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Opening night for King's Lynn Players



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The King's Lynn Players opened their production of Sunset Boulevard with a solid performance last night at the Guildhall of St George in Lynn.

Directed by Sharon Fox, the company performed a faultless piece of musical theatre written by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Leading man Tom Clarke gave an exceptional dramatic performance as Joe Gillis and his experience and talent in musical theatre shone through.

Tom Clarke as Joe Gillis showed great musical theatre expertise. (56775176)
Tom Clarke as Joe Gillis showed great musical theatre expertise. (56775176)

Tom said: "It has been full on and intense to learn. It's taken a year as the show would have been in November, and now it's here.

"It's great to know it's worked now we have done it."

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(56774865)

Never stepping out of character he was the linchpin in what is a difficult musical score, with echoes of Sondheim, a lot of the spoken word is underscored with music, so timing is essential.

Equally the leading lady Sarah Krill who portrayed Norma Desmond, the delusional film star, caught up in a love triangle with Gillis and Betty Schaefer, ably presented by Amanda Mason, was outstanding in her role.

Notably emotional at the curtain call Sarah deserved the standing ovation amongst the audience when she took her bow, as did the rest of the cast with credit given to Tim Webster, Keira Attridge and Chris Fox.

Ably supported by the ensemble and held together by the leads Amanda Mason and Tom Clarke. (56775189)
Ably supported by the ensemble and held together by the leads Amanda Mason and Tom Clarke. (56775189)

Playing Norma Desmond is a big part to take on and Sarah acted and sang extremely well in what was possibly an exhausting first night.

Merit goes to Anthony Maley in his portrayal of the loyal butler Max Von Mayerling to Norma Desmond and his method of voice production as a tenor, using falsetto to sing notes higher than within his normal range gave a sincerity and tenderness to his solos.

The ensemble cast did well to listen to each other on stage and provided some great business in scenes.

Paramount Pictures, the set gave an old movie style feel to the show. (56775186)
Paramount Pictures, the set gave an old movie style feel to the show. (56775186)

Callum Barber, one of the younger cast members had his debut performance and did really well on stage, confident and using great facial expressions.

The on stage band, conducted by musical director Samantha Ashby were extremely gifted and gave the performance the sizzle that a Lloyd Webber production deserves.

Actors in the ensemble entered and exited through the auditorium which also gave the production an intimate feeling of being amongst the characters, as if in an old movie, being part of Paramount Pictures, and this was great staging by the director.

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Audience member Tara Canning, from Middleton, said: "I didn't really know the story before but it has been very entertaining.

"The singing quality is good and overall it has been very enjoyable.

"It's great to see the young and older cast coming together."

Tom Clarke as Joe Gillis showed great musical theatre expertise with Amanda Mason as Betty Schaefer who also gave a polished performance. (56775484)
Tom Clarke as Joe Gillis showed great musical theatre expertise with Amanda Mason as Betty Schaefer who also gave a polished performance. (56775484)

The plot starts with the end scene, similar to Blood Brothers, where the outcome is the death of a character, and the story unfolds.

Alison Croose, president of the King's Lynn Players said: "Sunset Boulevard is one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's most well-known, lavish but technically challenging musicals, especially the music and harmonies."

The production has been beset with delays for various reasons and Wendy Fisher, chair of the society said: "After our last show, The Railway Children, had to be postponed and eventually cancelled, it is so good to be back.

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(56774868)

"This is therefore my first show as chair, and I am also proud to be performing too."

Positive praise should also be given to the technical sound and lighting team and stage crew who worked seamlessly to support an extremely professional performance.

I recommend highly to go along to see the King's Lynn Players in Sunset Boulevard and support live theatre.

Jenny Beake



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