FORBIDDEN BROADWAY – Blackwood Players

FORBIDDEN BROADWAY – Blackwood Players

Reviewed by Janice Bailey

July 2015

‘In a parody song, the words are very important. They usually tell the story, and whilst the tunes are always familiar, it is the words that really need to be listened to.’

Martin Barbary and his dedicated team have taken on an ambitious project in presenting one of the Forbidden Broadway parodies. In many respects they have succeeded. Ann Barbary’s costumes are colourful, detailed and suitable for the characters so that we know immediately who the actors are representing. It is an ensemble piece so each performer is required to inhabit a number of different characters. Lauren Bannard as Musical Director has mostly succeeded in getting the best from the singers and the group of choreographers have filled the stage with energetic, lively performers, giving the audience plenty to look at. Sarah Klein, the pianist, must be exhausted by the end of the show. She gives her all in pounding out the melodies of the well-known songs.

To get back to the words…. To fully appreciate the parodies the audience must be able to hear and understand. Unfortunately, the sound on opening night wasn’t under control and this made it difficult to hear. As a result, much of the humour intended in the parodied lyrics was lost. Enunciation with most of the performers needs to be emphasised. I also felt that with some of the performers, their understanding of parody wasn’t translated to the audience.

However, there is still much to enjoy because of the familiarity of the music and the sheer exuberance that fills the stage. Blackwood Players have a long history of presenting entertaining shows in spite of the limitations of the performance space. They are to be commended for tackling this ambitious project. Hopefully the sound will be improved for the remaining performances – 8.00 pm Friday and Saturday nights until 15 August.

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