Musical Reflections November 2021 NODA East Review
Musical Reflections November 2021 NODA East Review
Performed by Chelmsford Young Generation
Venue: The Chelmsford Civic Theatre
2nd November 2021
Director – Jimmy Hooper
Musical Director – Bryan Cass
Author: Christine Davidson
I was delighted to be invited to see Young Gen in their Musical Reflections evening. This was a one off performance showcasing the phenomenal talent of this young society. Having a twenty month break due to COVID, like many other societies, it must have been such a relief to finally be back on stage. Having had to direct a show during this time too, I totally understand the stress and continual worry about whether the show would go on, so full marks to Jimmy Hooper, the award winning Noda director, for working incredibly hard to get this wonderful evening on stage. I understand that band call was the first time that Jimmy had all 27 members of the cast on stage.
With a huge cast of youngsters, Jimmy was able to give almost everyone a solo, duet or ensemble piece consequently the entire cast had a chance to shine. Opening and closing the show with the song ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ from Rock of Ages was a great choice and had the audience clapping from the start. The two leads, Charlie Toland and Izzy Jeffrey were strong confident choices. Charlie also gave the audience wonderful songs from Ghost, Spring Awakening, Les Mis, with Finley Gooch and Dear Evan Hanson which I really enjoyed. Izzy, sung one of my favourites “Me and the Sky” from Come from Away, she had a beautiful clear singing voice, while acting the song with great accomplishment. Angelina Caulfield who, with Izzy sung “For Good”, from Wicked, gave us a charming rendition.
We Will Rock You, the musical , provided the great song ‘Someone to Love’ which was rocked out with vigour by Jess Martin, while Lauren Eley sung a superb version of “Pinball Wizard” whilst playing the piano, it just goes to show the talent that this society can offer.
Songs from the Noda Award Winning production Thirteen reminded me of how excellent the show was. Young Bethan Irvine and Anna Edmondson with Dara Gleeson were super. A show not many people know but really worth considering for any youth society production.
Beauty and the Beast songs from Anna Edmondson and Hayden Wagland were performed with flair while “Electricity” from Billy Elliot, sung by Elliott Greaves and Gene Gardner, were sung sweetly and confidently.
Finley Gooch and Olivia Khattar, with Charlie Toland sung some beautifully haunting songs from Ghost the Musical, which should have been Jimmy’s next production. Olivia’s rendition of ‘With You’, brought me to tears with her superb voice and acting skills, this young lady is outstanding and one of the best singers and actors I have seen in any youth group. Not only is she extremely talented but you believe every word she sings. I am really sad for both her and Finley that this show did not come to pass, as I think it would have been incredible. The Act 1 finale showcasing songs from Ghost the Musical was a terrific choice by Jimmy.
Act 2 opened with a thank you to the NHS with ‘The Rainbow Connection’ and followed with ‘I know where I’ve been’ from Hairspray, sung with a deep soul, rich gospel voice. by Fortune Ibraham. I hope to see this young lady again on stage.
The Greatest Showman songs ‘A Million Dreams’ with Tommy Edwards and Company was followed by Millie Parsons who acted and sang, ‘This is Me’ incredibly confidently and with conviction. I have watched this young lady before, I again think she is an incredible performer and will go far. Another song, “Breathe”, from the new show, In the Heights, performed by Olivia Khattar followed.
The last two numbers were from Finley, Izzy and Company, with a song “it’s Quiet Uptown”, from Hamilton”. and Charlie & company singing the amazing ‘You will be Found’ from the production Dear Even Hanson.
This is Olivia, Millie and Charlie’s last performance with the group so the production was a fitting end to their time with Young Gen.
The 2013 cast of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, were brought back to perform from the show in apt tribute to Jayden Booroff, who tragically passed away in 2020. This was a joyful mega-mix of songs from the show which gave everyone a chance in the audience to sing along with the cast and remember such a talented young man.
As usual Musical Director Bryan Cass and his orchestra were excellent and melded well with the singers and didn’t overpower them. Lighting was good with effective colour spots and star cloth. The simple set with rake for the seating made sure we saw everyone. Black and white evening costumes during the show and colourful casual ones for the Joseph numbers worked really well. Tributes paid to the late Jill Parsons and Geoff Baker were thoughtfully done and I’m sure their families were touched by this.
This was a superb evening’s entertainment with the whole cast giving us a truly memorable evening. Forgive me if I have missed anyone out but with so many in the cast this review would last for ever. Needless to say you can all be extremely proud of what you all achieved and I can’t wait to see some of you in Jimmy’s next production of Sue Townsend – The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, in April next year.
Noda East District 8 Rep