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GREASE REVIEW - LOVE SHREWSBURY - JUNE 2018
A packed theatre waited to see if the extremely talented and much in demand Get You Wigle On Theatre Company, were as good with Grease as they have been with other classics in the past. The news was good they were not waiting in vain. This is a brilliantly produced, directed and performed show and delivers on every level.
You may have been aware of Get Your Wigle On for many years now and watched them as year after year, they keep delighting their audience with great shows. This one is no exception.
With a cast of thousands, well about thirty multi-talented performers, who had the ability to fill a stage with presence and exuberance, this show had the potential of either working well or failing badly. GYWO know they can do this sort of show well and they really do pull it off.
Although the cast is way too large to mention everyone it is essential that we discuss Ross Wigley just for the moment. He carried the full responsibility on his shoulders. Not only did Ross play Danny Zuko but he produced, directed and choreographed the piece, he also founded the company.
One must raise one’s titfer for a man with such skills: just one of those roles would be a massive undertaking, to complete all tasks and so expertly takes a very special theatrical brain which is exactly what Mr. Wigle has proved he has. This man has a golden career ahead and this reviewer strongly advises that if you able to see his work, then you simply should he is and will be for a long time yet, a total star.
Louise Browning as Rizzo was truly superb. She found the right level of everything. Her characterisation was spot on, her singing was utterly amazing and her movements were also so good and well rehearsed.
In fact there was an air of hard work about this show, whilst it must be fun for the cast it is apparent that they really have put the hours in to bring this show not just up to scratch but further than that with shiny brass knobs on. It is the polish in a performance that ensures the show shines through, this show does just that.
As for poor old Sandra D played by Millie Shaw, she was just as lovely as any Sandra D’s that have come across this reviewer’s path. Sandra is a character of two halves. One sweet and innocent and one good girl turns bad. Again she found exactly the right level. Not too sweet and innocent as to make you heave and not too naughty that you lost feeling for her. She was loved all the way through and Millie rather like Ross and Louise will be around for many years to come and it is essential they should keep on doing what it is they do because they work so well.
The set was a clever bit of kit again opening out into one scene then closed for another then opened again but to present a different scene. Very clever design and deceptively simple. However not a bit of it. The stage gets very full at times and it was important for the set designer not to go wild and fill the stage with a wondrous design that steals the entire space. This could be folded into itself in such a way that when space was needed it was there. One believes the best thing that one can fill a stage with is people! They are after all the talent and they should have room to do their thing. These are considerations that the set designer has to work with if the entire project is to be a success.
A successful show is truly like an iceberg, one only ever sees a third of what’s really going on. The rest is hidden; it is when you spot the hidden things that the show won’t work maybe as well as it should.
If one was to raise a noticed error, it would be the use of a mini-scooter to get a character off stage a little quicker. One is aware it was done for laughs and it got a few but it was an avoidable anachronistic mistake bearing in mind the Mini Scooter didn’t really appear until the late Nineteen-Nineties to the Twenty-Naughty’s. One wonders if it was worth it to raise a single laugh. Nothing else was anachronistic hence the scooter stuck out and could be dispensed with.
Lighting was great, creating mood and drawing attention, the follow spot operatives had their work cut out but they coped admirably as did the sound team. All of them were technically excellent.
The orchestra although never seen, are playing away throughout the show and they deserve a big, big portion of the applause that rang out above the cheering at the curtain call. They were brilliant. Pianist Matthew Hall conducted them supremely. They are an extremely competent and talented ensemble of musicians.
One always tries to pick out future stars in the crowd scenes, one looks for who is doing it and who does one believe. The truth is in this show the company are so good. Not one foot out of place not one missed song cue nothing, just their excellence. Everyone on that stage has a right to be there and has a job to do when they are there. This company passed muster with flying colours.
All in all this is a great family show. Kids love it: Mums and Dads love it and get nostalgic for the Seventies, the Grandmas and Grandads love it as it is set in the Nineteen Fifties; everyone gets something, tremendous. That is why the audience went home happy. In the foyer the buzz was good, rather like an exit poll on election night one learns a lot from the people as they leave. The feeling was that this is a great show and everyone was going home happy.
