‘Oklahoma’ proved to be a beautiful evening
Nov 25 2009 by Graham Miller
MUSIC lovers weary of the current glut of talent shows and rock musicals found refuge in Our Lady’s High School Former Pupils’ Light Opera Society production of Oklahoma. The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic musical is packed with show-stopping songs which the audience at the Motherwell theatre thoroughly enjoyed.
Those familiar with the group’s previous performances would have expected a highly professional production – and they were not disappointed. In the lead roles, Norman Bradford proved a strong-voiced Curly and Fiona Laird-Walker a winsome Laurey. The strength of the production was, however, the solid acting.
The comic relief characters, Ali Hakim (Peter Nevans), Will Parker (Craig Murdoch) and Ado Annie (Laura Wright), do full justice to Hammerstein’s witty script. Mention must also be made of Craig Murdoch’s dancing prowess, shown to full advantage in the vibrant, Kansas City. Society stalwart Marie Maxwell played Aunt Eller as if born to the part. The standout performance had to be John McKenzie’s portrayal of the glowering Jud Fry. Having such a strong performer in the part really elevated the show.
There is no greater chorus in the American musical than the exuberant title song and, as always, the ensemble were robust, disciplined and tuneful as they went for the big finish. The scenery was minimal but effective and Paula McGilvray’s choreography imaginative. Credit must also be given to musical director David Fisher and producer Thomas Gemmell. Oh what a beautiful evening it proved to be.