Last night I had the privilege of seeing Oshawa Little Theatre’s production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”.
I need to start by giving a huge shout of to my first ever leading man, Todd Appleton. This show is LONG and there are so many songs and so much fast paced dialogue and the vast majority of the show is falling onto the shoulders of whoever plays J. Pierrepont Finch. In true Todd fashion, he lead the cast of 29 talented and enthusiastic performers and the entire show and everyone was better for it. I know that Todd is the first to say that this casting choice is a bit humorous considering he’s a 45 year old playing a 25 year old, but to be honest I didn’t notice at all. I was just so entertained by him and his energy was youthful and uplifting. Apparently your forties are the new twenties!
Oshawa Little Theatre is known for their sets (they are one of the few lucky community theatre groups who has a workshop directly off the stage right wing) and once again they did not disappoint. Ian Handscomb’s set was clean, period and simple. It added to each scene, but did not take away from it. I particularly liked the scene in the bathroom during the song “I Believe in You”.
Baiba Senecal has done it again! For those of you who have not worked with this amazing choreographer, drop what you are doing and find out what show she is working on next and audition. Community theatre is non-professional, so in all likelihood, the participants are not trained dancers. But you don’t want them to look like non-dancers up there on the stage, you want them to look like they could be doing those steps in their sleep. Baiba has many skills: the first being that she is able to teach choreography to non-dancers so that they look like dancers on stage. The second is her ability to take simple steps and make them look more complex and entertaining then they might be if choreographed by someone else. I have worked with her before and always felt so confident performing her steps and it was apparent that all of the cast of H2$ felt the same.
If you were in the audience last night, no doubt you heard my loud cackle pretty much every time Johnny Soln was on stage as Bud Frump. His physicality as the character was enough to make anyone laugh and then he opened his mouth and I was done for. His voice reminded me of a Sesame Street character and his personal vendetta against Finch was performed with such dedication (and complete obsession!). I am always a fan of Johnny’s acting as you give him a character and he is so invested in his performance, but his singing voice stood out for me last night as well. He had some solid belt notes coming outta him that I must say impressed me.
- To Mary Soln who charmed her way into my heart as Rosemary Pilkington.
- To Jill McMillan who rocked those 1950’s costumes and made me laugh during “Been a Long Day”.
- To Donna Lajeunesse who made me do a double take because I didn’t even recognize her… and of course for that high B at the end of “Brotherhood of Men”.
- To Alexandra Lembo and that blue dress! (If you see the show you’ll know what I’m talking about…. WOW!). She sure knew how to “work” it!
Overall, a great show with some stellar designs and performances. Congratulations to all involved in OLT’s production of H2$!
(Photos by Raph Nogal Photography)