Kiss Me Kate
30th October - 4th November 2017
Photograps by John Tustin
Production Officials
Director Nora Howcroft
Musical Director Tim Power
Choreographer Vicki Wilson
Asst. Musical Director Tom Bowes
Cast
Fred Graham/ Petruchio Steve Benson
Lilli Vanessi/ Katharine Adrienne Wormald
Lois Lane/Bianca Catherine Wooldridge
Bill Calhoun/ Lucentio Tristan Nixon
First Man Mike Taylor
Second Man David Wilson
Hattie Julie Ogden
Paul Carl Bottomley
General Harrison Howell Dave Reeves
Harry Trevor/ Baptista David Witt
Gremio Rob Slater
Hortensio David Perks
Blanche (Stage Manager) Joyce Walters
Wardrobe Lady Teresa Harper
Stage Door Keeper Michelle Foster
Stagehand Jane Bickerstaffe
Driver Alan Moss
Nathaniel Dave McGreavy
Philippa Lindsay Farnworth
Company
Carole Brooks, Kathy Clift, Meredith Collinson, Nina Dickinson, Joyce Foster, Pam Gaffney, Val Greenhalgh, Linda Hardy, Libby Hill, Dorothy Jones, Barbara Martin, Ruth Prescott, Carl Reevell, Eileen Reeves, Katie Ryding, Maria Sharrocks, Keith Shatwell, Janet Witt
  • Fred/Petruchio and Lilli/Katharine Fred/Petruchio and Lilli/Katharine
  • The Company "Another Openin' Another Show" The Company "Another Openin' Another Show"
  • Fred as Petruchio Fred as Petruchio
  • Lilli as Katharine "I Hate Men" Lilli as Katharine "I Hate Men"
  • Lois Lane "Always True To You In My Fashion" Lois Lane "Always True To You In My Fashion"
  • Fred and the Two Men Fred and the Two Men
  • General Harrison Howell General Harrison Howell
  • Company "Pavane" Company "Pavane"
  • Hattie and Paul Hattie and Paul
  • Lois, Lilli and Fred Lois, Lilli and Fred
  • Gremio, Baptista and Hortensio Gremio, Baptista and Hortensio
  • Company "Too Darn Hot" Company "Too Darn Hot"
  • Blanche and Fred Blanche and Fred
  • The Two Men The Two Men
  • Lois "Always True To You In My Fashion" Lois "Always True To You In My Fashion"
  • Petruchio, Katharine and Company "I Am Ashamed That Women Are So Simple" Petruchio, Katharine and Company "I Am Ashamed That Women Are So Simple"
  • The Two Men, Lilli and General Howell The Two Men, Lilli and General Howell
  • Company "Finale" Company "Finale"

  • Bolton News
    Review
  • NODA North West
    Review
  • Here4You
    Magazine
  • Bolton News
    Article
Lots of gusto in revised Cole Porter classic

This revised edition of the Cole Porter classic musical about a touring theatrical company linked around William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" is directed skilfully as usual by Nora Howcroft.

Revised it may be, but it still conains some well-known numbers like "Another Openin', Another Show", "Why Can't You Behave", "We Open In Venice" and "Too Darn Hot", all of which are performed with gusto by this enthusiastic cast and chorus.

Steve Benson and Adrienne Wormald are perfect as the lead couple, Fred Graham and Lilli Vanessi, bouncing their enormous egos off each other throughout the show whilst conveying the underlying love they still hold for each other.

Their singing voices are beautiful to hear and Kate's rendition of "I Hate Men" is a comedic highlight of the show.

Strong support comes from Catherine Wooldridge and Tristan Nixon as Lois Lane and Bill Calhoun (again, two lovely singing voices) and comedy comes from Mike Taylor and David Wilson as the two men, especially in the classic song "Brush Up Your Shakespeare".

The colourful costumes are excellent, as is the singing. Musical Director Tim Power leads his orchestra and chorus expertly.

Peter Haslam
NODA North West Review

Another Op'nin', Another Show … could well be a good signature tune for every Operatic Society everywhere, and maybe even every NODA Rep settling down to watch it? In this case however, it is also the opening line of the Musical 'Kiss Me Kate' by the prolific Cole Porter both of which have an impressive list of credits.
 
This is the second Cole Porter musical presented by this Society this year, so they have obviously found a winner for their audiences, and what's not to love? The toe tapping, well-known tunes of Cole Porter come in rapid succession throughout the show. 

The plot focuses on a touring theatrical company producing a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew, with the 'director also playing the leading man and the leading lady being played by his ex-wife, and therefore becomes a musical within a play, within a musical!

The music was, once more, very good and you managed to maintain a very good sound balance, meaning we could hear the cast very well, accompanied by the very good orchestra.  

I did find the opening rather too long – although "Another Op'nin" is a great tune, it is possible to have just a little too much of a good thing and I found that from a very personal perspective, I really wanted to 'get on' with the show – it also meant that, for me, the pace of the show itself (certainly NOT the song which was punchy, and full of life and energy with lots of smiles – exactly as it should be) was just a little slow in actually getting started.

Once started however, we were treated to a most enjoyable rendition of this well-known 'classic'. I must congratulate you on the casting there was certainly some wonderful singing and characterisations across the whole cast; but for this show to work really well, we must be convinced that Lilli and and Fred had been married and therefore have a considerable history together which is nicely topped with a large dollop of bitterness. It worked wonderfully well, and the relationship really came over the lights well. Many congratulations to all the singers, principals and chorus alike as some were clearly struggling with coughs, colds and 'throats' – but the show certainly 'went on' adapted on occasions to suit, and worked really well. Facial expressions, actions and reactions were all good, and the whole cast was with it every step of the way.

