‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ Review

[cs_content][cs_element_section _id=”1″ ][cs_element_layout_row _id=”2″ ][cs_element_layout_column _id=”3″ ][cs_element_headline _id=”4″ ][cs_content_seo]Reviews for ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ – 29th March to 2nd April 2022\n\n[/cs_content_seo][cs_element_gap _id=”5″ ][cs_element_gap _id=”6″ ][cs_element_text _id=”7″ ][cs_content_seo]ACT Review 

This musical has a barmy plot based on the story of the “Sabine Women”, or, as they sing “Sobbin’ Women”, of seven brothers that come to town and carry off seven pretty girls,.Act one is a whirlwind of choreography and singing: act 2 is moody and brooding as the brothers long for their seven would-be brides. The finale is a complete Ye–Ha of musical celebration of the brothers’ marriage to the girls. It is musical theatre at its best!
The director created a visual feast. This show requires the triple threat of singing, dancing and acting in equal measure but it is the dancing that is the heart of this musical. The choreography was so inventive, depicting every emotion with leaps and high kicks, but never elegant thus keeping the rough, cowboy image. The fight at the social when the brothers try to woo the girls by “Goin’ Courtin” was skilfully choreographed. To make all this work the music has to flow, and here every crotchet and quaver was punched out. The additional songs by Al Kasha and Joel Hirshhorn added to the already iconic score. All this was played out by a fine orchestra.
Set in Oregon in 1850, the scenery consisted of module pieces that could be used for exterior scenes and reversed for interior scenes. All the scene changes glided into place without being noticed: all credit to the stage crew. Lighting and sound enhanced the shows ambiance. Character presentation was of the highest standard. The home-made shirts of the brothers, until Milly gets to work on them, and their shirts colour coordinated with the girls dresses made it easy to see who is who in the brawl at the social.
A cast of forty plus included an ensemble of children who were so well rehearsed. They contributed to the success of the piece. We cannot forget the good work of townsfolk and other characters who were so important to the overall narrative. The highly capable suitors were all individual characters so that the audience believed in them. Tom, Matt, John, Lucas, Christian and Sam were spunky in delivery, a match for the Pontipee brothers. Speaking of which, the six wannabe suitors played by Ben, Andrew, Deni, Ben, Lewis and Matt were all-rounders in performance. They played respectable young bachelors with an endearing rustic nature, nimble of foot, comedic with strong acting abilities.
The sweet pie filling between the lovelorn brothers and suitors are the town’s (later kidnapped) maidens. The girls worked their magic over the boys, Katie, Maria, Amy, Jessica, Hannah and Gemma each displaying their performance and dancing skills. All together the boys and girls were exhilarating, complementing each other.
Adam Pontipee, the eldest brother, opens the show on his quest to find a bride, “Bless your Beautiful Hide”. Gary Jones wins over the audience with his charismatic vocals and dramatic interpretation of the all American buck-skin hero. Adam finds his bride in Milly Bradon, a feisty frontier woman. Aimee Clare took hold of the character showing the strength these women of the old west had to have, at the same time giving way to the pain of romance.
This is a musical that creates a feel good factor which quickly spreads around the auditorium. A blissful night’s entertainment!

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Author: Claire Ashworth

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a huge undertaking. To find two men available at the same time that can sing and dance competently is an achievement, but to find seven is a minor miracle – but find them they did! They then triumphed again by finding seven highly competent ladies that all looked right (height, hair colour) and clicked with the seven men. It is such an intensely physical show that being able to “fit” with your dance partner is an absolute necessity.

The main brother, Adam, was played by Gary Jones. He threw himself into the chauvinistic part with gusto and gave us a consistent accent, great swagger, a touch of humility and some strong vocals. His female balance was Milly played by Aimee Clare, she showed us lots of sass, swagger and a softness. She was a great match vocally and together they had some lovely light and shade moments. The song that all three of them sang (Love Never Goes Away – Adam,Milly and Gideon) was beautifully done with all three parts coming through clearly.
The six Brides – Alice (Katie Perkins), Dorcas (Maria Maryland), Ruth (Amy Mason), Liza (Jessica Haslam), Martha (Hannah Kinsey) and Sarah (Gemma Chapman) were all fully immersed in their characterisations from the off. They all showed great stage awareness and let each other shine in some lovely individual moments but also worked like the well drilled team that they are in full chorus numbers.
The six Brothers , Benjamin (Ben Drane), Caleb (Andrew Jordan), Daniel (Deni Griffiths), Ephraim (Ben Evans), Frank (Lewis Stephens) and Gideon ( Matt Orrillard) worked equally hard. Their individual characterisations were firmly in place too and I was pleased to see relaxed faces as the dancing got more demanding and intense – it can be very hard to keep character while throwing yourself around and trying to spot and catch, so well done boys.
The six Suitors, Jeb (Tom Daniels), Nathan (Matt Copsey), Luke (John Nielsen), Matt ( Lucas Martin), Joel (Christian King) and Zeke (Sam Boulton) kept the Brothers and Brides on their toes.

It is a good job that Stockport Plaza stage is so wide as watching all twenty doing the choreography that Tracy Harper trotted out to them was nothing less than a visual, whirling delight. I have heard that one of the brothers dropped a stone and a half during rehearsals and I am not at all surprised (where do I sign up?) I always have a certain sense of expectation from Tracy’s choreography, I was not disappointed, she raised the bar, jumped over it and took it to completely new heights. To get non professional dancers attempting and achieving Russian Split Jumps from a stand (no spring board) is incredible, the grace, care and gentleness that all twenty showed to their partners when dancing can’t be taught , it has to come from being inspired and motivated.

Everyone’s dialogue and diction was clear, facial expressions good and the storyline came across very well. The children added some great movement and used the stage well. The Townsfolk were an added bonus and gave us some good dimensions , they really came into their own during all the dashing about chaos when searching for the missing girls.
The set was a jigsaw masterpiece with sections clicking together and spinning round controlled very competently by Steve Hilditch, having the stage crew dressed as farm hands was a genius idea .
The lighting plot fit well within the show and passage of time, season and mood was easily recognised.

Paul Lawton (Musical Director) had obviously drilled hard and gave us a wonderful sound, pace was great and harmonies sounded strong, tight, pure and in key.

Michael McCaw (Director) took the show and ran with it. I am certain, at times, there were logistical nightmares, but what we saw on the stage worked like a dream.

The costumes all looked wonderful and it certainly helped having the Brothers and the Brides in coordinating colour. A point to mention that pleased me no end was the matching stage footwear (dance boots, New Yorker character shoes, jazz shoes) worn – this show was slick in every way and we could easily have been watching professionals.

Well Done, everyone. Both myself and my guest loved it and greatly appreciated your wonderful hospitality. See you all again very soon.