VENUE: Lawrence Batley Theatre
By David Lockwood
Huddersfield Light Opera Company has gone for a safe and sound option this year.
Carousel is undoubtedly one of the best to come out of the Rodgers and Hammerstein stable and, although there is no denying it is starting to get that dated ’50s feel, it is certainly well tried and tested and will surely prove a popular choice for traditional musical fans.
The score is jammed full of well-known tunes and, with a storyline involving marital unrest, single parent families and social status, is topically more prevalent today than ever.
The show, directed and choreographed by Pam Strickland, is guaranteed to be a winner for the Society this week.
The company has unveiled one definite winner in the shape of the delightful Holly Comber, playing her first leading role as Julie Jordan, the young mill worker who falls for roustabout fairground barker Billy Bigelow.
It can sometimes be a ‘wishy-washy’ sort of role, but not in Holly’s hands as she displayed every nuance in the guilish way she won over Billy in the opening scene, leading up to the emotive If I Loved You, which she sung beautifully.
She maintained a presence and depth of character right through to the climactic end which always tears at the heartstrings.
Opposite her, Steve Redfern provided just the right sort of macho posturing and was very impressive in the hugely demanding Soliloquy and The Highest Judge Of All, although sometimes it was difficult to see him in the latter number due to the ‘heavenly smoke’ which was, perhaps, a tad overdone.
Another young performer to watch out for is Holly’s younger brother, Chris Comber, who actually made Enoch Snow a believable character, which is no mean feat given the dialogue.
Dom Moccia as Jigger Craigin could perhaps have been a bit more sinister and menacing, while Gemma Clarkson was suitably scatter-brained as Julie’s naive friend, Carrie Pipperidge.
The company welcomed back Diane Robinson to handle the show’s signature number, You’ll Never Walk Alone.
There were also some good cameo performances from experienced performers like Jayne Davison as carousel owner Mrs Mullins and Paul Bennett as the Starkeeper/Dr Seldon.
Anne Levitt is the musical director and Steve Tetlow the producer for the show which runs at 7.15pm until Saturday, with a matinee at 2.15pm on Saturday.