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The Lazy Ace (Susan Elkin reviews)


Three Pauline Quirke academies, two from Hertford and one from Preston, come together to present The Lazy Ace, a cheerful Las Vegas-set musical by Terry Ronald which owes a bit of a debt to Guys and Dolls.

The logistics of managing 200 youngsters aged 5-18 backstage don’t bear thinking about but from the front it looked slick and professional and what an experience for these young people to be on stage at Her Majesty’s Theatre, a professional West End venue.

The piece comprises a strong book with interspersed (plot-appropriate) songs borrowed from elsewhere, arranged by Melanie P Crouch. These include Luck Be a Lady, Jailhouse Rock and Let It Go so there’s plenty of varied material for these very well directed, often talented young performers to get their teeth into. Six separate scenes are presented by the three Academies which do two each. Distinctive costumes (supervised by Anita Barrett) ensure that the whole thing flows and we always know who everyone is – with Angel Applewood in navy and amber, Macey De Lacy in scarlet satin and, Jakey Ground, the owner of the Sneaky Slammer Casino in emerald green tuxedo.

The ensemble dancing is fast and confident throughout and much of the chorus singing is very clear and incisive. Solo singing tends to be valiant rather than accomplished but it doesn’t affect the overall sense of joie de vivre and vibrance of the show.

Much of the acting is really very truthful and convincing with Connor Fitzgerald from PQA Hertford AM as the charismatic and mysterious Sonny giving the most outstanding performance of the evening.

Of course, at a show like this most of the audience are enthusiastic parents and other family members so the atmosphere is very supportive. Yes, as the ever-ebullient Pauline Quirke, herself summed it up from the stage at the end these children did brilliantly and their families are more than entitled to feel very proud of the achievements of their children.

 First published by Sardines:
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Susan Elkin Susan Elkin is an education journalist, author and former secondary teacher of English. She was Education and Training Editor at The Stage from 2005 - 2016
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