Review: Oklahoma, Appeal Theatre Group, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, to June 21

Appeal Theatre Group stage Oklahoma at Ipswich's New Wolsey

Appeal Theatre Group stage Oklahoma at Ipswich's New Wolsey - Credit: Archant

This was the funniest version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical of life on the prairies I’ve seen.

Playing up the humour was a smart move on director Jo Whelton’s part, it gave the show some added zip without ruining everything you like about it in the first place.

Well acted and well sung, the stand-out for me was Glen Carle as peddler Ali Hakim. The role is a gift, but can come off almost pantomime like in the wrong hands. Carle’s understated approach, echoing Hakim’s waning spirit, worked really well. His chemistry with those around him, particularly Emmi-Dawn Garnett’s Ado Annie was a joy.

The ballet sequence, something that still seems out of place to me, was choreographed beautifully by Suzanne Lowe too.

Making good use of the simple set and boasting some great lighting, the only let down staging wise was the all too brief appearance of the much talked about Surrey with the fringe on top which could’ve been a wow moment.

It was opening night so not everything was perfect. The scene changes seemed to drag and I felt for Jud Fry, let down by a non-firing gun while trying to intimidate love rival Curly Maclean. It was sometimes hard to hear the principals, notably as the chorus came on stage, too.

If you’re looking for a good night out at the theatre this is the show for you - and you’ll be helping good causes FIND and Suffolk Family Carers.

Most Read

Happy 40th anniversary Appeal.

Wayne Savage