And the Winner is . . .Review

Let’s start at the very beginning.
Those of us involved with amateur theatre in Burton and the surrounding area know exactly what we are going to get from a Burton Operatic Society show.
Whether it is a musical or, as in this case, a selection of songs from the shows it will be polished and it will be well sung.
And the Winner is . . .  is no exception to these two criteria. Directed by Jim Ellington and Sharon Plummer this is a show packed with some of the best tunes from award-winning musicals.
The basic premise is to take shows that have won either a Tony or an Olivier – sometimes both – and then take just one song from them – apart from the finale which has two songs from two shows – with me so far? And then sing them.
I have to confess that the line-up included songs from four of my favourite musicals so I was well pleased to be in the audience.
As I said at the start we know exactly what Burton Op do but sometimes they can excel our expectations.
While individually and in small groups they shine I feel it is in the ensemble numbers that their strengths are truly realised. Starting with one or two singers and building layer upon layer of sound as more voices join in it is so rich and textured.
Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha was one highlight in the first half and the two numbers that closed the half – one from Blood Brothers and then the finale from Les Mis – really showed Burton Op at their very best.
Watching the show I was struck by the number of youngsters who look set to carry the torch forward with their class and talent. I really shouldn’t single out any of the performers but I thought that Sian Plummer was outstanding in Thoroughly Modern Millie and caught the eye in other numbers.
However, the one number that really moved me was a solo performance of Someone to Watch Over Me by Lindsey Biddle, out of this world.
Burton Operatic’s singers were ably backed by a group of five musicians whose understated presence did nothing but enhance the performances.
And the Winners is . . .  is being performed again tonight and tomorrow (June 5th and 6th) at the Brewhouse Arts Centre in Union Street, Burton, box office 01283 508100, at 7.30pm do yourself a favour and get along.

Bill Pritchard

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