West End to Broadway (Congress, Eastbourne, July 25th – August 2nd)

From the opening song sung in a foreign language through to the glittering finale in an American accent, I loved every minute of West End to Broadway.

It was staged by the very talented Rattatatonians (so called because they were founded behind a locked door 30 years ago) and some of their original members are still alive, which just goes to show how truly professional they are.

Some of the performers must be so old it’s amazing they can manage without a zimmer frame, but this is very well-balanced by the fact that a lot of the performers are very young. Their parents must have been teaching them showtunes when they were in their nappies!

There was an incredible range of shows represented in this glittering production, some of which I have seen, but I didn’t recognise all of them, so they can’t have been put on at the Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne, where I am a Friend as well as being one of the popular reviewers. I recently saw a production of Agatha Christie’s Black Coffee there starring Robert Powell (best known for playing Jesus on TV).

You wouldn’t believe how many different outfits there were in this show! The performers changed for every number, which once again shows how professional they are. I’ve seen some shows like this where the performers just stay in the same costumes throughout, and that’s very confusing if you’re trying to work out which song is which.

Among the highlights for me were the medley from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, in which there was even a car, but it didn’t fly so I don’t think it can have been the real Chitty Chitty Bang Bang , a film which starred Arthur Mullard. The children were especially good in the medleys from Matilda and Annie, which if you put them together makes Matildannie.

The whole company were in top form in a rousing act one finale from Les Miserables, which I saw in London with Alfie Boe with a beard, though in this production nobody sang the showstopping Bring Him Home, so it was probably a bit too high for the men to sing.

Other highlights included We’re in the Money from 42nd Street where everyone was dressed in green because that’s the colour of dollar bills. The three male dancers all resembled each other closely so I think they must have been clones. Also excellent was the West Side Story medley – the girls were so good you could actually have been watching Cheetah Riviera on stage!

It is shows like these that make you realise how fortunate you are to have such professional amateur performers in the area. Producers should cast some of these people in their shows instead of people from TV who we have never heard about and they wouldn’t cost so much, which would mean that the lights wouldn’t keep going out during productions (something which seems to happen regularly when I go to the theatre!) because someone can’t afford the shilling for the meter.

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