Friday, 22 October 2021

Enthusiasm there for all to see

I HAVE been trying to think of a word to describe this year’s production by the

I HAVE been trying to think of a word to describe this year’s production by the Madelaine School of Dancing on May 2 and 3, and I think ‘happy’ sums it up perfectly.

Happiness is contagious and the smiles, talent and enthusiasm of the dancers from the Wargrave school infected the audience at Bearwood College Theatre near Wokingham.

About 200 dancers aged three to 70-something performed 34 dance routines involving more than 400 hand-made costumes created by a 30-strong wardrobe team, supported by a backstage and front-of-house crew of another 30, all brought together by Madelaine Kelly.

Despite so many routines the production was flawless, starting with You Should be Dancing, performed by those aged 10 to 12, who returned joyously with Welcome to the Sixties and a medley from the musical Oliver.

The GCSE dancers delivered They Kept the Home Fires Burning, including a re-enactment of death from poison gas in the Wilfred Owen poem Dulce et Decorum Est, admirably portraying the horror and futility of war. I have to make special mention of Celia Shutter and Rhian Percival’s elegant interpretation of Caribbean Blue.

The second part began with the heartwarming Dance of the Snowflakes and I loved the Spanish theme to Hotel California and the energy and enthusiasm of Candy Man.

Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 was enhanced by a secretarial theme and three swivel chairs, used with dazzling timing, while the frenetic Irish dancing in Lord of the Dance, was a delight too.

The production also had tap dancing grandmothers, mothers and children performing together, and my only criticism is of the audience members who left immediately after seeing their little one perform, without even waiting for the interval.

Review: Joe Haynes

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