Presented by SALOS
Reviewed 24 April 2021
Theatre is back and with it SALOS has launched their latest production, The New Moon. With music written by Sigmund Romberg and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Frank Mandel and Laurence Schwab, this was a popular operetta in its time. It had its debut in 1928 and was performed internationally until the 50’s when it and many other operettas fell out of favour. It has been revived several times (including a previous version by SALOS). It has lost a lot of its charm but still boats several well-loved musical numbers.
Set at the time of the French Revolution, with scenes in New Orleans and Isle of Pines, it tells the story of an aristocrat escaping the tyranny and wanting to establish a new colony and of his love for the daughter of a slave owner. Directed by the indefatigable Pam Tucker with choreography by Emma Fernee who also performed the solo dances. The nine-piece ensemble, sounding larger than they were, was under the steady baton of Musical Director Kate White.
The lead role of Robert was sung by Tom Fraser with his love interest, Marianne, played and sung beautifully by Claire Langsford. Brian Godfrey, resplendent in wig curls, plays Marianne’s father Monsieur Beaunoir. Robert’s offsider Alexander is played with some comic effect by Aslan Anderson-Usher with Bob Daniel as the Captain Georges Duval who is planning to marry Marianne and Benjamin Fleming appears as his bosun, Besac. Sharing the comedy are Dione Baker (Julie) and Maria Davis (Clotilde, wife to both Alexander and Besac). Andrew James portrays Phillippe who comes to warn and support Robert. Tristan Anleu makes his mark as the single-minded Vicomte Ribaud who is trying to capture Robert for the French King.
Langsford shines in One Kiss and with Fraser in the duets Wanting You and Lover Come Back to Me. James shows a fine voice in Softly in a Morning Sunrise and when leading the male chorus with Fraser for Stouthearted Men. As always Baker is lovely in everything she sings, and Davis holds her own. The chorus work was up to SALOS’ fine standards and that alone is entertaining. The costumes, although bright, were often a mix-match but the set was functional and allowed for smooth changes most of the time. The scenes could do with stronger direction, but the cast are always such a happy bunch they provide a tonic for the audience.
Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Disclaimer: Brian Godfrey is the Arts Editor for Glam