The Wiglers have a hit on their hands. As it plays all week one might strongly suggest you get along and see it it’s a great fun show.
Shropshire Live Review: Legally Blonde, Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury
Get Your Wigle On’s Legally Blonde is off to a fine start, having opened at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn last night. The musical is of course based on the 2001 film of the same name and tells the story of UCLA sorority girl, Elle Woods, who is heartbroken after her boyfriend Warner dumps her when she had been expecting a proposal. Determined to prove that she is serious enough to win him back, Elle enrols at Harvard Law School where she immediately clashes with her new peers but makes a friend in the kind teaching assistant, Emmett. Get Your Wigle On is a truly talented company, the entire cast is fantastic and, as always, the acting, vocals, and dancing are all spot on. Ross Wigley is perfect as Emmett, giving a charming performance. Emily Floyd-Riley is also hilarious and raises plenty of laughs as hairdresser, and Elle’s new confidante, Paulette. The production boasts several energetic performances which are a joy to watch thanks to the superb and slickly performed choreography. “Whipped Into Shape” is a highlight, featuring an impressive amalgamation of singing, dancing, and skipping ropes. The Delta Nu sorority Greek chorus (led by Hannah Bowen Hope Newman and Molly Jennings, in the roles of Serena Margot and Pilar) adds to the fun, bursting into scenes with upbeat numbers including “Positive” and “Bend and Snap”. There’s also great comedy in the performance of “There Right There”, which was hugely entertaining and had the audience both cheering and laughing. Bright and unabashedly feel-good, this production is great fun and absolutely does the original justice. Legally Blonde will be at Theatre Severn until Saturday, so don’t miss out and be sure to book your tickets now.
Review by: Jenna Feasy
Shrewsbury Today Review: Footloose, Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury
A stage adaptation of popular 1980s film Footloose should promise fantastic dancing and that is one of the many things audiences were treated to as Get Your Wigle On’s production of the musical opened at Theatre Severn last night.
The talented theatre company delivered once again with a fun, lively show which had the audience thoroughly entertained and cheering throughout.
The musical began with an energetic rendition of the title song Footloose, which led into the story; just as in the film, a teenager moves to the small town of Bomont where dancing has been prohibited following a tragic accident.
Ross Wigley and Hannah Bowen are brilliant in the lead roles of Ren McCormack and Ariel Moore, both giving impassioned performances.
There are wonderful moments of comedy from Adam Langford who plays Willard, and Jemma Game, Abbie Calloway, and Emily Floyd-Riley in the roles of Rusty, Wendy-Jo and Urleen, respectively. Heartfelt emotion is also delivered by not just the two leads, but Derek Willis as Reverend Moore, and Michelle Hicken as his wife, Vi.
Many of the songs performed throughout the musical are taken from the 1984 film’s soundtrack, including 80s classics such as Holding Out for a Hero and Let’s Hear It for the Boy, both of which were highlights with superb vocals that filled the auditorium and performances that involved hilarious comedic moments.
Finally, the dancing was every bit as impressive as the acting and singing, with eye-catching choreography being performed well throughout, in numbers such as I’m Free/Heaven Help Me and Still Rockin’.
Footloose is on at Theatre Severn each night until Saturday, when there will also be a matinee performance; with a great, multi-talented cast bringing it to life, the show is absolutely worth checking out.
J & PR LTD Review: Hairspray, Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury
You can’t stop the beat in Shropshire as Get Your Wigle On present a high energy version of the Broadway musical Hairspray at Theatre Severn this week.
A crowd full of support for the local actors, singers and musicians enjoyed a bold and fun opening night last night – which ended with a dance for all the audience.
Robyn Marsh put in a faultless display as Tracy Turnblad in the 1960s musical full of big hair, big dresses and big songs which looked to prove that race, size or popularity are no issue.
Director and choreographer Ross Wigley – who also plays the role of Link Larkin – has put together an enthusiastic cast who have clearly spent hours in rehearsals to take Shropshire to 1962 Baltimore.
It’s hard to believe members of this amateur group may still be in school studying for exams before turning into American – with convincing accents! – stars each evening.
The story of stardom and romance for lovable plus-size teen Tracy Turnblad was enjoyed by school children, parents and grandparents in a mixed audience who gave a standing ovation when it finished.
