Having seen all of the YOUtheatre offerings to date, it was with excitement that I agreed to see ‘Hot Flush’ and undertake a review of the show. In short, I was not disappointed. I was somewhat nervous being a male in the audience, given the subject matter, but my fears were for naught. What a fabulous show from minute one.
The set was perfect. Split as required into the four different situations, visibility was never a problem, and the cast of five seemed always aware of the need to perform to all members of the audience.
The first thing I noticed was the underscore, Jon Sutherland the MD did a masterful job, providing incidental music where required and a fantastic accompaniment to each number. Volume was always good, and I never felt that the singers were drowned or left floundering. Congratulations on a stunning job that was, I understand, your first engagement as a Musical Director.
In no particular order, we were presented with Myra, played by Lisa Scott. Lisa gave us a master class in a woman brought to the brink by the onset of the unmentionable, and dealing with her cheating husband. Myra’s character like all of the others is one that has both humour and pathos, and Lisa delivered both with admirable skill. Instantly likeable, it was with great delight that we learned Myra was to reconcile with her husband at the end.
We then met Sylvia, whose portrayal by Emma Pearson brought to life a woman bored of her marriage and in need of some excitement. Emma’s delivery of her songs, and enormously confident performance were a joy to watch, she made Sylvia a lot more likeable than I thought possible. A fabulous performance.
Helen, the meek and quiet widow who’s loss (by degrees) of her only daughter and her husband left her feeling useless and unwanted, was superbly played by Monica Wallis. Probably the most obviously emotional of the characters Monica gave a very subtle and thoughtful performance, she sang beautifully, and I think the auditorium was united in its delight as she met her Mr Right at the end!
Lastly, we met Jessica. Married to man who spends his life in the shed, and being pursued by an amorous vicar, Nikki Sowe delighted us with her performance. Nikki’s confident and heartfelt portrayal of a woman struggling with her weight, and the inevitable hot flushes brought howls of laughter as she attempted to fit into her jeans, and avoid the vicar! A very sweet performance from Nikki, and I commend her bravery!
Finally we were presented with countless male characters given to us by Jeff Chinnapen. Jeff was delightful in all his guises, my particular favourites being the supermarket security guard and the Chinese chemist. Jeff played up to the fact that his cameos were all performed by one person, and this did cause a certain amount of hilarity. There was definitely excitement amongst the audience to see how he would be appearing next! Jeff performed each character superbly, and his own piece to audience was delivered with aplomb. It could be said that certain scenes were stolen by his performances; such was the comic nature of his performance. It was often a lovely counterpoint to the action elsewhere on stage.
The lighting was reliable and solid, it was great to see every part of the stage lit as required, and the costumes were perfect.
Danny and Lea are to be congratulated on a superb production. YouTheatre are rapidly gaining a reputation for producing superb shows, and attracting real talent. This was the perfect production for the amateur premier of this very classy show.
I very much hope I will be invited back to review further YouTheatre shows and wish the company every success with their forthcoming production ‘Dick Whittington’ in January 2013