The extensive choreography was well drilled and effective, with the 'big musical numbers' executed with energy by the bucket load and lots and lots of smiles you certainly looked as if you were having a whale of a time, so naturally we in the audience did as well. 

I must, once more, congratulate your wardrobe department on some really quite stunning costumes, the 'Shakespearian Costumes' were very good.  I was slightly less certain on the time-line for the 'rehearsal costumes' though. The dressing robes worn by the principals were superb and looked exactly right for, I assumed the 50's, but I felt some of the chorus looked perhaps a little too 'modern', but the impression created worked well. 

The light-hearted humour of the piece was brought out excellently, and our Shakespeare was 'Brushed Up' with style and pizzazz, and we heard all the words! Thank you.

Once more, a thoroughly enjoyable evening for which I thank all concerned. I was, again thrilled to see such a wide range of ages all working together to produce a common goal and giving such enjoyment and pleasure not just to themselves but to the audience as well. My thanks to everyone connected with this production in any way whatever, and I look forward very much to my next invitation to this talented society's next production.

Christine Hunter Hughes
Here4You Magazine

This production by Walmsley Church AODS of the revised version of Cole Porter's "Kiss Me Kate" is just awesome.

The show was written by Cole Porter, one of the greatest musical theatre song-smiths of all time, in 1948 and, with the book by Bella and Sam Spewack, we gain the intertwining stories of a third rate American touring company performing "The Taming of the Shrew" and the marital wrangling of the two leading "stars".

From the opening where only a ghost light is seen on an empty stage, the show quickly erupts and develops into a barnstorming musical, brim full of fantastic songs, that is never allowed to let up for one second by a cast of extremely talented performers.

Vicki Wilson's choreography is dazzling as is the orchestra under the baton of Musical Director Tim Power and all is complemented by a superb set, glorious costumes and excellent lighting and sound.

Adrienne Wormald as "Lilli Vanessi/Kate" and Steve Benson as "Fred Graham/ Petruchio" are just phenomenal in their roles and their singing and acting skills are a joy to behold. Their expertise in interpretation is played with such ease and dexterity that every nuance in these two roles is brought out to musical theatre perfection. Absolutely breath-taking performances.

Catherine Wooldridge as "Lois Lane/Bianca" is superb and her stage presence and Broadway style singing voice are just incredible and she is a great foil for Tristan Nixon's all-singing and dancing "Bill Calhoun/Lucentio".

There is much comedy in this production and this is brought to the fore by the "Two Men" played by Mike Taylor and David Wilson, along with David Reeves as "General Harrison Howell". Here again, not only are they excellent actors but they too have fine singing voices.

Julie Ogden as "Hattie", David Witt as "Harry/Baptista", David Perks as "Gremio", Rob Slater as "Hortensio", Carl Bottomley as "Paul" and Joyce Walters as "Blanche" also added their vast experience with aplomb to their roles along with Alan Moss as "The Driver", Keith Shatwell as "The Cabbie" and David McGreavy and Lindsay Farnworth as "Nathaniel" and "Philippa".

The company, as usual with this society, are outstanding and give their all in the company songs. They sing and dance like it is second nature and again we were treated in "Too Darn Hot" to the big Broadway voices of Michelle Foster, Eileen Reeves and Teresa Harper.

Congratulations to this very unique society which goes from strength to strength and always gives fantastic musical productions to very appreciative audiences. This show was musical theatre at its zenith.

Nora Howcroft must be a very proud Director.
Bolton News article 26th October 2017

Walmsley Church Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society puckers up for Kiss Me Kate in Egerton

What brings together tap dancing, jazz and Shakespearian love?

The answer can be found in a rare revival of a famous musical coming to a Bolton stage next week.

Walmsley Church Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society is puckering up for the all singing, all dancing Kiss Me Kate.

Combining Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew with Cole Porter music and lyrics, the society are the first to bring the revival version to the town.

The play-within-a-play was originally produced in 1948 and has been considered one of Broadway's treasures. It was revived in 1999, taking advantage of new technology in music and keeping in mind evolving social values.

Directing the Egerton production is Nora Howcroft. She said: "It's fantastic. Everyone is so excited because we are the first to do the revised version.

"A few years ago my late husband Donny and I saw the revised edition with the Royal Welsh Opera. We both said if we could do any production it would be this version, it's stunning.

"We are having great fun doing it. It all takes place virtually in one afternoon backstage and during a production of Taming of the Shrew.

"We've got the whole company tap dancing, there are some fantastic numbers. The musical arrangements are just stunning, it's totally different from what the original was.

"You have got to do things like this to make shows brighter and more appealing so people will be encouraged to come along and see it. We also have a big band and the sound of the live orchestra all helps along with some very nice costumes.

"It's all systems go with a fantastic cast and we just hope people will come along and enjoy it!"

In the newer version all seventeen of the original songs – including the likes of Too Darn Hot and Always True to You – are present with a revised score, along with the song From This Moment On from the 1953 film version.

The story also features a change of character with Texan farmer Harrison Howell now a General with political ambitions.

Starring Steve Benson, Adrienne Wormald, David Reeves, Catherine Wooldridge, Tristan Nixon, Mike Taylor and David Wilson, it has been choreographed by Vicki Wilson with Musical Director Tim Power.

Rosalind Saul

Read the full article and see photo here

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