WOW!'s 2017 show was “Loserville” which ran from 13-18 February 2017.
Loserville was nominated for 7 North Essex Theatre Guild (NETG) awards: Chris Tierney and Harry Tunningley were both for nominated for Best Young Actor, Isabella Chapman was nominated for Best Young Actress, the on-stage band was nominated for the Timmens Award for Music, and Loserville was nominated for the Jean Jones Award for Set Design, the Technical Achievement award for lighting and the Collyer-Smith Marine Trophy for Best Musical. Harry Tunningley was named Best Young Actor for his portrayals of Lucas Lloyd in Loserville as well as Not Dead Fred and Concorde in WAOS' Spamalot and Cookie in WAOS' Return to the Forbidden Planet.
Braintree & Witham Times Review by Ron Fosker
Boy meets girl, loses her and then gets her back again is the theme of a thousand musicals. But not many come with a backdrop of computer science.
This one, by British writers but set in America, capitalises on the possibilities in looking back to look forward with various knowing references to things we now take for granted, such as computers talking to each other, or emails as we know them.
It is given the now expected slick high-energy performance from WAOS’s under 21s with sparkling choreography by director Cathy Court – the black-out torch scene was particularly effective – and lively musical backing under the direction of Thomas Duchan.
As chief nerd Michael, Chris Tierney captures his character’s inner torment, exasperated both by his computer and his love life, while Lucas (Harry Tunningley) is more up front in his angst, appealing to the audience for a chance in life and an apology for wronging his mate - and then ends up writing Star Wars.
Serenely floating above the male frustration is the outstanding Isabella Chapman (Holly) whose natural charm shines through everything.
James Harris and Jake Collis give solid support as Michael’s mates while Amy Seymour, Daisy Greenwood and Yasmin Sharp make the most of their moments in the spotlight as the anti-heroines come good.
Theatrelife.org review by Nikki Mundell-Poole
The only losers in Loserville are those without tickets to see this show!
Seeing it tonight and not knowing the show I didn’t know what to expect. We were greeted very warmly by the front of house staff who made us feel very welcome and we sat down with a little trepidation to watch this show.
The show is set in a pre-email/the internet and computer to computer interaction and the concept of the show is how that came to pass. I cannot help but think many of the adult audience members were smiling to themselves remembering the time before this was the norm.
The music by pop group Busted gives a modern feel to the piece but did offer some struggles to this young cast. We should, of course, remember that singing pop music is never as easy as we think. However, a few rose to the challenge of the music and delivered strong performances. Notably Daisy Greenwood as Leia, Harry Tunningley as Lucas, Amy Seymour as Samantha and Isabella Chapman as Holly who came into her own in Act 2.
Despite this being a tentative opening night there were many other notable performances including Michael Dork played by Chris Tierney who delivered a believable performance as the loveable, nerd genius, Tom Nicoll as Eddie, the guy who loves himself, his minions Huey & Wayne, played by Fraser McLauchlan and Will Hackett, the Yugoslavian twins played by Alice Tunningley and Charlotte Tofts who are supposedly the inspiration for Yoda and the delightful Trekkies, Marvin and Francis played by Jake Collis and James Harris
The set was outstanding and I really felt it added to the overall show, in addition, the costumes fitted the time and period to a tee, in particular, I loved the sci-fi scene. Cathy Court’s choreography was perfectly in keeping with this piece and all the cast embraced it and delivered strongly synchronised routines. As the show is not widely known, I definitely recommend other local societies and those in around the area to spend an evening watching this show and enjoying a great evenings entertainment.
Once again WOW delivered a show which will only get better night after night as they grow in confidence and shows what great young talent is on our doorstep.
Witham Operatic Workshop
Saturday 17th February 2017
Loserville, a relatively new musical, is the story of Michael Dork discovering how to send the first email, while struggling to function at high school. A story of fun, friendship and love; perfect for WOW to perform.
Chris Tierney as Michael Dork gave a convincing performance as the nervous, geeky hero making history by sending the first email. Chris was a strong lead, giving us a multitude of emotions as he stumbled through his school life, never losing his character. Chris was capably supported by his on-stage friends, Lucas, Francis and Marvin. Lucas played by Harry Tunningley was credible as the teenager battling with his feelings for the new girl Holly, his longing to fit in and wanting to do right by his friends; all the while taking inspiration for his new book! Harry sang beautifully and confidently throughout the show. Isabella Chapman played Holly Manson, the new girl who wants to be the first female astronaut – a true representation of her strong character throughout. Isabella played Holly in a natural way, developing good relationships with all the cast she worked with - James Harris as Francis Weir, and Jake Collis as Marvin Camden who gave strong performances as the two geeky sidekicks, longing to be accepted and to find love. The true underlying story in this musical!
The genuine and intelligent gang of boys was a good contrast against the ‘baddy’ of the show; Eddie Arch, played by Tom Nicoll. Tom delivered a strong performance as the popular boy in school, ably assisted by his girlfriend Leia Dawkins, played by Daisy Greenwood. Eddie’s sidekicks were Huey and Wayne, played by Fraser McLauchlan and Will Hackett; both were great as the not too bright tag alongs. Leia’s friends Elaine and Samantha played by Yasmin Sharp and Amy Seymour were both comfortable on stage. Yasmin gave us a ditzy and quirky Elaine, whereas Amy was a little more understated in her defiance to be one of the cool kids. Special mention should be given to Ivanka and Marina played by Alice Tunningley and Charlotte Tofts – they both kept the accents throughout, and stayed in character working well together. They gave genuine performances and oozed energy. Some lovely moments where the geeky boys realise they can find girls who like them; culminating in an awkward first kiss moment for Samantha and Marvin.
All the principals gave strong performances, with consistent American accents throughout. The ensemble did a great job; coming on and off stage in a variety of roles during the show. There was lots of acting going on in the background, with ensemble members who had made clear choices about their characters. There were moments where some performers were a little unfocussed and perhaps a little distracted but this was rare, and mostly there was a good standard of performance.
There was good energy in all the company songs, and everyone had mastered the dances to a good standard, although I did occasionally feel that they could have done some more challenging dance routines. Vocally a highlight for me was Sick, it sounded great and gave Isabella, Harry, Daisy and Chris the opportunity to show what they can do. The pop rock score isn’t particularly memorable which has no reflection on the performance of the cast; and I really enjoyed Ticket Outta Loserville. I also really liked Don’t Let Em Bring You Down in Act 1 as it felt genuine and natural.
The scenery was simple and effective, and having the band on stage hidden behind the set was a good idea. The band, under the very capable direction of Thomas Duchan sounded great throughout and the voices were balanced well with the band. A few mic cues were missed or a little late on some occasions but with so many individual lines it’s not surprising. The lighting really worked for the piece, with lots of variety to enhance the feel of the scene. The costumes were nice and simple, and clearly defined the characters wearing them; with some particularly spectacular efforts at the science fair.
A talented group of young people who delivered a great performance overall. Well done to everyone involved. Congratulations to Cathy Court and Rhianna Howard for a great show.
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