Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

Boots made for singin' 'n 'dancin

Oklahoma!picture of flyer for Oklahoma

The Manor Operatic Society

Sutton Coldfield Town Hall


BEFORE this rousing Rodgers & Hammerstein musical hit the stage the company had to send out an urgent appeal for cowboy boots, but they are certainly putting their heart and soul into a sparkling show.

If any of the footwear was borrowed it must be a good fit judging by the confidence displayed by the cast as they dance and sing their way through a string of memorable songs.

In this tale of rivalry between cowboys and farmers, love stories, humour and a touch of menace, Barry Styles and Barbara Hayward are the perfect match in the lead roles of Curly and Laurey who are smitten with each other but too stubborn to admit it.

In the big numbers like People Will Say We’re in Love and The Surrey with the Fringe on top, the pair are excellent, and the whole company deliver a powerful finale with Oklahoma!

Styles also impresses in his clashes with the smouldering hired hand Jud Fry, convincingly played by Paul Roberts, and their duet, Pore Jud is Daid, when Curly explains to his apparent love rival how much better he would look as a corpse, is a hoot.

Just one point about the Stetson our hero wears, however. Was he fitted for it before that impressive curly wig arrived in the post?  Looks a might small to me, pardner!

What an outstanding performance from Andy Hooper as Will Parker, the young cowpoke whose prospective father-in-law has promised him his daughter’s hand the moment he has amassed 50 dollars, but just when he is about to grab his gal the cash somehow slips from his grasp.

And Beth Willis is a real joy playing Ado Annie, the girl he loves but who can’t say no, thinks she is in love with Will but can’t resist the smooth-talking Persian peddler Ali Hakim who likes the ladies, though not necessarily with wedding bells in view.

Lynne Ridge produces some neatly timed humour as the persistent peddler. He likes to show the ladies a Persian ‘hello’ and ‘farewell’....especially the farewell version if they get a shade too clingy or their fathers promise him a dose of buckshot from their double barrels.

Good contributions, too, from Susan Bushby (Aunt Eller), Eric Jones (Ike), Lia Cadman (Gertie Cummings) and George Fletcher (Andrew Carnes) in a show produced and directed by Nick Hardy with Ian Hayward’s excellent musical direction and Maggie Moriarty’s choreography. To  03-05-14

Paul Marston 

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