Particular praise too for the tap dancing talent, Lotty Holder who plays Penny Pingleton, Adam Langford who plays Seaweed and the incredible voice of Motor Mouth Maybel – played by Diane Drummond.
The only unfortunate part of the show was an issue with sound which left me finding it difficult to follow what was being said or the words to some of the songs, but hopefully this can be corrected for all other audiences to enjoy.
So if you fancy dancing, wiggling in your seat or at least foot tapping for an evening, Hairspray will do it.
A CHRISTMAS STORY - NOVEMBER 2016
The latest offering from Get Your Wigle On, “A Christmas Story: The Musical”, has now opened in Shrewsbury and will be at Theatre Severn until Sunday. Get Your Wigle On’s A Christmas Story: The Musical The production is not only full of Christmas cheer but also the UK premiere of the musical, which is based on the 1980s film of the same name. “A Christmas Story: The Musical” tells the tale of Ralphie Parker, a young boy living in Midwest USA, and his one desire – an “official red ryder range model carbine action bb gun” for Christmas. The only obstacle in his way is his mother’s insistence that he’ll shoot his eye out, so Ralphie takes it upon himself to try and convince his father, teacher, and even Santa Claus just why he needs the rifle. The musical’s story is simple but brought to life by a talented and enthusiastic cast – the performances are full of character and the vocals and choreography are as impressive as ever. A particular highlight was Emily Floyd-Riley’s show-stopping tap dance number, which drew a well-deserved applause and several cheers. For fun, festive, family entertainment, be sure to book your tickets for “A Christmas Story: The Musical” at Theatre Severn
Review by: Jenna Feasey
9 TO 5 - MARCH 2016
Get Your Wigle On have done it again; the talented company’s latest production, 9 to 5: The Musical, is slick and professional as ever. The vocals are spectacular, the acting impressive, and the dancing perfectly synchronised. From start to finish the show is lively and enthusiastic, not once losing energy or momentum. 9 to 5: The Musical tells the story of three unappreciated, underestimated office workers, Violet Judy and Doralee, and how they come to kidnap their sexist CEO employer. Though the action takes place in 1979, the message the show delivers is still very much relevant today. Emily Riley and Hannah Bowen are superb as Violet, Judy, and Doralee, delivering performances that are hilarious, moving, and show great comedic talent, whilst James Archer is thoroughly entertaining and wonderfully slimy as their chauvinistic boss, Franklin Hart. As for the music, each and every song of the musical is performed with skill, enthusiasm and energy and there are several highlights. ‘One of the Boys’, performed by Emily Riley, is a show-stopping number complete with mesmerising choreography, whilst Hannah Bowen wowed the audience with the stunning ‘Get Out and Stay Out’. The hysterical ‘Heart to Hart’ led by Jemma Game also raised plenty of laughs. A special mention must also go to the fantastic accompaniment of the orchestra, which complemented the show perfectly. Get Your Wigle On’s 9 to 5: The Musical is a true crowd-pleaser, drawing plenty of laughs and cheers throughout and earning a well deserved standing ovation come the end. Infectiously feel-good and performed to a truly professional standard, the show is quite simply a triumph.
Review by: Jenna Feasey
Shropshire Star Review: Cats, Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury
One thing’s for sure – Shropshire is bursting with young theatrical talent that would seem right on any West End stage
Get Your Wigle On has gathered together a large cast of youngsters, all under 19, to put on an amateur production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury.
Directors Ross Wigley and James Broxton have pulled together an incredibly talented cast and Cats is the perfect vehicle to let dozens of youngsters shine.
The two-night production is something the performers should be proud of as it exudes tremendous energy with great singing and well choreographed dance sequences.
Robyn Marsh in particular is stunning as Grizabella, producing a spell-binding performance of the show’s hit song, Memory. She brought tremendous presence and maturity to the role.
Meanwhile, Mr Mistoffelees allowed Ollie Daly-Smith the chance to reveal a distinctive voice that would suit any musical role while his performance of Rum Tum Tugger was also well polished. Alice Young as Demeter and Meg Jobling as Bomalurina also put in impressive vocal performances in their duet Macavity: The Mystery Cat.
