REVIEW OF LITTLEHAMPTON MUSICAL COMEDY SOCIETY’S “BLITZ!”

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Lightning flashed and thunder roared outside the Windmill Theatre on Wednesday evening, the opening night of Littlehampton Musical Comedy Society’s show BLITZ!

However, inside the theatre it was much more dramatic with professional sound effects of bombs exploding, buildings collapsing, sirens wailing, and the cacophony of noise from a community of London’s Eastenders, sheltering in the Bank underground station. The set designers, constructors and backstage crew are to be congratulated on creating such an authentic atmosphere. Also the props and costumes were outstanding.

Lionel Bart’s show, set in war-torn London, is full of both pathos and comedy, and follows the story of two families, one Jewish and one Gentile, who have adjacent stalls in Petticoat Lane market. Julie Waite, gives a truly amazing portrayal of a Jewish matriach, Mrs. Blitztein. Not only is Julie a superb actress, but also shows what a fine singing voice she has with such songs as So Tell Me and Bake a Cake. Her nemesis, fellow stallholder, Alfred Locke, is played by local G.P. Tim Kimber, who proves once again his versatility and talent, as does Bruce Stewart , cast as his pal, Ernie Nearmiss, an old contemptable with a penchant for “putting his foot in it”. Effortless Cockney accents add to the reality of the show. Inevitably, the offspring of the Blitztein and Locke families fall in love. Sophie Shepherd, as Carol Blitztein, possesses a remarkable singing voice and acting ability, as does her young lover in the show, Georgie Locke, played by Luke Martin. I predict a bright future for both these youngsters, who hope to become professional entertainers.

A stalwart of the Society, Tony Baker, is in fine voice as Mrs. Blitztein’s wayward son, Harry, and charmed the audience with his interpretation of a loveable Cockney rogue. His long-suffering girlfriend, Elsie, (Liv Collins) also possesses a remarkable all-round talent, and stage presence.

A poignant moment in the show is when the whole Company join in with a recording of Dame Vera Lynn singing The Day After Tomorrow.

The Society’s hardworking chorus barely leave the stage throughout the whole performance, and are in fine form, and mention must be given to the scene-stealing children, who are rermarkably well-rehearsed and gained well-deserved applause from the packed audience. There are lots of fine cameo roles given by Society members, too numerous to mention, who all add to the overwhelming success of this show.

Many congratulations to Director and Choreographer, Carolyn Bennett – what an achievement!Also, Musical Director, Daniel Paine, who led an accomplished band of musicians.

The whole Society combined to make Blitz!one of Littlehampton Musical Comedy Society’s greatest hits, and I am sure all members of the Society, as well as all the sell-out audiences, second Dame Vera Lynn’s personal message to the Society - “ I do wish you and your cast every success with your show. I wish you all the very best in the future and please keep performing because the theatre must not be shut down”.

The pantomime Cinderella is next of the LMCS impressive list of forthcoming productions, commencing Jan 14th, 2016.

GILL KELLY

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