Ariel performers take a satirical look at the world of musical theatre

Forbidden Broadway
Forbidden Broadway

Forbidden Broadway, The Hawth studio, Crawley, February 23-24

Ariel Company Theatre’s production of Forbidden Broadway delighted audiences at The Hawth last month.

Director Nicci Hopson promised “lots of laughs” and the talented cast did not disappoint.

The opening number, ‘Forbidden Broadway’, was a herald for the delights to come; impeccably sung by the quartet of David Harris, Tom Carey, Gemma Peel and Jo Idle, the audience knew they were in for a treat.

And it was a treat that kept on giving. The whole show was a testimony to the richness that Ariel has brought to musical theatre in Sussex. Students young and old, tutors young and older, together with lead performers from past productions, collaborated to bring us this satirical look at some of the most popular musical songs of the past 50 years.

The energy and enthusiasm of the junior cast members, in their supporting roles, matched the passion and talent of those slightly older.

The audience delighted in songs that gently mocked the musical theatre hierarchy, from Cameron Mackintosh to Stephen Sondheim. David Goodall displayed his versatility playing diverse characters from Jean Valjean to Sondheim himself to Edna from Hairspray. While throughout the whole show Tom Carey, Harry Simpson, Alex Emery and Kyle Brown gave master classes on how the supporting roles can steal the show – intentionally.

The revue style numbers flowed effortlessly into each other and every song was sung with the commitment and class that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. It is impossible to name all the cast but Abi Paige’s ‘Glossy Fosse’ from Chicago and Karen Brown’s ‘Liza One Note’ epitomised the talent on show. It became hard to remember that we were in Crawley and not Las Vegas. The Les Misérables parody had the audience whooping as the whole cast imagined the revolving stage while mocking the angst of modern musicals.

There were cameos by the whole cast, including director Nicci Hopson, who captivated the audience with her hilarious impression of a 30-year-old Annie who has yet to secure another role, while Anna Hadden’s ‘On my phone’ instead of Les ‘Misérables classic ‘On my own’ may prove unforgettable when listening to the real show.

In the programme, Nicci said she hopes this production “dispels the myth that Ariel takes itself too seriously”.

But what this production does is promote the fact that Ariel grows talent and performers that love to perform.

From the youngest to the oldest you could see the enjoyment and the love of musical theatre that was felt, appreciated and reciprocated by the audience.

Contributed by Ariel.

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