. Massive well done to the other leads Jack and Katie bringing the bad boy/girl characters to the show perfectly. Lovely family show. Seriously would recommend getting tickets now!!” TE