Yellow Weather Warning Issued as Storm Imogen Batters Egham

The Met Office have issued a yellow weather warning for wind for Monday 8th February as Storm Imogen hits the UK. The warning is currently described as ‘be aware’, which could mean fallen trees, localised travel disruption and the possibility of debris on roads. There is potential for the warning to be raised to amber level, at which point damage would be expected to be more widespread with structural damage and the potential for loss of power.

Currently gusts are expected to peak at 52mph at around midday, when residents will also experience more heavy rain lasting into the evening. Areas to the south are expected to be hit harder and it has been recommended that people should not make unnecessary journeys and allow extra time for their commute, especially if routes involve cross winds or exposed roads. Because of the potential for tree fall, train users in particular should check before they travel.

This storm comes almost exactly two years after the last severe floods in Egham, but there is currently no flood warning for the River Thames at Staines and Egham. If rains continue as they did on Sunday evening there is likely to be surface water across the area, especially during heavy rain, so pedestrians should wear suitable footwear and cars take great care in driving close to pavements.

Weather updates are provided at the end of Insanity News broadcasts at midday and 7pm on weekdays, and weather warnings will be updated on the Met Office website if required.

Review of MTS's Production – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

If ever the Musical Theatre Society needed to recruit more members, this show was the best advertisement it could have put out.  It was a testament firstly to the professionalism and passion with which they approach every production, but even more to the incredibly supportive creative community that they have created.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes the Musical was originally an adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name written by Joseph Fields and Anita Loos. The storyline follows the voyage of two American women on their way to Paris. With a comedic heart, it captures the changing morales of women in the 1940s wrapped in the glamour of the golden age.

In many ways, this was an evening of firsts for me. It being the first MTS show I have ever been to and my first time at Jane Holloway Hall, I was not really sure what to expect. I entered the hall to be greeted by the soft rendition of Edith Piaf’s ‘Non, je ne regrette rien’ expertly performed by the live band on the left side of the stage. For such a small venue this was quiet a surprise, but it was one of many more to come.

The hall rapidly filled with a rich variety of people, from MTS members, to those who simply heard about the show like myself, to parents and friends who have come to support those on stage.

The stage held a minimalist charm, with classic furniture and vintage magazine prints decking the stage. The look came together with blue mood lighting that hinted at the cruise motif.

The lights came on to illuminate the charming girl in naval dress who welcomed the audience with a warm French accent. From this point onwards, I simply had to put down my notebook, and became fully immersed with the show.

An issue faced by many performing arts showcases is trying to eliminate the disconnect the audience may experience toward the subject of the play. In this case this could have been a massive problem as the trials the characters face can seem so trivial.  However this was completely not the case with this show. If anything the delivery of some lines was completely masked by the guffaw and applause of the crowd.

Actors delivered truly stand out performances with powerful vocals that filled Jane Holloway Hall with enchanting music. The comedic timing and actors’ chemistry really sold this musical comedy. It was clear that those on stage, those helping behind the scenes and the musical accompaniment team were just as passionate as one another about delivering the best performances.

By Valentina Mihova

Review: Mack & Mabel

Musical Theatre Society

17th-20th March, Jane Holloway Hall, 7.30pm

I went along to watch the opening night of the Musical Theatre Society’s production of Mack and Mabel having never heard any of the songs, and not knowing anything about the show except that it was a musical about movies. But in the space of just over 2 hours, Mack and Mabel went from merely a name on a poster to being one of the best things I’ve  seen on campus this year.

Countless reviews of shows staged in Jane Holloway refer to how notoriously difficult the space can be to perform in, but I was struck on entering the hall by the way that the M&M Team had transformed the space. What can resemble a cold, empty village hall (or haunted swimming pool) suddenly felt like a director’s loft space, adorned with old movie posters, a camera and a director’s chair. This meticulous attention to detail was one of the things that won me over  the producers sold refreshments from boxes around their necks in the style of old cinemas, the staging blocks were covered in photos made to look like film reels, and the band were all appropriately attired something which is rarely seen but greatly appreciated.

So the show looks great, but it’s a musical, so how does it sound? Well, put simply, fantastic! Sometimes the leads of shows have amazing voices but the collective chorus sound doesn’t quite blend and individuals stand out – this was not the case with Mack and Mabel. Every single person on that stage deserves to be there, and the unity of their voices during full company numbers was of a professional quality. It is difficult to offer particular recognition to individuals in a cast which was collectively so strong, but credit must go to James Dance (Mack) and Beckie Burtenshaw (Mabel) who led the cast superbly.

And where would such a good cast be without the creative team behind the show? The band was flawless and expertly led by Matt Abrams, setting the tone well and providing professional accompaniment. Claire Garland was impressively inventive in her use of movement throughout the show and proved that onstage chaos works best when choreographed. But the real star of this show was the director, Adam Carver. Carver’s attention to detail, knowledge of the show and enthusiasm for the production arguably makes this show what it is, and is notably infectious to the rest of the cast and crew.

In the interest of a fair review, the only negatives I have about this production were that some words were lost in mumbled accents; some of the singing was overpowered by the band on occasion; and one or two scenes which took place on the floor were not visible to anyone past the third row. However, none of these things detracted from what was an excellent show, superbly directed and impressively performed. What’s more, the capacity opening night audience gave the show rapturous applause and a standing ovation, and if that’s anything to go by, you should get your tickets now before they sell out too!

Mack & Mabel playe at Jane Holloway Hall at 7.30pm (7pm Doors) on Monday 18th, Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th March.