WAKE UP LITTLE SUZIE!
(6m 3f actor/musicians)
Wake Up Little Suzie! is an enjoyable and light-hearted romp set during the long hot summer of 1976 in an English holiday camp owned by light-entertainment dinosaur Harry Tilton. Hero Suzie transforms from downtrodden cleaner to all-singing, all-dancing Orangecoat, complete with summer romance with the boss's son. There are excellent performances from a talented and hard-working cast, funny lines and quirky characters and a great sense of fun throughout. The thing that comes across clearly is just how much fun the cast are having up on stage. This enthusiasm is infectious and makes Wake Up Little Suzie a true feelgood show and great fun for all the family. It got the audience laughing, clapping and singing in their seats and even up and dancing in the aisles. (Oldham Advertiser)
The talented cast play an assortment of larger-than-life characters. This versatility extends to the music too as they multi-task on instruments, belting out an array of popular hits. Musical director Howard Gay is hilarious as gormless singleton Kenny though it's Phil Corbitt - playing five roles, including an aggressive drag queen and a cheesy lounge singer - who steals the show. The litmus test for a production like this is the audience response, and by the end they were dancing in the aisles. Resistance is futile. (City Life magazine)
Hapless Ben Tilton, son of Tilton's Holiday Camp owner and comic Harry Tilton, is unlucky in love and just about everything else, until he meets Suzie. She soon knocks him into shape and makes a man of him. The entire Wake Up Little Suzie cast is multi-talented, with each performer singing, playing a wide variety of instruments live, fleshing out several different parts and making a fantastic job of it. There is plenty of energy and the pace never falters. With excellent characterisations and faultless musicanship, fuelled by the pounding beat of rock n roll and peppered with nostalgic glimpses of holiday camp glories, this is a show with laughter and heartache, moments of comic genius and sing-along tunes that have the audience bopping in the aisles. (theatre-reviews website)
Great fun, escapist entertainment. (BBC GMR)
Another winner. A great production that has the audience clapping, stamping their feet and rising to dance for the finale. (Clitheroe Advertiser)
Suzie is wowing them at Basingstoke's Haymarket Theatre. The first night audience got right into the madcap spirit of the show - this Glam Rock Musical sizzles. (Basingstoke Observer)
This delightful production fully deserved the prolonged ovation, with the audience on their feet for the final number. (Reading Chronicle)
Wake Up Little Suzie! at Oldham Coliseum Theatre. Photo by Ian Tilton.
FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME
(6m 3f actor/musicians)
The audience was up and dancing at the Coliseum’s new rock and roll musical “Feels Like The First Time”. The music is great - the score features more than 20 hit songs from the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s. The show charts the adventures of two bands — The Trevors and The Launderettes. There are some flashes of genius in the script. There’s the old boy meets girl plot, as the audience is left to wonder if the spirited Julie (Amy Rhiannon Worth) will opt for Saddleworth’s answer to Bryan Ferry, the dashing Cameron (Martin Glyn Murray) or sarcastic scouser Terry (Andrew Schofield). Francis Tucker shines as dopey drummer Nobby, and his rendition of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” really does have to be seen to be believed. Likewise, Zita Frith delights as sex-mad Sally, demonstrating breathtaking vocal and musical ability, and her observations on age are counterpoised wonderfully by the artfully-tousled adolescent Jez (Sam Bloom). You will be up with the best of them, dancing in the aisles. I certainly was. (Oldham Evening Chronicle)
Feels like the First Time is filled with energy. The action takes place in the context of a 20-year reunion between The Trevors and The Launderettes, who, at the height of their 1980 success, jumped in and out of bed with each other as frequently as they performed together. There are some sparkling dramatic moments. Jez, played by Sam Bloom, narrates the action and provides a youthful contrast to the jaded regrets of his middle-aged friends, while Terry, played by Andrew Schofield, oozes northern cynicism. His wry outlook sets him up as a father figure for the youngest character, and the chats between the two provide both with the realisation that age is merely a state of mind. The hiccups and messy decisions of adulthood do nothing to make us wise while the exuberance of youth is no substitute for experience. But all analysis and emotion is cast aside in the final reconciliation between the band members, who, spending time with each other, learn a lot about themselves. The final tune, one of only two original songs performed throughout the show, is one of the best. Only a soulless puritan would fail to be moved. (Oldham Advertiser)
A witty script and an interesting storyline. The audience were captivated by this rock n' roll story. The musical content is outstanding. This fine production was a great treat. I left the theatre with a smile on my face. A night of unremitting pleasure. Great fun. A total joy. (Manchester Confidential)
Above: Andrew Schofield leads The Trevors and The Launderettes in Feels Like the First Time at Oldham Coliseum Theatre, directed by Kevin Shaw.. Below: Andrew Schofield and Amy Rhiannon Worth as Terry and Julie in Feels Like the First Time. Photographs by kind permission of Ian Tilton.