In truth it seems a little mean to single out certain performers as the cast is so strong with each singer producing wonderful performances, but Nicholas Jones stood out as Munkustrap as did Danielle Scott and Alex Locket as Rumpleteaser and Mungojerry who both showed great comic timing, while Emelie Curtis revealed a stunning voice as Griddlebone.
Cats is not the easiest musical to stage and this was a very polished production.
It is a shame the stage was not a little bigger as some of the more intricate dance sequences became a little too crowded.
Get Your Wigle On’s next production, Les Miserables, will be performed by the Teen Musical Theatre Group, all aged between 15 and 19.
Cats will also be performed today at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. And, in keeping with the cats theme, members of Shropshire Cat Rescue will be at the theatre to put the spotlight on their work.
By Judith Sanders
Get Your Wigle On - Whistle Down The Wind. Theatre Severn. Thurs 12th July to Saturday 14th (Saturday Matinee 2.30)
It takes a very brave company and a confident cast to take on what is probably one of the lesser known musicals from the pen of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Whistle Down the Wind.
Get your Wigle on again fulfilled their objectives and left a fair sized theatre audience happy and pleased as was seen at the end with the raptuous applause that they received at the finale.
Telling the story of three children who find Jesus in their barn. Well that's who he says he is, he is on the run from prison and when they discover him, the children believe he is Jesus Christ. Well, all with the exception of Poor Baby, played extremely well by Peter Balmer, who saw through it, although his protestations went largely unnoticed. One read this as an allegory suggesting in the end that god is in us all, and evil can never be allowed to triumph over good. Sweet message for those who believe.
Jim Steinman wrote the lyrics and fans will already understand his theatricality. If you imagine Meat Loaf’s album, Bat out of Hell and Bonnie Tyler’s, Total eclipse of the Heart you will get the idea of how big these show songs are. The Wigle’s proved once again they have the talent and the voices to carry off these triumphs. To see this show done badly would be quite an ordeal. But using the safe pair of hands analogy, thy didn’t falter in their excellence.
The Wigles also give children a chance and treat them with respect and nuture them until the talent that’s in there comes flooding out. With singing one can not start too young as Poppy Moelwyn-Williams and Sophie Bowen proved. They earned their place on the stage and proved the director was right for including them. And of course they stole the hearts of the audience.
Having said that the youngsters all put in an excellent day at the office and no one but no one should not have been there.
James Broxton as the escaped prisoner was excellent. He has a very, very big voice with an alarmingly good range. His low notes and high notes held the strength of a true pro. Overall that was the pattern as all voices were massive and coped beautifully with the gruelling schedule.
But on the subject of big voices one was instantly struck by the power Swallow’s (Katie Edwards) beautiful tones. She had the lion’s share of the singing and handled all of it wonderfully she has great stage presence and if the Wigles lose her to the London Stage soon one wouldn’t be remotely surprised. There is not that many singers one can say that about but Miss Edwards is amongst them.
Eve Smith also made a tremendous job of the third sibling, Brat. There were many demands on her and she played up to them magically.
The local musicians that make the orchestra were a breath of fresh air and it is always nice to see the orchestra pit used. There is nothing like live music. These note perfect guys were bang on the money. It might be good however to look at reducing the drum kit it was slightly too noisy in the opening number and for a moment it became a battle of drums versus singers and of course that is not how it should work.
I am not sure transferring the narrative to America was necessary. Of course in Brian Forbes’ film of 1961, written by Keith Waterhouse and Ted Willis the charm was the Northern accents of the children. It was set in the Lakes or somewhere in the North and one was warmed by the innocence of the children recognisable from the timbre in the warm Northern voices. That charm is lost and the narrative suffers for it.
Whilst the American accents were faultless why Lloyd Webber agreed to sending this quintessentially English film over the pond one may never know. Maybe it was to attract the attention of Steinman, who knows? But one feels Lloyd Webber gave our charming story away to Broadway, where innocent charm is lost by the size of the shows. The story is a simple one after all.
That said, once again Get Your Wigle on Theatre company have delivered a beautiful casted and performed presentation. They really are rapidly becoming the greatest exponents of musical theatre and the fact that they are local is extremely exciting. One is watching them get stronger and stronger. Well done guys!
Owen J Lewis