Fadloz Kids presented Phantom of the Opera over five nights at Fakenham Community Centre.
As a farewell performance from Fadlos Kidz, this would have taken some beating. Since it was launched back in 2003 with a gutsy rendition of Bugsy Malone, this lively bunch of youngsters has continued to extend its range time after time, hitting the heights in 2014 with an award-winning version of Les Miserables.
The production team must have thought long and hard before deciding to go for The Phantom of the Opera, a big ask for any group, amateur or professional. Ultimately I reckon what might have helped flip the coin was the pool of talent available amongst the Fadlos Kidz faithful, many of whom had ‘grown up’ with the company down the years.
No-one exemplified this more than Katy Ferris in the lead role of Christine Daae, her wonderful voice in complete control of the hit songs originally written by Andrew Lloyd Webber for Sarah Brightman. She was terrific.
Zachary Green grabbed the unenviable Phantom portrayal with relentless drive throughout. Not easy to take on this character, hiding his blemished face and also hiding in the wings to interrupt opera rehearsals and productions. Plus doing his best to woo Christine away from her true love, Raoul de Chagny, played and sung with panache and style by the impressive Thomas Seymour.
Zachary’s sister Gabriella Green excelled as Meg Giry, singing beautifully and Olivia Taylor as the prima donna Italian diva Carlotta Giudicelli displayed all the hallmarks of a star unwilling to take second place to anyone. This girl has an amazing voice and I could have wished for far more from her. Joe Annison as her plump sidekick Ubaldo Piangi played it for laughs and succeeded. The managerial duo of Ryan Chilvers and George Wilson began a bit nervously but quickly got into gear and were great fun.
The ensemble singing, especially of the Masquerade, turned the stage over to all the younger members who revelled in the limelight. There were times when the orchestra, driven along splendidly by Jo Kemp, rather drowned out some of the words. But overall this was an exceptional show of which the directorial trio of Ben Francis, Paula Graver and Lucy Ferris can be rightly proud.