Skip to main content

Review of the NMPAT Festival 2015 at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

For over five hours over the nights of Wednesday and Thursday I managed to sit enthralled by the varied, fun and heartwarming performances of hundreds of local children. Organised with the help of Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust (NMPAT), Karen Bailey, Anna Carter and compered with panache by Leigh Wolmarans. This two night feast brought together the work of thirty six schools and groups to provide entertainment for everyone. The packed out audience certainly agreed as they all got into the spirit of supporting all the performances, even allowing for the fact that the bulk of them were perhaps generally there to support their own child.

In his opening speech Mr Wolmarans requested that we applaud them all, support all, there were no winners. I whole heartily agree, on these two evenings all those children that put effort into their performances, of whatever standard, were champions. These were not at home giving kids a bad name, playing video games, trolling on social media. These were the often forgotten army of those that do stuff.

I must not review this show in a manner of others because as already said there are no winners here, all are. I will however pick out a few moments from the two evenings which gives an example of the delights on offer. Opening both second parts on both nights, we were treated to two great body shaking rock performances from Northampton Rock School - Ground Floor and Corby Rock School - Take Them (to the Woods). They were both excellent, and if you would like to check out the former, they are on the Market Square stage at noon on Sunday as part of the Northampton Music Festival. Well worth catching.

Dance was a prominent part of the event also, with many leaning towards the street variety, like that from Beat Project Dance Company. Headlands gave us a combination of salsa, waltz and jive with their own live music and Eastfield Academy gave us a performance to Grease's We Go Together. Contemporary dance was also provided by All Saints CEVA Primary School and Nursery Unit, which spiralled off into more street towards the end.

There were numerous pure singing performances with Broadway Belles excellent interpretation of the "ultimate four chord song". The NMPAT Youth Choir gave an alternative take on a traditional choir with their performance of Nine to Five.

Finally we had some acting influenced pieces including Rectory Farm Primary School offering some Shakespeare, which for myself was thankfully diluted with some Michael Jackson Thriller antics. The final mention goes to Northgate School Arts College for their positively uplifting little piece based on the sublime Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time. Just wonderful.

Indeed the whole two evenings were wonderful. The perfect proof that all children of today should not be put into the same trouble causing, can't be bothered attitude and that these wonderful stars, everyone of them, gets out there and does something special. And on these two nights, very special indeed.



Performances reviewed: Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th June, 2015 at the Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton.

Details of Royal & Derngate can be found by visiting their website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Blue/Orange at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

The challenging and socially relevant Blue/Orange by Joe Penhall was published in 2000 and back then, this caustic exploration of mental health, and more specifically black mental health issues, was a tremendously relevant play. When it debuted on stage in London, the cast of just three was played by Bill Nighy, Andrew Lincoln and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Director James Dacre doesn't have those names to play with so much in his cast, however here, he has worked with the writer himself to rework the play for a more modern audience. Does it still shock, and is the relevance still there today? Sadly, perhaps, the answer is yes, as doctors Bruce Flaherty and Robert Smith come to verbal blows over the health of patient Christopher, at times, you feel 21 years shed little light on how mental health is approached. Many references in the script, still sit unquestionably in the year 2000, however, with this reworking, one thing has changed dramatically. In the original version of the play, the two

Review of Sister Act by the Northampton Musical Theatre Company at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

South Pacific at Royal & Derngate last year set a remarkable benchmark for an "amateur" production, with a large talented cast, superb vocals, sets and a polish up there with a professional production. Sister Act, this years production from the Northampton Musical Theatre Company was more of the same, but perhaps taken up a notch or two. Sister Act is a musical based on the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg comedy and was first performed in 2009. Written by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner, it is a likable and fun musical which genuinely came as a surprise to me. The opening scene at Curtis's Bar and Nightclub is to be honest not the best though and genuinely didn't fill me with much hope. It feels as if it gives nothing to the cast, although it creates the premise of the story coupled with the incident outside the bar. Likewise, I didn't take much to the Police Station scene either, so it didn't bode well. When we reach the Queen Of Angels Cathedral though, this show

Review of Shrek (NMTC) at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

Three and a half years ago, in a land far far away, in a world very different to the one we are now in, I saw the touring professional production of Shrek The Musical , it was a mixed bag of quality, tilted extremely heavily in favour of one particular character (not the one you might expect) and not firing on all cylinders much of the time. One and a half years after my last visit to the Derngate theatre, I return to see the homegrown Northampton Musical Theatre Company's own take on the very same show. Would they be able to breathe more life into the show than the professionals did in that distant land? It is a bit of a yes and no really. Pretty much all of this is done to the best possible standard, and at times, with being an amateur show you could easily forget, they all have normal day jobs. The show oozes professional quality at times. The set looks magnificent, the costumes (from Molly Limpet's Theatrical Emporium) are superb, and as ever with NMTC, the backstage team c