Wealth of talent on stage in Seaton for Midsummer Nightmare

PUBLISHED: 17:30 03 October 2016

A scene from Testudo Musical's original musical show Midsummer Nightmare. Picture: Keith West

A scene from Testudo Musical's original musical show Midsummer Nightmare. Picture: Keith West

Keith West Keith West

Putting on a lesser known musical is quite a challenge and putting on a totally new musical even more so.

A scene from Testudo Musical's original musical show Midsummer Nightmare. Picture: Keith WestA scene from Testudo Musical's original musical show Midsummer Nightmare. Picture: Keith West

Seaton’s Testudo amateur theatre group made a fantastic effort to pull it off.

The show, written by Michael Redstone was well performed 
by the group and there’s no doubt the talent on stage and off was top quality.

The show itself needs a lot of work, issues with structure, narrative, character, humour and musical consistency were prevalent.

However, Michael obviously has compositional talent as the 
music individually was both moving and entertaining, if a little close melodically to some existing songs at times.

A scene from Testudo Musical's original musical show Midsummer Nightmare. Picture: Keith WestA scene from Testudo Musical's original musical show Midsummer Nightmare. Picture: Keith West

It was the mixture of pop ballad, classical recitative, traditional musical theatre and more upbeat numbers which clashed, meaning that the piece didn’t feel as though it was written as one.

It was disappointing to have recorded music, not least because of the loss of the live feel to the band and the momentum and energy that comes with it.

There were some awkward pauses, backing vocals and synthesised instrumentation created by the tracks, though the singing talent on stage was lovely.

Stand out performances included Mary Bowles, who has a beautiful, controlled voice and her duets with the other characters included some gorgeous harmonies.

A scene from Testudo Musical's original musical show Midsummer Nightmare. Picture: Keith WestA scene from Testudo Musical's original musical show Midsummer Nightmare. Picture: Keith West

Talking of singing talent, there was no shortage of it amongst the boys either with Cai and Joe Sutherland rightly taking solos with excellent, energetic stage presence and delivery.

For their comic timing, Debbie Bradley (and her triangle) and Geoff Chapel must be congratulated amongst others.

Then, of course, there was the terrific and terrifying performance by Nick Young as the villain of piece, Dr Juke; what a voice, though perhaps a character more at home in pantomime than musical.

Special mention must go to the general chorus and company roles.

A scene from Testudo Musical's original musical show Midsummer Nightmare. Picture: Keith WestA scene from Testudo Musical's original musical show Midsummer Nightmare. Picture: Keith West

The company numbers were performed with real skill and ability with harmonies feeling natural and choreography fun and lively.

Other fantastic voices came from Jodie Licinio as Nameless, who performed some more haunting solo pieces and Jessica Hill as the female lead, who had some beautiful pop vocal tones to her voice and played the part of Ella well; intense and mesmerising with strong chemistry with the others on stage.

The problems with the show did not detract from the overall enjoyment of the night. Testudo have built a strong reputation for taking risks and I sincerely hope they continue to do so.

They have a wealth of talent both young and old in the group, all of whom did the group proud last week.

Congratulations to Michael and the team for having the bravery to put on a new show and I look forward to a fresh, more well-known production next year.


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