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Carousel @ Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre

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by ABC Writer (subscribe)
Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
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See the talented cast of BMOS theatre company
There's a good reason why BMOS Musical Theatre Company is not only Birmingham's longest-running amateur dramatic society but also one of its most successful.

When you watch Carousel, you realise just how much hard work must go on both on and behind stage to create such a high standard amateur performance.

Carousel at Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre

Starring at New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham for a week until Saturday July 20, BMOS, the 126-year-old Birmingham and Midland Operatic Society recreates the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

Carousel, a multi-awarding winning show voted "best musical of the 20th century" by Time Magazine, is a heart-wrenching love story between carnival worker Billy Bigelow and millworker Julie Jordan. It includes songs If I Loved You, June Is Bustin' Out All Over, and the iconic You'll Never Walk Alone.

Birmingham's Lord Mayor was even in the audience for the opening performance to see a charming, heart-warming night of entertainment with support from the Midland Concert Orchestra.

BMOS particularly benefits from some very talented leads with an emphasis on strong vocals, as well as impressive scenery and dance routines. Highlights included the fisherman carrying out backflips and other high flying acrobatics, and a romantic dance scene between teenager Louise and a carnival boy on the beach.

James Gordanifa, from Shirley, was cruelly rugged yet also sentimental as flawed hero Billy Bigelow. The 32-year-old actor has returned to BMOS 13 years after winning a scholarship at Mountview Theatre School in London and touring with professional theatre companies.

Carousel 2
James Gordanifar stars as the lead in Carousel

His leading lady Julie Jordan is played by Abigail Wells, who was pitch perfect throughout the show, while Sally Jolliffe as Nettie Fowler stood out, particularly when singing You'll Never Walk Alone.

But there were many hidden talents unearthed in this show. Michelle Worthington was confident and believable as the brassy and heartbroken Mrs Mullin; Marie Donnellan and Chris Psaras were strong support with a flair for comedy; while Joshua Goodwin and Elysia Stretton showed an aptitude for dance and acrobatics, particularly in the mesmerising dance scene on the beach.

Abby Wells Carousel
Abby Wells stars as Julie Jordan in Carousel

Granted, there were a few glitches and noises behind the curtain as sets were moved around, but the positives far outweighed the minor discretions, and the finale still brought a tear to the eye.

It's a show well worth seeing, if not only to support performing arts made for and by talented people in Birmingham.

Awarding-winning BMOS Musical Theatre Company is one of the longest established musical theatre companies in the West Midlands performing for well over 126 years, and is made up members from the Black Country and Birmingham.

Cast members also include Roy Cotterill, Pat Pryce, John Ryan, John Spencer, Chris Ranger, Andrew Henshaw, Becki Stride, Ben Facer-Childs, Claire Hemming, Donna Cleal, Glenn Duggan, James Donnan, Katy McDougall, Laura Powell, Laura Street, Liam Huband, Lyndsey Louise Griffiths, Maria Raymond, Mary Dunn, Melanie Flint, Myles Gillan, Patison Harrigan, Rob Brew, Rob Bateman, Samantha Burke, Suzanne Luscombe and Verna Griffiths.
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Why? See one of the world's favourite musicals
When: Until Saturday July 20
Phone: 0844 871 3011
Where: Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre
Cost: 11 - 26
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