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Issue 285 – Full Monty is a sellout success

The curtain has now fallen on one of the most well received and talked about productions the Frome Amateur Operatic Society (FAOS) has ever performed, The Full Monty.
The shows last week saw a packed Memorial Theatre, with tickets selling out completely.
Chair of FAOS, Andrew Carpenter told the Frome Times, “It was director, Claudia Pepler-Berry, who brought her own inimitable style to the FAOS for the first time, who should first be congratulated for providing Frome audiences with such a splendid production. Her imagination and touch shone through this production like a beacon.
“David Hynds too, as musical director, handled what is a very difficult score, both for performers and orchestra alike, admirably and indeed the orchestra provided many of the most memorable moments with their expert musicianship.
“Debutant choreographers, Sarah Plenty and Joni Carpenter, provided some excellent moments (especially Michael Jordan’s Ball which apparently left the six male performers breathless throughout the interval). Terry Baldwin and his team provided excellent support backstage with a very difficult set of circumstances as the more modern shows don’t have the traditional scene changes that we are used to, but rather transform one scene into another.
“Davey Evans was absolutely outstanding as Jerry and really held the show together. His acting, singing and movement was of the highest calibre and Frome is very fortunate to have such a talented young man within its midst. It is difficult to believe that his co-lead, Kevin Withers, has never acted or sung on stage before because the quality of his performance was breathtaking. In particular his comic timing was ‘spot on’ and this is not something you can teach people – you either have it or you don’t and Kevin certainly does. The relationship between these two young men was most believable and set the foundation for the entire production.”
The supporting cast all played their part in providing such a memorable production and the general comment that came from audiences each night was that ‘they’d never laughed so much in all their lives’. The comedy was led by Nevil Poole as Malcolm who gave another outstanding performance for the society with some side-splittingly funny individual moments, particularly when being withdrawn from his car after trying to commit suicide and in learning how to do a pelvic thrust. Carl Smith, another person making his stage debut, captured the audience’s hearts with his performance of Horse. His rendition of ‘Big Black Man’ brought the house down each night. Steve Huggins, a newcomer to FAOS from Bath squeezed every ounce of humour he could out of his role as Ethan and society chairman Andrew Carpenter as Harold completed the six men who eventually went all the way and did The Full Monty. Andrew appeared to be really enjoying his role and the scene in which he wore a pair of blue Y-fronts was a sight to behold. We’ve come to expect first rate performances from Andrew over the years and this is indeed another to add to his very impressive list.
“The ladies should not be forgotten either as, opposed to the film, they have major parts to play in the musical production. Led by Vic May and Lou Knight as Georgie and Vicky and supported by Heather Cox and Rosalind Wilkinson as Jeanette and Pam they added greatly to the quality of the production. It was really good to see all four ladies given their first major principal role with the society and all excelled. Of course the other critical role in the piece was expertly played by Leon Driessen in his portrayal as Nathan, Jerry’s son, and their tender moments were most memorable. How good it was to see Reg Evans in his 75th production – the funeral scene was one of the funniest and most touching in the show and this was the quality of the writing – one moment you were aching with laughter and the next you were in tears.
There were so many of the other memorable moments like Keno’s strip, which got the show off to a rousing start, expertly carried out by Dan Bolton, Estelle, played by Nicole Wooldridge, taking a pee in the gents toilet, the old ladies from the rest home in the rehearsal strip scene, the audition strips by Reg Willouby, played by Nick White, and Marty, played by Andy Tawse, the removal of the TV in Harold’s living room by Nick White and Paul Garbutt and the ladies ensemble as the joggers. The comic moments just went on and on!
“This production has made a bold statement for the Frome Amateur Operatic Society insomuch as it has proved it is very much part of ‘modern society’ and an integral part of Frome in the 21st century. The FAOS is a very exciting organisation to be part of currently and we are all benefiting from this – long may it continue.”