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Reviews: An Evening of Rodgers & Hammerstein Classics

Audience wowed by an Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics
By What’s Up Reviewer Jenny Sew Hoy Agnew

One of the advantages a local production has over an international touring show is the partisan audience of family and friends of the performers.

Showbiz’s audience for An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics was no different.

Richard Rodgers’ familiar music, coupled with Oscar Hammerstein’s witty lyrics, was presented delightfully and wowed the crowd.

All around me I could hear snatches of words or humming of the tunes.

My companion had to nudge me at times to shut me up!

These songs were definitely the best from the Golden Age of musical theatre.

The addition of the entire NASDA student body gave a youthful aspect to the established Showbiz chorus and swelled the numbers to 120.

To be able to provide solo spots to individuals from this chorus is a wonderful example of the talent we were so lucky to hear.

Jane Leonard showed again both her acting and her singing abilities, especially in “Mr Snow” from Carousel. Nigel Withington wrung good advice from “Climb every mountain”, usually Mother Abbess’s solo in The Sound of Music.

Nick Hollamby joined Jane Leonard to exhort each other not to show their partiality, worrying that “People will say we’re in love”, from Oklahoma!

Not every song was rip-roaring and pacey like the finale. The tragic “We kiss in a shadow” from The King and I, was a truly moving duet by Celine Rosa Tan and Nigel Withington.

It was a pleasure to be able to hear the words of the lyrics.

The soloists’ clear diction enabled us to appreciate the stories told by the songs.

The always splendid Richard Marrett energetically conducted the 30 piece Broadway-style orchestra.

The CSO was acknowledged for its fine contribution to the evening.

The percussionists always seemed on the move.

How fortunate Christchurch is to have musicians of such calibre!

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Star Review: Classic songs come to life onstage
By Star.kiwi reporter

So many performances these days seem to be getting bigger, flashier, more colourful, more dramatic, more incredible.

If that’s what your after, The Showbiz Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics would not be for you.

Yet there is something magical about going back to the simplicity of music.

And this was music beautifully presented and flawlessly performed, with a full orchestra, incredible soloists and a chorus of 120 voices.

It was an old fashioned style performance – the full orchestra dominated the stage, conductor front and centre in immaculately shined shoes. The chorus stood in rows, 120 white faces, while the soloists came and went in suit jackets and fairytale gowns.

The soloists were incredible, each bringing strong voices and powerful performances.

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Backstage: Review – An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein
By Kate Divett

“As hokey pokey is to icecream, the performance is a smorgasbord of hits from the Golden Age of musical theatre – the best songs from the great musicals that paved the way for the shows of today. The affect of this is much like eating all the hokey-pokey bits in one go – everything is the best, which is definitely a guilty pleasure and perhaps a little overwhelming.”

“Richard Marrett’s assembly of a 120-strong chorus provided the grunt and depth of sound that is often not possible in smaller stage productions, which was a delight whenever their curtain was lifted. Highlights included a rollicking and intricately arranged Do-Re-Mi, and the men sounded magnificent in There is Nothing Like a Dame. It was marvellous to have the orchestra join the vocal performers on stage, which allowed us to collectively appreciate their work and talent during instrumental interludes.”

“All in all, An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics is everything it should be – a retrospective savouring of musically and lyrically decadent show-tunes, brought back to life in a way that ends up being both sickly-sweet and yet delightfully indulgent. A guilty pleasure indeed.”

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