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