This year marks the 50th Anniversary of local am-dram/musical theatre group The Company of Four, well-known for their annual pantos and summer shows at The Riverside in Woodbridge, to celebrate their special year they are this week presenting “Thank You Very Much” featuring, as you would expect, lots of musical and dance numbers.
The question is how do you feature pieces from 50 years that include numbers such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Fame, Cabaret as well as bits of panto?
Writer Oliver Fosker has achieved this by weaving a tale of a fictitious am-dram group, the Spotlighters as they perform various shows and productions (the Spotlighters story bares more than a passing resemblance to that of the Company of Four). The story of a group of four friends who decide to start their own theatre group is interspersed with lots of musical numbers and therefore it doesn’t seem disjointed following Musical Hall numbers with Pantomime, West End and Broadway hits.
There’s lots of costume changes, lots of toe-tapping numbers and a guarantee that there will be something that everyone will find themselves singing along with at some point.
Essentially it’s a showcase of what the company do best, and that’s to present entertaining musical productions. There are some talented members of the Company including the four principals who are all great, but if you’re cast in a principal role you’d be expected to turn in a good performance. However, we must mention the future, and the company are looking to this with some very talented youngsters who already show promise, both in the Junior Chorus and Dance sections.
Very often all the other people who make things happen are missed, there’s a great orchestra under the direction of Jonathan Gibbs, the tech and stagehands, this really is a team effort and it is this that has meant that the Company of Four has and continues to be successful and long may they continue.
Happy 50th Company of Four and here’s to the next 50!
• Thank You Very Much is at The Riverside Theatre until Saturday 25th June – book now 01394 382174 or visit www.co4.co.uk
Review, Mark Keable, Ipswich24 Magazine