After a break of two years I was delighted to hear that “Lights Up” was up and running again and I was so pleased to be invited.

Loosely based on the format of a variety show, Dave Slade’s production had items for all tastes from whole company numbers to comedy magic tricks and from solo singing to short sketches. Something for everyone.

The opening number “Summer of ‘67” was a step back into the past with flower power, bright clothes and the musical number “All You Need Is Love”. A real feel-good moment.

Our host for the evening, once again, was Rob Paice who did an excellent job of comparing the show and linking with the small but very responsive audience. Working alongside him and learning the ropes was Austin Arnold. A compare for the future, this young man had a good connection with the audience and should do very well in shows to come.

Barry, accompanied with his guitar, then gave us 100 things we might remember. This was so cleverly delivered, with perfect diction that I am sure most of the audience remembered 99 if not 100% of the items Barry mentioned. I certainly did.

Di and Sheila sang “Come to the Fair” with a touch of controlled comedy that these two actresses are well known for. Congratulations ladies, nicely done.

Ross then gave us “Mr. Sweepy”, a mime interlude incorporating an imaginary set of drums. The timing was excellent with Ross and sound man John Airey working in perfect harmony together.

Magic tricks are always popular in variety shows and Richard, The Magical Dick was no exception. Mix magic and comedy together and the audience loved it. Based around the well-known pack of cards trick, I have still not worked out “How he did it!!!” All I can say is well done Richard.

Act 1 ended with a short Inspector Dredd Mystery sketch. Very stylized and over the top this was a great way to leave us all smiling during the interval.

Act 2 began with The Choir of the Silent Order of St Cecilia performing the Hallelujah Chorus. All performed using Q-Cards, the effect was both funny and at the same time quite technical. Rehearsing this item must have been great fun.

Next, Di performed the poem “The ‘Ole in The Ark”. Complete with north country accent Di told us the story of Noah and what may have occurred at some point whilst on his ark. Word perfect, Di was able to deliver this rendition and captivate her audience with a story we never knew existed. Well done Di.

“FreeBritney” a complex dance routine was performed confidently by four members of the cast. Choreographed by Louise Edwards it demonstrated the strengths of dancers without pushing the complex steps too far. Timing and co-ordination were good and I liked the idea of the same basic white coveralls but customized to each individual dancer.

“D Drama” proved to be an extreamly clever piece of writing with every word spoken in the sketch beginning with the letter D. I had to concentrate hard but I really enjoyed this item.

“Give Them A Show” sung by Jess and Andrew was one of the highlights of the evening. Well matched vocally, we witnessed a sample of the talent this company has to offer. Breath control was good and musicality on pointe. Congratulations.

Deborah showed us what a natural comedienne she is. Her delivery of “It’s Not You, It’s Me…Things That Would Never Have Worked.” was so well controlled and understated that we couldn’t help but empathize with the song. Facial expression and body language were both appropriate and convincing and I enjoyed it from beginning to end.

The penultimate act was Tom delivering his standup comic routine. Carefully put together and delivered, he did well to engage with the small audience and the use of digital photographs projected onto a screen was an ingenious way of illustrating what he had observed in a supermarket.

The finale of the variety show was a tribute to James Bond. Each member of the eighteen strong cast was dressed as a well-known character from a Bond film and the music was a compilation of Bond theme tunes from Goldfinger to Live and Let Die and Nobody Does It Better to Skyfall. We could join in, hum along or just pick out and name all the characters we recognized.

I am aware that I have not mentioned every single item in the show, but I have aimed to mention those that stood out for both myself and the audience.

Thank you, Bob for looking after John and me and please thank the kitchen staff for the light supper. It was much appreciated. I look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Vicki Avery District 9

Lights Up
DATE 28th January 2022
SOCIETY Stevenage Lytton Players
VENUE The Lytton Theatre
Report Author: Vicki Avery

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