Review: Hello, Dolly!, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, until November 15
Thursday 13th November 2008
New Earswick Musical Society’s production of Hello, Dolly! is a mixed bag; it has moments of theatrical brilliance but, at times, the nerves and mistakes bring the performance crashing back down to earth with a bitter reminder of its amateur status.
Living in New York at the turn of the century, Dolly is a self-professed meddler, choreographing the romances of her friends and clients. Determined to utilise her matchmaking talents to catch herself a husband, in the form of the very rich Mr Vandergelder, she sets out to orchestrate her own happy ending.
Carol Richardson, playing the lead role of Dolly, gives a talented vocal performance. Her strong operatic voice, however, sometimes overshadows the sweet simplicity of the musical score. Stephen Tearle outshines the cast in terms of acting ability in his portrayal of the haughty Mr Vandergelder.
The wonderfully innovative set is transformed between scenes to create no less than ten different locations, perfectly capturing the atmosphere of a bustling 1890s New York.
The dancing is limited, but members of the chorus are well directed in their group choreography. Their vocals are not always strong, but what they lack in volume, they more than make up for in enthusiasm.
The highlight of the show is the comic duo, Cornelius and Barnaby, played by Steve Padfield and Alex Phillips, providing the light-hearted relief and good humour the musical is known for. The talented Charlotte Kelly, playing Minnie, also stands out with her wonderful acting and smooth, pretty vocals.
The standard of acting is generally high, with the exception of the New York accent, which often resembles a hybrid painfully closer to being New Yorkshire.
The orchestra gives lively performances of songs such as Put On Your Sunday Clothes and Hello, Dolly.
Preview: Hello, Dolly!, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, November 11 to 15
Friday 7th November 2008
New Earswick Musical Society’s autumn production of Jerry Herman’s exultant musical Hello, Dolly! opens at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, on Tuesday.
Directed by Ann McCreadie, with musical direction by Don Pears, the show stars Carol Richardson in the meddlesome title role of New York widow and matchmaker Dolly Levi.
This time last year, Steve Tearle was dreaming of becoming a rich man as Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof; now those dreams come true as the half-a-millionaire merchant owner Horace Vandergelder. Steve Padfield, last seen in New Earswick colours as Bill Snibson, opposite Carol’s Sally, in Me And My Girl in April, is cast as chief clerk Cornelius Hackl.
Cornelius will “only take a moment” to fall in love with milliner Irene Molloy, played by Joanna Hartley. Meanwhile, younger players will be developing their skills in the comedy roles: Alex Phillips, who excelled as the Artful Dodger in Oliver!, now plays the long-suffering clerk Barnaby Tucker and Charlotte Bell will be Mrs Molloy’s assistant, Minnie Fay; Melissa Boyd, Ermengarde; and Tegan Fox, Ernesrina.
Carol Richardson, lead actress and publicity officer, reveals that the society has triumphed after the usual struggle to attract sufficient men.
“Even though rough-and-tough rugby players have started to don sequinned tops and learn how to dance in Strictly Come Dancing, we’ve still found some reluctance among men to join us and get in touch with their ‘artistic side.
“Fortunately, we’ve successfully persuaded some brave ‘novices’ to have a go and they’ve been enjoying rehearsals and practising like crazy,” she says.
By Charles Hutchinson