Wallop The Musical




MC Tony Wall Gladys Laurie Bright Arlene Sophie Paice Director Barbara E Windsor
Johnny Steve Leitch Chairman Brian Minchin Ronald Raincoat Dave Beavis Musical Director Rob Randall
Janet Jacky Cook The Extremes Clare Allsop Jill Tracey Paice Choreographer Tracey & Sophie Paice
Derek Ian Lambert   Celena Bain        
Helen Liz Hopkins   Julie Foard     Photography James Cook


Surrey Advertiser

Theo Spring

4 stars

Wallop's winter show always seems to provide something of a social occasion as audiences gather at their tables to indulge themselves in the entertainment, the odd glass and a fish supper.

To a packed Thursday night, songs ranging from musicals to ballads to pop were woven into a loose plot about an amateur group, The Really Hopeful Theatre Troup, seeking a venue that will help them revive their failing finances and dwindling audiences. Devised by Rosemary Minchin, the scenes showed the troup's tenacity as they attended auditions, singing, dancing and acting rehearsals, all in the hope that they would be able to perform. One of the funniest of these was the drama section's skits on Shakespeare as one-line visual puns on actual quotes paraded across the stage culminating in Brush Up Your Shakespeare from Kiss Me Kate.

More comedy came from the wardrobe department scene where the men revelled in being the seamstresses - a reaction to the backstage set construction being in female hands (If I Had A Hammer).

Musical Director Rob Randall, who had his work really cut out to be on top of the many musical cues, led the singing rehearsal before Liz Hopkins came in with a Doh Ray Me tutorial. Do You Wanna Dance and Your Feet's Too Big featured in the dance scene and a plethora of money songs (If I Were A Rich Man, Money Makes the World Go Around, Pick a Pocket or Two, Abba's Money Money Money) helped the troup's committee wish for financial improvement.

Jacky Cook's excellent solo - Abba's I Have A Dream emphasised how things might be and Clare Allsop's Sing, Sing A Song was melodious enough to get her a singing lead in any show.

Wallop are fortunate to have a small team of agile young dancers, including Sophie Paice who co-choreographed with Tracey Paice. Joining Sophie in an exuberant high kicking routine, Katie Leitch and Sarah Kennedy danced their socks off, aided by Dan Kent to make up this quartet. This did not mean the rest of the troup were stationery - far from it, as tap and modern routines flowed through the show.

There was an 'in house' backing group of Clare Allsop, Celena Bain and Julie Foard and some tuneful numbers from Steve Leitch and Ian Lambert. Comedy actress Laure Bright gathered the scenes together with her tea trolley and tlc, always exiting on a joke.

Finding songs to suit the chosen themes was a considerable achievement and it was good to see Barbara Windsor back in the driving seat as director who, along with Janet Harris and Yvonne Mount costumed the show with what has become Wallop's trade mark - colour themes. Along with a good lighting plot, this always makes their shows so easy on the eye.



Jeff Raggett - Region 5

Short review:

'Wallop The Musical', written by Rosemary Minchin, in the style of a musical revue, a story about an amateur company searching for a performing venue. Brilliantly directed by Barbara E Windsor, with a varied programme, everyone had their moment in the limelight, radiating energy and enthusiasm.  The number of songs and routines were impressive, led admirably by the Musical Director Robert Randall and his accomplished small band.

Main Review:

Knowing Wallop cafe style revues, I arrived in anticipation of a very entertaining and relaxed evening and I wasn't disappointed. My thanks to the Front of House team for the warm welcome and hospitality.

 'Wallop The Musical' written by Rosemary Minchin, who was also in the company. The informative programme explained that 'the story is about the 'Really Hopeful Theatre Troup' who were in trouble due to poor finances and the run down state of their hall which didn't attract good audiences.  Johnny, a Committee member and performer with a heart of gold has a contact in high places.  With a few ups and downs along the way, Johnny comes to the rescue of the 'Troup' at the 12th hour and an off West End Theatre is loaned for free for one night's performance. The Company rally round and put on the show of their lives'.

