The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
by Southport Spotlights Musical Theatre Society
at Southport Little Theatre
Review by Ellen Campbell
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a musical comedy where six contestants compete in a spelling bee for a monetary prize towards their education.
A very talented cast gave it their best shot aided by choreographer, Pippa Morris, and musical director, Adam Dutch, with superb singing and dancing throughout. Unfortunately, the songs are not memorable.
Rona Lisa Peretti (Lauren King) compered the competition and Vice Principal Douglas Panch (Peter Forshaw) assisted, giving contestants the meaning of the word they were to spell and a sentence containing the word. This produced the best laughs of the evening.
‘Contestants’ from the audience were sought out and put through their paces with Les Gomersall from the Southport Dramatic Society making an appearance and Don Tully practically joining the cast for the first act.
As we become familiar with the contestants through their antics we discover the hang ups of Olive (Natasha Athey) Marcy (Toni Spofforth) Logainne (Corinna Davies) William Barfee (Chris Seery) “Chip” (Rob MacGregor) Leaf (Lucas Goodman) from warring parents, agonies of teenage years to magic feet. It’s all in this little set.
As each contestant is eliminated Mitch (Phil Hunter), an ex-con, is there to console the losers with a hug and a carton of fruit juice.
Cheering and encouraging the contestants with their song and dance routines were the prefects (Laura-Jane Palmer-Farrar, Natalie Mott, Chloe Morris and Mia Scott).
It’s a difficult show to warm to but, directed by Stephen Hughes-Alty, it brought out the best in the cast to make it palatable to an encouragingly well attended auditorium.