Tag Archives: Steven Dalziel

REVIEW: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – Eastwood Park Theatre

How to Suceed in Business eastwood park6Glasgow Music Theatre really are a class apart: a happy hybrid of professional and trained performers and talented amateurs, each production team, from creative to performer, is built from scratch with the best talent on offer for each show – and boy does it show.

How to Suceed in Business eastwood park2It’s hard to overstate the quality of GMT’s output: their fearless artistic choices and innovative ideas are supported by excellent execution. Their latest offering is the little seen How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert’s take on Shepherd Mead’s 1952 satirical self-help book of the same name. Described in the publicity material as Guys and Dolls meets Mad Men it has familiar echoes of both.

How to Suceed in Business eastwood park3It’s the early 60’s, armed with a ‘How to’ book, a bright, young window cleaner J. Pierrepont Finch, that’s F.I.N.C.H. as he likes to remind us, embarks on an ambitious climb to the top of the corporate ladder. With much manipulation and mischief he manages to get to the top of the tree with alarming speed. Genuinely laugh-out-loud funny and full of innocent charm, this is a joyous piece of escapist entertainment bordering on the surreally silly at times. With tunes such as “A Secretary is not a Toy”, “Brotherhood of Man” and the hysterical “Old Ivy” it’s impossible not to be thoroughly charmed by the whole endeavour. The action cracks along at great speed and there’s so much to catch the eye that the audience’s attention never wavers.

How to Suceed in Business eastwood park4In a cast so talented it seems churlish to single out any particular performers for praise but there are some real stand-outs here: Neil Campbell as our (anti) hero Finch, Steven Dalziel (Bud Frump) and Johnny Collins (J.B. Biggley) are supremely talented and light up the stage at every entrance. The only weak link in the chain is Kelly Johnston as love-interest Rosemary Pilkington who struggles with keeping to the melody at times and has an air of immaturity about her performance, unfortunately highlighted by the supreme quality of the rest of the main cast and ensemble.

How to Suceed in Business eastwood park5Worth noting too, is Marion Baird’s innovative choreography, clearly evoking the original (uncredited) work by Bob Fosse, it is a joy to watch and beautifully executed by the cast.

This is a real treat – innocent, exuberant, good old-fashioned fun for all.

How to suceed 6 At Eastwood Park until Sat 1 Feb.

For more information about GMT visit: www.glasgowmusictheatre.co.uk

Photography by Abbie Mead and Colin Johnston

REVIEW: The Boys in the Photograph – Cottiers Kelvinbridge, Glasgow

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The Boys in the Photograph is a reworking of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton musical The Beautiful Game,set in the troubled Northern Ireland of 1969. The musical is the story of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation and follows the fortunes of a group of teenagers, all members of a local football team, and their friends.

Under the watchful eye of team coach Father O’Donnell, John and Del both show enough promise to pursue careers as professional footballers. When they find love they become swept up in the events that engulf their community and, as time passes, each has to decide whether or not to follow their hearts.

A show about the northern Irish troubles isn’t the likely choice for a musical, nor a typical subject for your average evening’s entertainment but that is exactly what The Boys in the Photograph is – and boy does it pack an emotional punch.

Unlike its short-lived existence on the West End stage, this production, here in Glasgow by Motherwell College’s BA(Hons) Musical Theatre graduating class, has found a home and an audience with whom its themes of sectarianism and bigotry still resonate.

This is a clever choice of material to showcase the talents of the actors, avoiding the well-worn classic fare as well as the recent preponderance of Stephen Sondheim and Jason Robert Brown productions, allowing as it does the opportunity for powerful and highly emotive acting as well as strong vocal skills. Packed with memorable and vibrant songs from heart-rending ballads to stirring Irish anthems, it would be a hard heart indeed who failed to be moved this piece.

The show benefits from a strong ensemble that deserves credit for effectively supporting the central cast. In the pivotal role of John Kelly, Martin Murphy not only delivers a perfectly judged performance of powerful emotion but also demonstrates fine vocal talent. As Mary, Fiona Harris subtly travels the path from spirited anti-violence protestor to dispirited wife and Bobby Weston turns in a highly-charged performance as Thomas, the classic angry young man blinded by a cause. Credit must also go to Steven Dalziel who deftly handles the only moments of comic relief as the tragic Ginger and the strong-voiced Gill Beattie as Christine.

The spare staging and costume design, also deserve mention, allowing the focus to be firmly on the cast, yet perfectly conveying a sense of place and time. 

I can’t overstate how powerfully this material speaks to its audience or the quality of this cast – the audience remained transfixed from start to finish. This is an arresting tale, expertly realised and richly deserving acclaim – leaving a lasting impression long after the final note has rung out. Hopefully this won’t be the last we see of this musical or this fine cast.