CTC – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee- Review

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Cabaret Theatre Company, The Brewhouse.
Once again the Cabaret Theatre Company has come up with a cracking show for their Burton audience.
Spelling Bee, as I will henceforth refer to it rather than typing in the full title, is a little gem that for me ranks alongside last year’s offering Dear Edwina.
Musically it’s a very difficult sing but Sally Everson’s talented team not only perform with aplomb but also manage to bring out all the subtle and not so subtle nuances of the lyrics.
Directed by Daniel David Webber, who also appears on stage as Douglas Panch, the cast move the Tony award-winning show along at a good pace and the show is full of great comedy which is kept up to date with references to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
It is incredibly demanding on the cast and they deserved to have a much larger audience for the matinee performance. Whilst I applaud Cabaret Theatre Company for their choice of shows over the past two years sadly they seem to be paying the price for bringing new and interesting work to the Brewhouse at a cost to the company in terms of audience numbers.
That said, they are returning to a tried and trusted favourite next year with Little Shop of Horrors.
For those who don’t know the Spelling Bee show it concerns one of the most American of activities – a spelling bee – in which children compete against each other to spell words in a knockout format until there is a winner.
Spelling Bee deals with the pressure that comes from parents, peers and their own insecurities about life as they try to spell words that range in difficulty from ewe to crepuscule. They are allowed to ask certain questions about the words they have to spell which in turn leads to many of the laughs.
The cast manage to make the singing and dancing, choreography courtesy of producer Sally Everson, look both slick and easy and the acting is faultless.
I was thoroughly entranced by Spelling Bee and thought it was very much an inventive and entertaining piece of theatre that deserved a much wider audience.
I have always enjoyed the work that Sally has produced at the Brewhouse over the years and I feel with the Cabaret Theatre Company she has got a very talented team of actors that can showcase the more difficult pieces. Well done to all concerned.

Bill Pritchard.

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