Saturday, 29 June 2019

AMATEUR THEATRE REVIEW: Poptastic: The Musical - Theatr Clwyd, Mold.

Poptastic is not a musical I had ever come across before. It revolves around the story of Charlie Fosdyke and her dreams to become the next big thing. It's jam-packed with lots of big singing and dancing numbers but none that really stand out.

The performance was undertaken by the Trap Door Theatre Performing Arts Students. A group of young people aged from 4 to 19. They all gave their best and had obviously worked hard to create the performance. Unfortunately technical issues impeded their performance. Various sound cues were missed and quite often radio mics failed. This was a real shame as it meant on a few occasions the audience missed the dialogue on stage.

The set was minimal and functional. It was made up of a bed and cardboard juke box downstage right and a clock and laptop downstage left. Upstage there was a live band in a gazeebo and a stepped stage. The set didn’t add to the performance, it was clearly hand-made, cardboard cut-outs and in all honesty the size of the Anthony Hopkins Stage swallowed the set pieces and left it looking bare.

The highlight of the performance had to be the number done by the youngest of the theatre company. A group of 4 and 5 year olds danced their socks off to “Can’t Stop The Feeling” by Justin Timberlake. The number certainly brought the cute factor and allowed the little ones to really show off their dancing skills.

The group called The Cherry PopTarts provided a comic relief. They used flamboyant gestures to show their stereotypical girly girl group. The airhead motif worked well and gave the group an air of a sixties girl band while still keeping a comedic element. Their “You’re Always On The Phone “ number was well choreographed and again gave a sense of a sixties girl group. The girls were all in sync and had some lovely harmonies at times.

The Snake Oil duet were clearly the best singers of the whole company. Their song “Seismic Shudder” displayed a fantastic vocal range and really excellent harmonies. In my opinion the duo were rather underused by the company and clearly needed more then the two songs they had.

The actor playing Godfrey Tunemangier had the whole audience squirming. He was the stereotypical slimy manager, out to get whatever he can and make as much money as possible. The part was played to a tee and after his “I’m A Rich Man” number had the audience hating him like a pantomime villain. This hate was amplified when the whole performance led to the climax of the play, the fall from grace of Charlie Fosdyke, and the smack Godfrey gives to Charlie when she can’t perform at her concert. There was an audible intake of breath from the audience and it was clear everyone was shocked by the actions. The smack was timed perfectly and the young performers had clearly rehearsed and choreographed the moment to create the maximum shock value.

Overall the performance was what you would expect from a young persons' theatre company. The performers had clearly tried their best and I’m sure there were plenty of proud parents in the audience. The performers had obviously enjoyed the experience and it was clear there were some very talented people among the cast. The show had a sweetness and there were definitely some very cute moments provided by the younger section of the theatre company. All in all an enjoyable experience.

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