Starshine celebrates all that is best about live entertainment  HERALD EXPRESS REVIEW **** by Sarah O'connor

The mainstay of Babbacombe Theatre’s success in the past has been the quality of its variety shows and this year Starshine celebrates all that is best about live entertainment, mixing comedy, magic, impressions and songs from the musicals to create an energetic and dynamic evening’s entertainment.

Fronted by popular comedy act Ben Nickless who held the whole evening together with an impressive range of impressions and comedy routines, the show also stars musical theatre singer Paul Cobley, illusionist Alex Jesson (and yes, he does cut a woman in half!), comedian David Arnold and singers Sami-Jane and Becky Bennett who were in fine voice for a variety of numbers including Maybe This time and Vincero. The song of the night for me, beautifully staged and perfectly performed was The Lion is the King from The Lion King. Use of projection helped enhance the staging with powerful effect and the blend of voices was wonderful to hear.

The dancers paraded a dazzling array of costumes, and their routines were tightly performed and superbly choreographed by Georgia Lee.

A packed audience was appreciative of the humour (clean and only slightly risqué in places) and Maureen, an audience member sat in the front row, became an unexpected guest star for the night. This mix of popular entertainment, easy listening and wholesome fun, directed by Colin Matthews, will appeal perhaps to a slightly older audience range but the Babbacombe Theatre has proved that when this entertainment is done well, there is always a place for it in the events calendar.

I would also like to mention the friendly welcome and helpful staff who greeted the audience as they arrived and were generous in their warmth. This is a lovely theatre, obviously cared for and always popular with coach parties and visitors but sometimes forgotten by the local theatre going audience, and it should not be, as the entertainment it presents reminds us that an evening of laughter is just as worthy a reward as enjoying a major play or musical.

They can’t put on another brilliant night of entertainment – can they? Well the answer is a definite yes! MID DEVON ADVERTISER REVIEW by Rose Howes

Every time I go to the Babbacombe Theatre I always wonder how they are going to top the last show? They can’t put on another brilliant night of entertainment – can they? Well the answer is a definite yes! 

Starshine is yet another fast-paced, action-packed, laugh-a-minute show which moves effortlessly from song and dance, to magic, to comedy and back again. 

Having performed on stage from an early age and serving several seasons as a Blue Coat, entertainer and man of many voices Ben Nickless is this season’s headline act. He turned professional in 2003 and, apart from stage shows where he peddles his comedic talent, you may see him in pantomimes around the country for which he is in great demand.

Now I am slowly changing my mind about magic, magicians and illusionists. Alex Jesson is this season’s illutionist, and I must say magic is growing on me, Alex has a pleasant presence on stage and even becomes the victim of one of his own illusions. The calibre of illusionists that appear at Babbacombe are some of the best the industry has to offer.

David Arnold, a loveable Welsh comedian, throws himself into the performance with gusto. From singing, dancing and comedy, David performs with the younger cast members, The Shiny Stars – four groups of six children who take it in turns to perform throughout the season. The group on the night had a professional attitude towards performing which comes across in all that they do. My favourite performance of theirs has to be Stick It To The Man from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, School of Rock.

Dance Chique are six beautiful young ladies who change their costumes from one song to the next without missing a heartbeat, their dance routines look graceful and effortless.

Starshine also features a tribute to Michael Jackson in what would have been his 60th year.

But I’m afraid you have to wait until nearly the end of the show to see my absolute favourite performance – all I will say is what happens when you take Ben Nickless, an old record player and Elvis. Comedic genius!



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