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As If We Never Said Goodbye - Blaze and Louth Playgoers 10th December 2021

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

As If We Never Said Goodbye

Blaze and Louth Playgoers

Riverhead Theatre Louth

10th December 2021

If I have one regret from attending this joint concert between Louth Playgoers and Blaze, it is that there was no running order or cast list. The talent on stage was stunning and it would have been lovely to give credit to the individual performers who gave their all in a spectacular concert performed in front of a very large audience.

That there is so much musical theatre talent in the area comes as no surprise, I have been around long enough to see a thread that runs through local performance groups and Blaze follows the tradition of high standards we have come to recognise in the youth of this area. So much passion, so much energy and so much potential. Under the tutelage of Jacqueline Wilson and her team, these young performers attain a standard to be marvelled at. To those who argue there is no culture in our area, I would say they do our young people a real disservice.

The standard of vocals and presentation is immensely high. Tonight, along with numerous seasonal favourites, the ensemble tackle some of the most challenging songs in musical theatre. In a sense, the fact that there is no cast list means that I cannot single out certain performers who clearly have star quality and forget those who provide the backing necessary to allow them to shine. However, number after number proved that even those who appear to be making up the numbers as chorus members are possessed of the most glorious, powerful voices and are capable of holding the audience in their pam as they present their own takes on some classic and some less well-known numbers. I especially loved You Will Be Found from Dear Evan Hansen by Billy Beach.

I love the vibrancy displayed by such simple costuming and staging, dressed in black, the Blaze performers do not need to rely on multiple costume changes of ever-increasing colour or complexity. The choreography was tight and provided ideal accompaniment to the singing, never too much and always enhancing the performance. And they don’t simply sing, they really perform.

Watching the faces of the young performers, it is clear that they are acting through song. The medley of songs from Matilda was a reminder of the most recent show staged by Blaze in Cleethorpes and had a cheeky gutsiness to the performance. I loved the songs from Come From Away. They also provided soaring performances from Wicked and Frozen. The performance of Let it Go by Georgia Scott was chillingly powerful, if you will pardon the bad pun.

But the show wasn’t just about Blaze, it was also about the Louth Playgoers and their team didn’t fail to impress with equally stunning lead vocals and a bevy of dancing girls who provided glamour and fun as they the stage with their holiday offerings. Christmas had truly arrived as the elves rocked with Santa and as the festive cheerleaders shook their pom poms in time to remind us that despite masks and Plan B, we can still have fun this Christmas. The soloists were so impressive.

A personal favourite was Bui Doi from Miss Saigon. The combination of the supremely impressive choral work of the ensemble from Blaze and the passionate power of the Playgoer’s favourite Gary Starkie, showed what can happen when two powerhouses combine.

It remains a challenge for any group to stage shows at this time of uncertainty but seeing the tiniest of performers (as young as 4) performing hits from Mary Poppins and Frozen gives hope for the future of musical theatre locally.

These pocket rocket performers won the hearts of the audience with Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Walking in the Air. They were utterly charming. The love for this genre runs deep and under the watchful eye of teachers like Jacqueline Wilson, who made her own cameo performance with Nat King Cole’s Christmas Song, the future is in excellent hands.

The show has two performances on Saturday 11th at 2:30 and 7:30pm at the Riverhead Theatre Louth.

Andy Evans

11th December 2021

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