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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

REVIEW: Paint Your Wagon at Newcastle Tyne Theatre


Gold Rush Comes To Newcastle

Paint Your Wagon
Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Until Saturday 25th November 2017 

Tickets:
Tickets are available from the Tyne Theatre box office or online: Tickets from our afilliate Eventim UK

Photo: Signature Times Photography
Paint Your Wagon is a classic American musical with libretto and lyrics by Alan J. Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. First performed on Broadway in 1951, it seems to be a rare production and it is the 1969 film starring Lee Marvin, Jean Seberg and Clint Eastwood that has kept songs such as Wanderin’ Star in the public eye. This week the show arrives in Newcastle and is a charming evening out.
Photo: Signature Times Photography

Photo: Signature Times Photography
The show opens with the discovery somewhere in California of gold as Ben Rumson (Alan Davison) is burying a friend. He claims the land and sets up a new town of Rumson with his daughter Jennifer (Hannah Elliott). The story then follows the progress of a town full of gold prospectors. The issues of living in a male dominated society and the lack of a formal education are addressed in the story. There is also a sub-plot involving polygamy and religious tolerance. Bearing in mind the script is from 1951, some of the ways in which the female characters are addressed by the men is probably more in keeping with the 1853 setting rather than 2017 sensibilities.

Photo: Signature Times Photography
The book is full of humour and this leads to a light-hearted story about some pretty tough times. There was a sterling effort from the cast which features some really strong singing voices. Hannah Elliott had an early chance to shine with What’s Going On Here. Michael Skoyles, likewise came across confidently with Carino Mio.

Photo: Signature Times Photography
Alan Davison has a real rich quality to his voice which first came to the fore in the lament I Still See Elisa. However it was during Wandrin’ Star that you had a chance to really appreciate the fabulous tone as he owned the classic hit.
Photo: Signature Times Photography

Photo: Carliol Photography
Director Jonathan Cash has made intelligent decisions to get the most out of the source material and allow the cast to shine.  Choreographer Jenn Rouse has created some intricate dance routines, in particular in the final scene of the first act. The dancers pulled off these with aplomb. The costumes from Lorraine Skeen and her team looked the part and help set the scene.
Photo: Signature Times Photography

Photo: Signature Times Photography
High quality live musical bands are often a feature at this theatre as they take full advantage of the natural acoustics. The live band filled the Opera House with a fine sound and Musical Director Andrew Soulsby kept the music in sync with the action on stage.

Photo: Signature Times Photography
Paint Your Wagon is a good evening’s entertainment with some great singing and dancing from a talented ensemble.

Review by Stephen Oliver.


Tickets
Tickets are available from the Tyne Theatre box office or online: Tickets from our afilliate Eventim UK



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