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Review: Co-op Juniors offer some spectacular Christmas sparkle at Snape

PUBLISHED: 11:14 14 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:56 14 December 2019

The Co-op Juniors celebrate 15 years at Snape Maltings with their 2019 Christmas Spectacular  Photo: Mike Kwasniak

The Co-op Juniors celebrate 15 years at Snape Maltings with their 2019 Christmas Spectacular Photo: Mike Kwasniak

@ Mike Kwasniak Photography

The Co-op Juniors Christmas Spectacular, Snape Maltings, until December 15

The Co-op Juniors celebrate 15 years at Snape Maltings with their 2019 Christmas Spectacular  Photo: Mike KwasniakThe Co-op Juniors celebrate 15 years at Snape Maltings with their 2019 Christmas Spectacular Photo: Mike Kwasniak

It says Christmas Spectacular on the posters and Christmas Spectacle is certainly what you get when you are seated inside Snape's world famous concert hall.

The show, celebrating not only the festive season but 15 years of performances at Snape, is as slick, as polished, as professional as any show I've seen staged there. The only thing that's amateur about it is the fact that the performers don't get paid.

If you regard this Christmas Spectacular as a showcase for burgeoning young talent, that will be feeding through to the drama schools, dance academies and amateur theatre companies in years to come, then the state of Suffolk creative talent is very healthy indeed, as the standard of performance in this show is exceptional.

The Co-op Juniors celebrate 15 years at Snape Maltings with their 2019 Christmas Spectacular  Photo: Mike KwasniakThe Co-op Juniors celebrate 15 years at Snape Maltings with their 2019 Christmas Spectacular Photo: Mike Kwasniak

After staging narrative driven shows in recent years, the Co-op Juniors have gone back to their roots with a Christmas dance-variety show which is as inventive and impeccably presented as anything you would see on the West End stage.

The secret of the Co-op Juniors success is that they care just as much about the presentation of the show as they do about the content. They work hard to develop imaginative routines, which show off the skills of their young stars, they drill them well, everyone knows exactly what they are doing, and then the technical team steps in to provide the lighting and sets which offer the perfect lens for the audience to view this wonderful show.

If there is a theme that permeates its way through the show (apart from Christmas that is) I would say there is a touch of 40s/50s jazz-harmony singing ala The Puppini Sisters with numbers like In The Mood, Jump, Jive and Wail, Shakin' The Blues Away, Jingle Bells and Christmas Town. These were dropped in throughout the show to give proceedings an irreverent showbiz kick every now and then.

The Co-op Juniors celebrate 15 years at Snape Maltings with their 2019 Christmas Spectacular  Photo: Mike KwasniakThe Co-op Juniors celebrate 15 years at Snape Maltings with their 2019 Christmas Spectacular Photo: Mike Kwasniak

For those wanting a taste of more traditional, multi-part harmonies then songs like Do You Hear What I Hear, Little Drummer Boy (in the Bing Crosby/David Bowie arrangement), God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and When a Child is Born certainly fitted the bill.

For me the stand-outs were the spectacular first half closer O Holy Night which gave you a real sense of Christmas and the nativity and the second half novelty number I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas which was brilliantly realized and performed.

Well done to the 100 or so singers and dancers, it was a superb start to the Christmas season and well done to the nine piece orchestra under musical director Jo King and to the show's director/choreographer Lucy Allen.

The Co-op Juniors celebrate 15 years at Snape Maltings with their 2019 Christmas Spectacular  Photo: Mike KwasniakThe Co-op Juniors celebrate 15 years at Snape Maltings with their 2019 Christmas Spectacular Photo: Mike Kwasniak

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