WOW!'s 2015 show was “Our House” which ran from 16-21 February 2015.
The show gained 6 nominations for North Essex Theatre Guild (NETG) Awards: Ben Huish and Mark Ellis were both nominated for Best Young Actor, Alice Tunningley for Best Young Actress, Jack Martyn & Max Lenoir were nominated for the Adjudicator's Award for their comic pair-playing, the costume team for the King Costume Award and Our House for Best Musical. Our House was named joint winner of the NETG Jacque and Peter Collyer-Smith Trophy for Best Musical 2015.
Our House was also awarded the NODA Best Youth Production Award 2015 for District 11, NODA East.
Our congratulations to Director Amy Trigg, Musical Director Emma Firth, Choreographer Louise Lachance, cast, crew and everyone involved for these very well deserved awards!
Braintree & Witham Times Review by Ron Fosker
Rarely can WOW have expended so much energy in an evening.
And seldom can a title have been so apposite as House of Fun, Madness’s only No.1 and the song that led to final frantic scenes as the entire case threw themselves around the stage in ever more frenetic dance routines.
This house was having great fun, and its infectiousness carried over to the audience, few of whom can have left without at least a vestige of a smile on their face and a spring in their step.
The maelstrom of movement was the climax of an evening devoted to Madness songs, worked into a storyline that used the Sliding Doors concept of parallel lives of good and bad, black and white, happy and sad.
It was carried along by some excellent performances, as one has come to expect from this group, led by Ben Huish, as the central character Joe.
His strong singing was matched by Mark Ellis and Ed Tunningley while Rosie Goddard, as Joe’s girlfriend, brought in the tender touches, with an especially poignant and reserved version of NW5, one of the group’s more recent and lesser known hits.
Amy Seymour was a strong presence as Joe’s mother while Ashton Reed and Alice Tunningley did the cheeky stuff opposite Max Lenoir and Jack Martyn.
The show was a first in the director’s role for Amy Trigg. A WOW regular herself not too long ago, she will have been only too well aware of the standard her predecessors had set.
She can be satisfied that she more than matched them with this vibrant production.
WITHAM OPERATIC WORKSHOP (WOW)
Director Amy Trigg
Musical Director Emma Firth
Choreographer Louise Lachance
Performed at Witham Public Hall 21st February 2015
This was one of the best shows I have seen WOW perform.
Packed with drive and energy from start to finish the pace was amazing with 100% commitment from a very talented cast.
The songs, which are so well known, were strong on balance, and the choreography left us amazed at the exacting timing in the feats performed by this young cast, giving the audience such a variety of dance.
Louise Lachance as Choreographer really put her stamp on this show and gave us some first class choreography, and I am sure the cast was up for the challenge of the very daring dance routines.
The set was uncomplicated but very suitable for the show with very few props to distract from a bittersweet story of right versus wrong.
All the main characters led the cast through this action-packed production.
Joe, played so well by Ben Huish, was excellent both in acting skils,dance and a good strong singing voice. His character grew into good/bad and was well timed.
His brothers Emmo and Lewis, played by Jack Martyn and Max Lenoir, gave us two contrasting styles and were great together with Joe in some family tongue-in- cheek asides.
Joe (Senior) played by Mark Ellis was Joe Jnr’s dead father trying to save the younger from falling into the bad ways he had got into. Mark gave a strong emotional feel to his character, which was a hard one to play. Mark had a terrific singing voice for a 17 year old and his interpretation of Joe felt sincere and real.
The “baddie “ in the pack was Reecey, played by Ed Tunningley, a strong character here who led Joe into his undoing in very subtle ways. A terrific dancer as well, Ed fully did justice to this character.
The part of Sarah played by Rosie Goddard was played as a caring girlfriend and her song “It Must be Love” was poignant and beautifully sung, and she was again the forgiving girlfriend to Joe through thick and thin.
All the supporting cast, with many changing characters, added so much to this production and the whole show was a solid unit of stagecraft from every member on stage.
The eight-piece orchestra, led by Musical Director Emma Firth, just excelled in tempi and the sound and mix of instruments added so much to the backing of the show.
Well done to a very imaginative production team for “Our House” and to the energetic cast who, after a week’s run, must be exhausted.
The screen giving a preview of “The Addams Family” the society’s next show, was a very good idea and with the forthcoming shows also a taster for the audience to look forward to.
We were thoroughly entertained with “Our House” and the talent in WOW is just getting better and better.
Many congratulations to everyone - cast, crew backstage and all the many unsung people, who help in many guises. Thank you also for your warm welcome and hospitality.
Reviewer Ann Platten
Regional representative District 11,
Michael Gray's Arts Blog
Oh what fun they had – and we did too – at this bizarre blend of morality play and Madness tunes.
Chief strength of Amy Trigg's lively production is the imaginative and challenging choreography by Louise Lachance. The schoolroom Baggy Trousers, the exercise yard, even the characterful curtain calls are all brilliantly conceived and executed by an energetic company.
A clutch of hugely enjoyable performances by WOW regulars includes the surefire comedy duos of Emmo and Lewis, the “gormless prats” brilliantly done by Jack Martyn and Max Lenoir, and the shallow girls Billie and Angie, Alice Tunningley and Ashton Reed.
Ben Huish brings presence and pathos to the two Joes, black and white, wrong and right, and is vocally very assured. His girl, Sarah, is excellently sung by Rosie Goddard – duetting with Joe in It Must Be Love, and with his dead Dad in NW5.
Mark Ellis, haunting his son like Hamlet's father on the battlements, guides Joe, and us, through the dual development – Simple Equation, books balanced, justice seen to be done.
Strong support in smaller roles from, amongst many others, Amy Seymour as Joe's Irish Mum, Ed Tunningley as the evil Reecey, Chris Tierney as the fat cat property tycoon, and Bella Tull as Julie on Reception.
Wings of a Dove might usefully be more kitsch, but there are many superb stage pictures on the bold geometric set – notably the fatal birthday party with the cake and balloons and the crazy joy ride in Joe's 80 quid car.
Emma Firth's punchy band – with the crucial saxes to the fore – provides great backing for those iconic numbers, which, lest we forget, charted years before these young actors were born ...
Click here to download the programme for the show. It may take a few seconds to load.
The video below, made by our very talented director Amy Trigg at Our House rehearsals, gives you a taste of the show... how good it was and how much fun it was to perform.