Review: BLODS Aida at the De La Warr Pavilion, June 27 to 30.
The story itself, set in ancient Egypt, follows the typical ‘boy-meets-girl-he-cant-have’ theme of many musicals, with a Romeo and Juliet style ending as the two lovers are entombed together. Under the creative direction of Kitson Wellard and choreographer Sophia Lefevre the production had an enthusiastic and uncomplicated feel – relying on the actors to create the right atmosphere, making great use of the stage, costume and some inspired back-drop projections that compensated for the lack of expensive scenery (now mostly a luxury for amateur productions).
MD Jonathon Bruce and vocal coach Lesley Van Egmond (also starring as Aida) must take special credit as the vocals and band were superb with the sound balanced well so that every word was heard clearly - a very difficult thing to get right with the band playing back-stage. The opening number was terrific – Cassie Abbott’s rock-chick singing as Amneris leading the cast in a vibrant and colourful spectacle taking us from a modern day museum back to ancient Egypt in a matter of minutes.
The parade of slave girls did however look more like a beauty pageant; even rags could not make these stunning BLODS dancers look anywhere near wretched enough!
Perhaps the best number of the show for me was My Strongest Suit where Cassie again excelled in this comedic scene, and the dancers gave a humorous fashion show assisted by two especially camp flunkies!
It is a shame more people did not turn out to support this society who consistently output quality shows.
It is also a shame that there will not be another big BLODS production until next year now; though perhaps a sound business decision necessitated by these difficult financial times. Please do come out and see the next one, Boogie Nights, for with the increasing quality of each show it is almost guaranteed to be another brilliant production.