Review: Am-Dram Antics – Falkirk Operatic Society

Am-Dram AnticsFalkirk Town Hall
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

It is no small feat to write and stage a new production of this kind but as a first outing of this type of show this was a great success for Falkirk Operatic Society.

Am Dram Antics: The Untold Story is a newly written type of musical play, within a musical play, written and produced by Ronnie Honey, Amy Louise Sutherland and Carol Sutherland – who also starred in the production. Beginning with a long overture, there was a wide mix of music throughout, from all over the musical theatre world from Mamma Mia to Phantom of the Opera, and the show had some modern day classic pop songs too.  With a small but nevertheless commanding band, led by Musical Director Derek Calder, the range of eclectic songs was a brave move to try and integrate into a storyline which on a couple of small occasions felt like an afterthought.

Nevertheless the energetic cast filled the often bare stage with their infectious enthusiasm. With a satirical and sometimes close to the bone look at the amateur theatre world – from committee meetings to technical rehearsals – it was refreshing to see an honest, self-deprecating (and increasingly humorous into the second act) perspective on the behind the scenes going on of a theatre company.

A humorous performance was delivered from Darren Tasker playing the dastardly Dick and many a strong and ambitious vocal was given especially during “Gotta Have a Gimmick” and “Razzle Dazzle”. A particular highlight of the show was the auditions section in which the audience enjoyed a plethora of beautiful singing pieces including a spine tingling rendition of “On my Own” from Rachel Carter and confident performances from Linzi MacMillan-McColl with “Feed the Birds” and Jeni Adamson singing “Taylor the Latte Boy”.  The darker side of me also thought it may have been nice to portray some more bad auditions for darkly comic effect!

A standout performance came from Ronnie Honey as leading man Guy who performed, among others, two Phantom of the Opera numbers very well against leading lady Shirley McNulty playing the aptly named Christine.  Both demonstrated great chemistry but sadly, yet refreshingly for a change, never achieved the typical romantic ending.

With cleverly placed references, puns and a relatable script, with stories of microphones falling down toilets and characters such as an over-emotional Musical Director and stressed out Producer, the production provided good laughs and something original for this company and the theatre community in the area – which I hope will act as a catalyst for more new work in the future.