Concept Players present Little Me

Book by Neil Simon

Music by Cy Coleman

Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh

 

NODA Review By Dee McIlroy

 

The Concept Players are unique. Everyone excels and no one dominates in this company where the love for the stage and its craft shines out. They have a different approach to well known or not so well known productions and it is what they do with them that brings them success and their audience constant surprises! There is anticipation in the theatre.

"Little Me" opened on Broadway in 1962, and was made into a musical from a book by Neil Simon reissued in 2002. Music by Broadway King Cy Coleman, lyrics by the great Carolyn Leigh and choreography by the one and only Bob Fosse. Not many have heard of this story of Belle, and her rise from rags to riches with romantic and hilarious turmoil along the way, and it was a great choice for this special company. The set was minimal for the brilliant opening with exceptional MD Jo Herco, her band giving this score life! Janet Holloway and Rhiannon Rose both gave a superb performance of Belle, and Paul Buckle was outstanding as Nobel Egglestone/Fred Poitrine - a fantastic voice, his reactions slick. Wayne Hughes as George and Richard Thomas as Val du Val shone, but in this ensemble every character inputs the action enhanced by the creative costumes of Leigh Tomala. There was some absolutely effortless "Fosse" like move choreography throughout and great grooving in the Boogie Woogie number with Claire Davies!

This was a night to remember with the Abergavenny audience reaction to humour, to die for! Congratulations to Director Janet Holloway, MD Jo Herco and Choreographer Richard Thomas and Team. Thank you for your hospitality. Your company have a well deserved firm following. It is great to see your inspirational new approach to theatre.

 

Originally published Autumn 2006.

 

 

Penarth Times review

The sinking of the SS GiganticI'm not surprised that most people have never heard of Little Me. It is one of those 1960 musicals designed to sink without a trace, having no memorable songs and a forgettable storyline. The Concept player's version in the Paget rooms was well redeemed by two other factors.

The beautiful Bob Fosse-inspired jazz dancing and stylised movement choreographed by Richard Thomas and the clever direction of Janet Holloway which turned this production into a true ensemble piece. I have long admired her artistic vision, seen in previous Concept productions. It is no mean feat to keep a cast of 24 fully involved, moving, acting and reacting throughout.

No division between the leads and chorus, just everyone 100 percent involved the whole time.

Best scenes for me were when Wayne Hughes "Fosse" danced his way into seducing Belle (Rhiannon Rose) and, for ensemble playing at its best, the Titanic-inspired sinking boat scene, during which Paul Buckle declares his undying love for the aforesaid belle, while giving swimming lessons and hauling in the drowning.

Music under the baton of talented and popular Jo Herco was to the fore in the 40s-inspired dance scene where boogie met big band met ballroom. Brilliant!

Concept Players always give a vague impression of a band of strolling players, ready to cast on a hat and cloak and give you a scene wherever they may be and they are proud of being a peripatetic group, able to take their productions and perform at a variety of venues. This impression was backed up by the lack of formal set and costume. Well done Leigh Tomala for her minimalist designs and production of the costumes. They were strikingly effective in their colour and simplicity.

Much as I would hate to see this musical in the hands of anyone less talented than the Concept Players, I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. Good choice for the talents within the group; Nigel Holloway, I look forward to what you will come up with next.

If you want to see this company in the wonderful setting of Dyffryn Gardens then I understand that they are performing Iolanthe as part of an open air festival in August. Watch out for dates and book early. See you there!

 

Our review as appeared in the Penarth Times on Thursday March 16th 2006

 

 

Belle Jnr & Snr

 

"Janet Holloway and Rhiannon Rose both gave a superb performance of Belle, and Paul Buckle was outstanding as Nobel Egglestone/Fred Poitrine - a fantastic voice, his reactions slick."

NODA

 

"Much as I would hate to see this musical in the hands of anyone less talented than the Concept Players, I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. Good choice for the talents within the group; "

Penarth Times