Spotlights 'put on terrific presentation' of Sunset Boulevard

Spotlights 'put on terrific presentation' of Sunset Boulevard

by Henry James (February 2020)

SOUTHPORT Spotlights Musical Theatre Society put on a terrific presentation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard last week.

This production was expertly directed by Stephen Hughes-Alty and was staged at The Little Theatre.

Phil Hunter played Joe Gillis, the unsuccessful screenwriter, who ends up at the home of silent film star Norma Desmond (Marianne Welsh) while being chased by car repossession agents. 

Phil was in almost every scene throughout the show and was perfectly cast in the role. He had mastered some very wordy songs. 

Marianne's portrayal of Norma Desmond was how it should be - very theatrical and over the top.

The shows most famous songs, which are New Ways to Dream and The Perfect Year, are sung between Joe and Norma at the end of the first half. The music for these numbers, and the rest of the score, was played well by the extensive orchestra, which was led by Adam Dutch and Chris Rimmer. 

The music moves quickly along with the action, from up tempo numbers, to more thoughtful songs. Although the score is good, it perhaps is not as memorable as some of Lloyd Webber's more popular shows, such as The Phantom of the Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Tom Hornby was also well cast as Max Von Mayerling, who acts as Norma’s butler. The actors in the other roles were equally impressive and they included Charlie McMullan as Artie Green; Patricia Hodgson as Betty Schaefer; Alex McKillop as Sheldrake, Brendan Gillow as Cecil B. DeMille; and John Delahunty as Myron.

The show had an extensive ensemble, choreographed by Jackie Morris, and those in it provided a good accompaniment to the unfolding action.

There were many different backdrops from Norma’s palatial home with a spiralling staircase, to the studios at Paramount Pictures. Some scenes had been filmed before the theatre run and were projected onto a screen on the night.

The members of the Spotlights were on top form in this production. 9/10.

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