Tag Archives: Brendan Lynch

REVIEW: The Music Man – Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

Runway Theatre Company again prove their worthy position at the top of the tree of amateur companies in Glasgow, reviving Meredith Willson’s Tony and Grammy Award-winning, little-seen, musical theatre classic, The Music Man, with aplomb. A timely choice too, with the announcement that in 2020, Hugh Jackman will lead the first Broadway revival in nearly two decades.

It’s 1912 and the people of sleepy River City, Iowa really don’t know what’s in store for them when smooth talking swindler Harold Hill rolls into town. However, Hill’s plans to con the innocent townsfolk are foiled when his heart finally starts to rule his head.

Old-fashioned in the nicest possible way, this is a light-hearted, undemanding tale with a bunch of quirky characters and two of musical theatre’s most enduring tunes: the oom-pah-pah-ing 76 Trombones and the much-loved classic ballad, Till There Was You.

Its old-fashionedness is both its strength and its weakness. The public’s appetite for nostalgia is sated with the homely, feel-good storyline, the period costumes and score. However, the hokey dialogue has aged badly and the heightened characterisations required by the script, render it too caricatured at times. That said, any criticisms of this production are entirely at the hands of the source material not the actors or musicians.

This is a show with a rousing chorus, the ensemble fill the auditorium with the biggest, most glorious sound you will have the pleasure to hear, and the quartet comprising Tom Russell, Ross Nicol, Cameron Leask and Bob McDevitt are just heavenly sounding. Brendan Lynch (Harold Hill), once again proves to be an adept leading man and a true triple threat, and Catherine Mackenzie (Marian Paroo) is a beautifully toned soprano. The costumes are of an excellent quality. The set and lighting are functional and easy on the eye and the transitions, especially in a theatre with no fly tower, are smooth and pacy. The child actors, of which there are many, are drilled to perfection as are the dancers – it’s unusual in an amateur production to have such universal quality.

A warm and comforting and very welcome blast from the past that will leave audience members of all ages thoroughly entertained.

Runs until Saturday 18 May 2019

 

REVIEW: Curtains – Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

Written by the team that brought you Cabaret and Chicago, Kander and Ebb’s rarely seen musical murder mystery Curtains is a sparkling little gem of a show.

Unlike its illustrious stablemates, Curtains doesn’t have the darkness and decadence of these two musical theatre masterpieces, but what it does have is a whole load of heart and so much going for it that the two hour forty minute running time flies past in the blink of an eye. Helped of course, by the supremely talented cast in Runway Theatre Company’s production.

It’s 1959, Boston, backstage at Robbin’ Hood of the Old West, a would-be Broadway blockbuster were it not for the dramatically, vocally and terpsichorally challenged leading lady, Jessica Cranshaw. Collective sighs of relief abound when she’s murdered during the opening night curtain call, but with so many suspects the crime looks impossible to solve. Into the fray comes community theatre veteran and police lieutenant Frank Cioffi. Believing the perpetrator to still be in the theatre, he commandeers the building and sets about finding the culprit while offering a few words of wisdom on how to turn this theatrical turkey into a sure-fire hit.

Referencing a raft of shows from the Golden Age of Musicals; with Fred and Ginger dance numbers, nods to Oklahoma and Annie Get Your Gun, heck there’s even a showboat onstage at the end, this is a hark back to another era, where plucky showgirls get their big break, tough showbiz mommas get things done and true love always finds a way.

There are some fine tunes too, Show People, Coffee Shop Nights and I Miss the Music in particular stand out and there’s a script packed full of witty one-liners (best delivered by Will Pollock as English luvvie theatre director Christopher Belling), all adding up to a thoroughly satisfying night at the theatre.

The cast are, as always from Runway, top-notch. Brendan Lynch’s Lieutenant Cioffi has the perfect mix of wide-eyed wonder at this crazy showbiz world he so longs to be part of, and eagle-eyed detective out to get his man (or woman). Lynch is the personification of a triple threat and rises to the demands of the role with ease. He is more than ably assisted by his fellow cast members, the aforementioned Pollock is a shining star and his razor sharp delivery of the pithy barbs, hits the mark every time, Aileen Johnston delivers a great big Ethel Merman-esque turn as producer Carmen Bernstein and Holly Steel should be applauded for pitching her chorus girl with ambitions of bigger things, Bambi, just perfectly, a role it would have been so easy to over-play.

This is all you could want from a musical: the big tunes, the big laughs, the fabulous production numbers and the great cast all add up to a fabulous night’s entertainment. If you want a perfect piece of escapist fun, then look no further.

Curtains runs until Saturday 14 May at Eastwood Park Theatre.

REVIEW: Singin’ in the Rain – Kings Theatre, Glasgow, Glasgow Light Opera Club

If ever there was a musical that could wash away those impending winter blues then Singin’ in the Rain is that show. How can anyone fail to be entertained by musical classics such as Make ’em Laugh, You Are My Lucky Star, You Were Meant for Me and of course the magical title song? This tale of the dawn of the “talkies” is one of the best-loved musicals of all time.

Glasgow Light Opera Club bring a touch of stardust and good old-fashioned theatrical class to the King’s Theatre in this, their latest production. Giving the central performance of the night as Don Lockwood, Brendan Lynch is a revelation. This role requires the classic  “triple threat” – an actor, singer and dancer, and outside the professional theatre world that’s hard to find. Lynch’s voice is so utterly evocative of the era, that if you closed your eyes you’d swear you were listening to a 78 rpm record on a wind up gramophone. When you add in immaculate footwork executing the imaginative choreography and finely tuned acting, you can’t fail to see that Lynch truly is a star – the stage only fully lights up when he’s there.

Providing the high comedy moments with a deft touch are Suzanne Shanks as silent movie diva Lina Lamont and Aaron Mooney as Don’s life-long side-kick Cosmo Brown, Shank’s ear-splitting rendition of What’s Wrong With Me raises the biggest cheer of the night and praise must also go to the dancers who provide a touch of sparkle and polish with their Busby Berkeley-inspired routines.

If you want to be transported to a time when stars were stars and glamour and elegance were king then Singin’ in the Rain is the show to take you there, and I dare you not to skip through the next puddle you find humming the famous theme tune.

Runs at the King’s Theatre Glasgow until Saturday ticket details here