JUST in case it was needed, last week’s presentation of Kiss Me Kate provided yet another potent reminder of why Littlehampton must retain its seafront theatre facility, writes Brian Shewry.
The Windmill Entertainment Centre again played host to Littlehampton Musical Comedy Society, whose members gave performances of the great Cole Porter show from Wednesday to Saturday (August 7-10).
And what a triumph it was, with the large audiences treated to a lavishly-mounted and expertly performed musical interpretation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.
And it seemed quite right and proper that the company should be doing it in a venue that has been their home for nearly half-a-century.
So chairman Chris Blanchard-Cooper neatly summed it up by making this appeal in the programme brochure, “Please keep supporting all the local amateur productions still using the Windmill.
“Spread the word that it is still open” (in spite of rumours to the contrary), “still in use and much needed by the town and its followers.”
Kiss Me, Kate, a vintage Broadway classic revived recently with great success at Chichester Festival Theatre, is a witty and sophisticated entertainment.
It takes some skill and enterprise for an amateur group to pull it off, but LMCS, I would say, was completely successful.
This achievement was partly due to a superior set, beautiful costumes, a very capable accompaniment by musicians in the pit, under the direction of Daniel Paine, and incredibly vivid direction by the vastly experienced Carolyn Bennett.
But perhaps most credit should be accorded to the two leading players, who had to carry much responsibility on their shoulders.
Tim Kimber and Julie Waite really set the stage on fire with their portrayal of egotistical actor-producer Fred Graham and his far-from-submissive ex-wife Lilli.
Brought together just to play the battling lead characters Petruchio and Katharine in a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew, they continued to spar, physically and verbally, on stage as well as behind the scenes of the show-within-a-show.
This battle of the sexes was conducted by the Kimber/Waite teaming with full-blooded conviction, highlighted by his recollection of past loves in the hilarious Where is the Life That Late I Led? and her venomous attack on the male sex in I Hate Men.
The supporting cast had much to live up to but managed bravely and well, with Becky Edmonds displaying a forceful personality as the flirtatious Lois/Bianca and newcomer Ben Michael quite engaging as her gambling-addicted boyfriend Bill Calhoun/Lucentio.
Mark Roberts and Bruce Stewart had a fun time as the stagestruck gangsters sent to collect Bill’s gambling debt and couldn’t fail to please with the Broadway show-stopper Brush Up Your Shakespeare.
Smaller roles were capably taken by Stevie Bennett, James Walton, John Spicer, Craig Harbor and Mark Barnes, while a team of dancers dazzled in a routine set for Too Darn Hot by Carolyn Bennett (as choreographer) and her assistant Charlotte Reader.