Monday, 23 March 2015

Oklahoma, Lowry Theatre Salford 21/3/15

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma is one of those musicals where you will know most of the songs, even if, like me, you have never seen it all the way through on stage or screen before. This new production, currently on an extensive tour of the UK, had toes tapping and hands clapping throughout the Lowry's auditorium, and delivered a delightful slice of good old fashioned entertainment.

The cast is fabulous, Belinda Lang nails Aunt Emmer's spirited matriarch, the squabbling star crossed lovers Curley (Ashley Day) and Laurey ( Charlotte Wakefield) are an excellent pairing, national treasure Gary Wilmot brings perfect comic timing to the role of peddler Ali Hakim, Nic Greenshields adds a brooding menace as the loner Jud Fry and James O'Connell's exuberant lovestruck Will Parker is a treat. My favourite role though was Lucy May Baker as Ado Annie, the girl who just 'cain't say no'. Hilarious, endearing and such an amazing voice, she almost stole the show, although the whole cast are so good ( including yet another talented Strallen) and the production so slick it is impossible for any one performer to steal it.

The live orchestra delivers the wonderful and well known score brilliantly and really adds to the show (take note War Horse on tour!) and a clever set is used to its full potential in the complex and lively dance numbers, which include some innovative haybale-ography! The costumes are also beautiful, although it must be exhausting dancing in all those layers!

Not knowing the show I was quite surprised by some of the darker elements in the story ( who knew that encouraging someone to contemplate suicide was quite so entertaining!) but they were executed well, and the Dream Ballet that rounded off the first Act was especially menacing and expertly delivered by a hard working company. Act Two contains the big crowd pleasers The Farmer and The Cowman, and of course the one we were all waiting for -  Oooooooooklahoma, which sent the audience out smiling and humming. 

I would definitely recommend this joyful energetic show to anyone who wants to chase away the blues. Tour dates can be found here.

All Photos : Pamela Raith

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