Dear Edwina Jr. - Musical ☆☆☆☆4

Showing from - Saturday, November 22, 2014 through till Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Brewhouse Arts Centre - Burton-Upon-Trent

Elaine Pritchard | Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dear Edwina Jr. reviewed by Elaine Pritchard on Saturday, November 22, 2014 for Downstage CentreThe cast of Caberet Theatre Company's 'Dear Edwina Jr'

'Don't worry about prizes, just do what you love', sang the young performers of Cabaret Theatre Company in their energetic and heart-warming production of Dear Edwina Jr.

 

This 20-strong cast were clearly doing what they loved, but I'd nominate them for a host of prizes too for singing, dancing and comic timing in this fun-packed musical.
This company delivered a fantastic ensemble performance full of pace, polish and professionalism. I'd never come across Dear Edwina Jr before, but it's an absolute a gem of a show. It was written specifically for children's theatre groups, with music by Zina Goldrich and book and lyrics by Marcy Heisler.

Set in America in the late 1950s, it tells the story of young Edwina Spoonapple, played by Autumn Beddoe, who stages mini musical extravaganzas with her neighbourhood pals in the garage of her home. These weekly performances are based around Edwina's agony aunt role which sees her deal with a range of problems from local children struggling with picky eating, annoying brothers, shyness, table manners and more.

 

believable and loveable

On paper it had the potential to be a little saccharine-sweet and twee - but not in the capable hands of this company who were believable and loveable as a tight-knit gang of friends. They delivered a fantastic ensemble performance full of pace, polish and professionalism.

The 16 (yes - 16!) song and dance numbers were a joy, and full marks to the cast who ensured we didn't miss any of the clever lyrics that most of us were hearing for the first time. At the same time their enunciation was never forced but always seemed effortless and natural.

 

flowing seamlessly

Director Daniel David Webber kept the action flowing seamlessly as the story unfolded with Edwina keen to impress a visiting talent scout and secure a much sought-after invite to the Advice-a-Palooza in Kalamazoo.

Producer Sally Everson gave her young performers choreography that never interfered with the action but helped the story along and showed off the natural grace and talent of her cast.It was a stunning debut from all concerned.Sally's Cabaret Theatre School has been teaching dance and musical theatre in Burton-on-Trent for 18 years. Drama workshops were added to the timetable in recent years, and Cabaret Theatre Company is a new project which will give its senior students the opportunity to perform a musical each year.

It was a stunning debut from all concerned, and how nice that Cabaret 'old boy' Chris Moss - who trained with Sally for 15 years - returned from university to be stage manager for Dear Edwina Jr.

A word of praise too for the thoughtfully-planned costumes that captured the period feel of the piece without going over the top.

There were positive messages galore in this uplifting show, and I didn't stop smiling for the whole 70 minutes. I'd say the future of musical theatre in Burton is in very safe hands.


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Production Information


Theatre: The Brewhouse Arts Centre

Showing Until: Saturday, November 22, 2014

Production Company: Cabaret Theatre Company

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