Carousel the musical performed by Reading Operatic SocietyReading Operatic Society performed Rodgers and Hammerstein’s powerful musical Carousel at The Hexagon, Reading on 1-5 March 2005.

A large cast of 63 allowed for a spectacular overture. Carousel featured principals Tony Slevin as Billy Bigelow, Naomi Hinton as Julie Jordan, Gloria Griffiths as Mrs Mullin, Maggie Marsh as Nettie Fowler, Daniel Powell as Jigger Craigin, Barrie Theobald as Heavenly Friend, Tor Hartley as Carrie Pipperidge, Mark Williams as Policeman, Ray Fullbrook as David Bascombe, Keith Lawrence as Enoch Snow, Emma Curtis as Arminy, Phillip Elliott as Captain, Gerry Morris as Starkeeper, Heather Steele-Stallard as Louise Bigelow, Oliver Harrington as Enoch Snow Jnr and Gerry Morris as Dr Seldon. The producer and choreographer was Jill Morgan and musical director John Lawes, alongside the Reading Operatic Society’s residential production team – David Parsonson production manager, Carol Hodgkinson stage manager and Geoff Bamford lighting designer.


Review of Carousel 2005
From Newbury Theatre.
The hero is usually the good guy, but in Carousel the hero, Billy Bigelow, is a wife beater who commits suicide, but thanks to some supernatural redemption at the end, he’s not all bad. Tony Slevin played Billy; he had the looks, but his voice was a bit unsure at times.

Naomi Hinton, as Billy’s wife Julie, had a lovely clear voice, and we could feel the agony that she was going through as Billy’s behaviour grew worse. Tor Hartley gave a lively performance as Julie’s friend Carrie, soon to become the wife of Mr Snow, a worthy man of few words. This was a very strong performance from Keith Lawrence.

Maggie Marsh was excellent as Nettie Fowler; she was confident and relaxed, and her powerful rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone was one of the highlights.

The chorus worked well Ð they looked as though they were really enjoying A Real Nice Clambake Ð and there was some nice dancing from Barbara Moore, Denise Schult, Jennamarie Smith and Heather Steele-Stallard, and good acting from the children.

Jill Morgan was producer and choreographer; a mammoth task for a big production like this, and she carried it off extremely well. The choreography was imaginative, and I thought that the tableaux vivants during the overture were particularly effective.

The orchestra, directed by John Lawes, were spot on (and not too loud!), and the colourful costumes and set gave it a professional look.

Although some of the singing was a little thin, there were some strong performances and the principals, chorus and dancers worked well together as a team.