Music and passion are always in fashion at the Copacabana says Barry Manilow's lyrics. And they were in Peterbrook Players latest musical too. It is loosely based on the crooner's pulsating Latin hit of the same name. A tale of showgirls, gangsters and love. The story line is often misunderstood by some audience members until the very end when they realize the whole thing has been a dream. The orchestra under MD Paula Whitehouse set the tone and the standard for the evening with the first notes of overture, what a great sound from them, and how they enjoyed the swinging score and upbeat tuneful music.
But it is the spectacle of feather-draped sequin showgirls, and choreography as bright as the glittering costumes that are the backbone of this show. There was rumba, samba, tap, even a balletic bolero, in numbers that tested the mixed abilities of an "am dram" cast. I’m pleased to say Choreographer Suzanne Ballard, leading by example, coached the best out of her troops - some of whom brought their dance skills to the fore, while others im sure were stretched to new levels. Richard Perks impressed with a fine singing voice in the role of singer -songwriter Tony, with Penny Simpkins as his dream girl Lola,who combined a fabulous voice with silky moves .the audience including myself laughed out loud at the” Audition montage” amongst my favourites was also “Man Wanted “and of course Tony’s “Sweet Heaven “(singing this all the way home) Praise too for the sparkling supporting roles of Jennifer Cole as the bubbly cigarette girl Gladys who’s vast resume of appearances on stage did not compromise the less experienced and Andrew Alton as the brash,abrupt,bossy but comedic night club owner Sam Silver. Always such a good performer at any role he plays. Dave Shuttleworth rightfully so ,extracted panto baddie boos with his performance as rival Rico .Jo Smith as his wife, playing an ageing star in Havana's Tropicana club who is danger of being ousted by young incomer Lola ,played her part with venom, humour and compassion in equal measure. Special mention must go to Caroline Bickerton as the costumes were AMAZING ,the audience were unaware if there was any issues with the frenetic and crowded backstage with all those glittering and fast costume changes, congratulations to your team and to the scenic crew who were well drilled and timed all those changes. Plus you get extra points in my book for matching shoes, truly spectacular.
This well cast production had pulled out all the stops. This was a real company show with all putting their hearts, souls, and feet into overdrive and you must all feel immense achievement in pulling off such a professional show full of champagne bubbles, glitter, and razzmatazz. Thank you once again for your hospitality, it was an excellent production. Well done.