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Review: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the children's theatre company Ipswich, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, to July 8

PUBLISHED: 17:37 06 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:37 06 July 2017

Eliza Walker stars as Milly and Charlie Leggett as Adam in this stage version of the MGM classic. Photo: Bridie Rowe

Eliza Walker stars as Milly and Charlie Leggett as Adam in this stage version of the MGM classic. Photo: Bridie Rowe

Archant

If you miss the golden era of those larger than life MGM movie musicals, you're in for a Wonderful, Wonderful Day.

The Children's Theatre Company Ipswich stage Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, July 5-8. Photo: Bridie RoweThe Children's Theatre Company Ipswich stage Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, July 5-8. Photo: Bridie Rowe

Not a sure-fire sell-out blockbuster, it was a bit of a gamble for artistic director Bridie Rowe who here takes on directing and musical staging duties. Going by opening night, it’s paid off.

Set in Oregon in 1850, Milly marries backwoodsman Adam only to find herself wed to slaving for him and his six rowdy brothers. She plans to civilize and then marry them off but it backfires when the overly enthusiastic boys kidnap six women from the neighbouring town to be their brides.

The music is great. Having the band, under the direction of Jade Tournay-Godfrey, dressed in western wear on stage was a nice touch.

I forgot how many fantastic songs there were, ranging from laugh out loud numbers like I Married Seven Brothers, Goin’ Courtin’ and We Gotta Make It Through The Winter to the heartstring tugging Love Never Goes Away and Where Were You?

While many of the townsfolk ambling about in the background are never mentioned by name, each had something that made them feel fleshed out. It was the same with the six brides and six brothers, easily distinguishable from the other. A credit to Rowe and the cast.

The vocals and acting, as always, was strong throughout. Singling people out seems worse manners than the brothers’ table habits, but the central couple of Eliza Walker as spunky Milly and Charlie Leggett as cocksure Adam was fantastic.

The set was used really well, particularly during the more comedic moments.

Another star of the show was the choreography, be it the many dance numbers or the action scenes. The work that went into them is clear to see during the barn dance, choreographed by Becki Carey; the fight scene, the kidnapping and the chase.

If I’m being tough, I felt a couple of these lagged on, threatening to disrupt the pace. The dance interludes, while performed beautifully, likewise.

Overall it was a rollicking night though, Bless Your Beautiful Hides. Read more about the show here.

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