Theatre Review: Burnley Light Opera Society “Broadway Lights West End Nights”, Burnley Mechanics

BROADWAY Lights and West End Nights came to Burnley and was truly spectacular.

SINGING SENSATIONS: BLOS West End Nights in full swing
SINGING SENSATIONS: BLOS West End Nights in full swing

Producer Anthony Williams who devised and staged this show at Burnley Mechanics over three nights last week deserves a huge plaudit.

It was slick, sophisticated and sensational.

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He took excerpts from musicals - some household names and some less well known - and turned them into a show with something for everyone. Interestingly, he did not choose the best known numbers from a lot of the musicals which made for a much more varied show.

VINTAGE: A trio of singers bring a touch of retro glamour to the stage. (S)

He was holding the baton for Burnley Light Opera Society and all the favourites from the musicals they have presented during their long illustrious history were there - the likes of “West Side Story”, “The Sound of Music”, “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Phantom of the Opera”. But they shared the bill with much more contemporary shows such as “Hairspray”, “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”, “Shrek”, “We will Rock You” and the show that is coming up from the society in November “The Witches Of Eastwick”.

I have never seen such an animated audience as that which enjoyed this show at the Mechanics on Saturday, the final performance. But it was to be expected because this was a fabulous evening of entertainment from the best of BLOS. From the full company numbers to the duets and solos, the standard was exceptional. Top city theatres or the West End could not have brought this whole musical cornucopia together better.

Derek Harmer-Morris was the narrator who kept us informed of what was to come, with a little background thrown in, and helped the show to flow seamlessly. And musical director Jonathan Chalker who was on keyboard had just three musicians, fantastic flautist Kathryn Dunphy, Simon Chaplin bass guitar and Dan Bennet on drums. Their sound came across sweetly and they did not drown out the singers as often happens in a large auditorium.

“Broadway Lights West End Nights” was performed as a tribute to the late Cynthia Sanderson, who loved musical theatre and was a talented actress, dancer and director up to her untimely death last year, and the whole Light Opera company did her proud.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and Cynthia would have loved it.