I Love Music
It is a 5 STAR review from the Herald Express. Reviewer Paul Levie
Someone once said ‘We’re not out of the woods yet’. But WOW! What a way to come out of hibernation.
Locked down, locked up and locked out for almost 18 months, live theatre has suffered worse than anyone during the pandemic. But if ever there was a show to lift the spirits and forget your troubles, this is it.
Two hours of non-stop music with over 40 songs from musicals, movies and Motown. And it was just as if the cast had been rehearsing every day since the first lockdown last March. So slick and perfect were their performances.
I’ve been going to the Babbacombe Theatre for 40 years and this was far and away their best music show ever.
Once again the golden secret is in the versatility of their talented cast of five guys and five girls who can all sing, dance and make you laugh.
Picture, for example not one, but two outrageous take-offs of the Village People – one all-male and one all-female.
Picture a riotous rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s celebrated songs by a wee Glasgow hard-man in a kilt!
And finally picture the tongue-twisting tale of ‘I’m my own Grandpa’, sung by the incomparable compere Andy Oakley. But that’s just the funny stuff. The majority of the show was a sublime showpiece of beautiful ballads, powerful pop and marvellous melodies.
So let’s introduce the cast: Crooner Dean Winters, who started life as a Butlin’s Redcoat and has been entertaining ever since. Songbirds Becky Bennett, Harriet Loveridge and Sarah Montague readily tackled every type of number whether alone on stage or making up duets, trios and ensembles.
Britain’s Got Talent star Sami-Jane and X Factor ‘boot camper’ Eloise Cole made up the five glamorous, talented and sexy ladies who could all dance as well as sing. They lit up the stage and brought a shower of champagne bubbles every time they appeared.
Then there were the rest of the chaps. Joe Harris and Paul Fordham brought a depth of performance that resonated round the theatre. And joining them for the first time was newcomer Reece Williams who is a great addition to the cast.
Director/producer Colin Matthews said in his programme notes: ‘A great song should lift your heart, warm your soul and make you feel good.’ Multiply that by 40 great songs and you have a night to remember.
• My only ‘disappointment’ was that Colin didn’t include that great Lockdown anthem ‘Ping Went The Strings of My Heart’ – by Ping Crosby of course!
Review for the Torbay Weekly by Kathy Uglow. "Out of lockdown with truly entertaining show"
This show promises to be an inspirational musical journey spanning five decades and it certainly had the audience clapping and singing along to around 40 non-stop musical numbers.
This high-energy show covers a vast spectrum from pop classics to popular movie soundtracks and each entertainer has their own forte.
The show was blended together well by Babbacombe stalwart Andy Oakley as compere. Andy is celebrating his 40th year in showbusiness and is a great 'all-rounder' and it was lovely to see him perform as a vocalist.
Likewise, Dean Winters, who is a well-established comic.
While a small sprinkling of humour was a welcome addition, the comedy numbers really work most effectively in the theatre’s seasonal variety show. That said, the audience lapped up Dean’s crazy Scottish Lloyd Webber number and the gents’ “We’re Sailormen”.
Disco diva Eloise Cole delivered some great up-beat pop numbers, while power-house songstress Becky Bennett packed a punch with her dramatic “I Who Have Nothing” ballad.
Trained dancer Sarah Montague added some high kicks to the show, but it was her Disney duet with Harriet Loveridge which left a lasting impression with beautiful harmonies. In fact, Harriet Loveridge was simply divine in her solo number “With You” and is surely one to watch - a star in the making.
Sami-Jane Slater excelled in the Sixties medley and teamed up perfectly with Becky for their powerful rendition of New York State of Mind. Together, the ladies looked and sounded amazing in the Bond love song medley.
In contrast, the Little Mix number – Black Magic – was an unnecessary choice.
Young Reece Williams oozed enthusiasm, having previously performed at the Babbacombe Theatre as part of the Kids Zone troupe in his younger years. He teamed up well with Joe Harris, Paul Fordham and Dean for The Osmonds’ hit “Love me for a Reason”. The guys looked sharp and moved well together.
The Latin injection with Paul’s vocals and Sarah’s dancing to Elita had everyone tapping their feet, but it was the finale when the full company had the audience dancing in the aisles.
Well done, a brilliant end to a truly entertaining evening.
"We loved it so much we will have to go and see it all over again at some point!"
Reviewed for Whats On South West Magazine BY M. Sweet & Family from Torquay
From start to finish, I could not rate the entire theatre experience highly enough. The staff were friendly and welcoming when we arrived, and we felt very COVID safe with the socially distanced seating and measures such as the hand sanitiser.
The show itself was amazing. Compere Andy Oakley was back on top form likening the atmosphere inside the Theatre to Glastonbury Festival, and with his witty anecdotes and jokes galore, the audience were "whipped up into a frenzy" in no time.
The show itself featured 40 different musical numbers from pop to movie soundtracks. The vocalists, there was an amazing 10 of them were at the top of their game and all clearly relished being back on stage again doing what they do best.
There were numerous feel-good songs and funny moments to ensure there was entertainment for all ages. Our own highlights were the cheesy dance routines to "Love Me For A Reason", "We're Sailor Men" and the "YMCA". My sister and I also loved singing along to, the Rick Astley number, and we knew every single word. “Class cheesy moves from Joe who is a newcomer to the Babbacombe Stage and Reece really did remind me of "H" from Steps.
The boy’s, Andy Oakley, Dean Winters, Paul Fordham, Joe Harris and Reece Williams were clearly having an absolute ball being back on stage and thoroughly enjoying themselves entertaining the appreciative and enthusiastic audience.
All in all, a fantastic production that my family and I highly recommend. With fabulous songs throughout, glitz and glamour from the stunning female cast, Sami-Jane Slater, Becky Bennett, Eloise Cole, Harriet Loveridge and Sarah Montague, amazing costumes, and humour; what more can anyone ask for?
Well done to everyone involved at the Babbacombe Theatre. We will be back!
“What a wonderful show”
Reviewed for Life Care Radio by Rosalee Atkinson
The strong cast of I Love Music gave it their all to entertain us. As always, the host Andy Oakley got us all in the mood with his introduction. The cast entertained us from start to finish, with their great voices and dance routines.
After far too long not being able to go to our lovely theatres due to the pandemic it was lovely to see and be a part of an audience having such a great time. Everyone joined with the standing ovation and sang along as the show came to its close. It was a show you didn't want to end!
You certainly will have the feel-good factor when you leave the theatre. I highly recommend the show-please do go and see it and support this lovely theatre.