Tonight is Music Night

Performer by The Upstagers

The Winter Garden, Ilkley

A sparkling evening packed with great songs from the shows marked the end of a successful season and a parting of the ways for some members of the Ilkley-based theatre company. Over the past 25 years many of the talented youngsters to have passed through the hands of director Gill Jackson have gone on to build careers in the profession. There will undoubtedly be yet another crop of Upstagers alumni treading the boards of major West End and regional theatres judging by the ecstatic roars and cheers that greeted every song.

Excerpts from over twenty musicals tended to favour younger shows such as Hairspray, Jekyll and Hyde, Wicked, We Will Rock You and Upstagers' recently acclaimed production of Sister Act. Older musicals did get a look in as well though; it was exhilarating to experience the sheer elan which this youthful company brought to classics like If I Loved You (Carousel) sung by Tom Ramsay, People Will Say We're in Love (Oklahama) sung by Grant McIntyre with Katie Pearson and Impossible Dream (Man from La Mancha) sung by Grant.

Vickie Holmes and Emma Williams shone in their delightful medley from the King and I. Dalton Wood was at his darkest and most intense in Empty Chairs and Empty Tables (Les Miserables) whilst Bradley Johnson was quite heart rending in Why God Why? (Miss Saigon). Excerpts from Jekyll and Hyde included In His Eyes, sung by Robyn McIntyre with Emma Williams; all the Girls let their hair down in Bring on the Men. Dalton, Bradley and Tom impersonated pop idols Westlife in their version of The Rose. Bonny and Clyde were portrayed by Terrelle Kay and Bradley in The World Will Remember Us.

There was, of course, much more in this long programme. The evening would not have been complete without that eternal trouper Shirley Britton and her nostalgic medley from Oh What a Lovely War. A recorded instrumental and orchestral backing added a professional sheen to the entire concert.

by Geoffrey Mogridge