Brilliantly directed by Barbara E Windsor, the plot involved a lot of hard work by all members of the company. Naturally there would always be the principal characters but it was lovely to see everyone having their moment in the limelight, radiating energy and enthusiasm.  The numerous songs that the company got through was impressive. From the moment Tony Wall, the 'MC' opened the show, the audience were thoroughly entertained by a varied programme, led admirably by the Musical Director Robert Randall and his small, but accomplished band. The songs came fast and furious and the plot was easy to follow.  Particularly impressive were the ranges of costumes and coordinated colours. Some of the dresses were spectacular, especially the Extremes and the Dancers.  One could tell that there had been a lot of preparation and teamwork by the Wardrobe team and the company to provide a visual feast.  Nice bright lighting and simple but effective staging by the Lighting/Staging Team  with sensible use of the rostrum, which included a fence for the cast to appear to lean comfortably against. Very nice company  pictures were formed during the various scenes, and the choreography by the Tracey and Sophie Paice was excellent.

Unfortunately I can't mention everyone individually; as the plot and performances developed, regrettably it was difficult to keep up with who was singing what, I appreciate that there were indeed a lot of songs, but a point for future programmes, it would be nice to include the songs so that performances were credited with their particular numbers. 

Act 1

The start was just a little slow and tentative but everyone soon got going.

Money - the Abba number, was a very good routine.  Well done to the brave lady who came forward in the wheelie chair with money bags.

The Auditions.  Very good use of the 'Extremes' musical interlude and one could tell that all participants were enjoying their moment.  The best moment was the 'juggler - Susan'. Hilarious. Also worthy of note, the tap routine, dressed in gorgeous black and white costumes. A nice finishing song by the judges and singers.  Good 'Wallop' T shirts. 

I was pleased to see that the MD got a chance to sing, although it would have been nice for him to turn round to perform to the audience.

'Jonny One Note' was very good - but no details as to who this was! But it is difficult to stay on one note and he did so very well.

The Dance rehearsal, very impressive. Anyone in the audience who has been to a company dance rehearsal will relate to the sight of the choreographer 'drilling' the full company. To be fully realistic, some of the members could have made a few more 'mistakes' early on.

Laurie Bright, (Gladys the Tea Lady),  was one of my favourite characters.  Her one liners which were both on and off script had excellent comedy timing.  Of particular note, at the end of the show when Gladys got into her 'glad rags' and joined in the dance routines, she had the happiest face in the company, she was obviously enjoying herself.

Rosemary Minchin: 'Writers' Block'.  Excellent delivery, (although technically - the 'lightbulb moment' was late!).

Jacky Cook, (Janet)  very nice performances, a great voice.

'Get into the Groove' Excellent final number to Act 1, nice to see a young dancer, Dan, who was excellent, very good expressive face. Good luck with his future field trip abroad. The lighting team worked very hard in this number, well done.

Act 2

Maxwell's Hammer - very enjoyable sing a long for the audience. 

Sewing Machine men - well done!  Great outfits and again good movement from Dan.

'Joseph song': clever lyrics

Shakespeare sketches - very very funny, well done the company, and of course 'Brush up your Shakespeare' is always a winner with audiences. Well chosen.

Jacky - 'Dream' - nicely performed.

Da doo ron ron:  well done with great blue dresses, nice idea to use phones

Roses:  Excellent kick line by the girls.

Derek - Devil Women - well sung with a slick routine.

Secret Love - nice little ballet, Sophie Paice worked particularly hard throughout the whole show. Very impressive, precise work. But please smile a little more.

'We've got a show' - good energy. Ensemble all looked suitably glittery. The rostrum came into its own in this number. 

Hairspray number:  A great finale.  I know from experience it is difficult to sing and dance this number so well done everyone!  Great black and silver dancer dresses.

Thank you for your hospitality and if I can be of any assistance please don't hesitate to contact me.