Review of 2016

2016 was jam packed with a wide-range of shows from epic musicals (Evita, Sweeney Todd) to more intimate dramas (The Lady in the Van, Educating Rita). We also toured the more recent Made In Dagenham – the musical version of the 2010 film which was met with a fantastic response throughout. A great year for the props and scenery departments who had their work cut out creating an underwater theme (Little Mermaid), sourcing an actual van (Lady in the Van) and gruesome homemade pies for audiences to enjoy in the Sweeney Todd interval! Congratulations is also given to Hair & Wigs for the fabulous sixties dos' in Made in Dagenham!
Educating Rita
“A real tour de force!”

Kerry Hibbert and Rowan Maulder kicked 2016 off spectacularly with this famous two-hander written by the hugely popular Willy Russell. ​Many congratulations to the cast and crew- many audience members commented they preferred the production to the film! The production was revived later in the year at the Seckford Theatre for the Woodbridge Drama Festival where it won the Festival Runner-Up Award. Read the NODA review along with glowing reports from Mike Rouse and Dr Rosemary Westwell.

Evita
“A highly powerful and mesmerising show worthy of any professional group”

The 2016 big March Musical was Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita, which tells the story, through a series of flashbacks, of Eva Duarte Peron who rises from poverty to become an Argentinian actress and the wife of powerful President Juan Peron. This production had it all- music, dancing, singing, acting and high production value. The old show-biz cliché “The show must go on” was never more pertinent than in the case of Viva’s Evita- whose leading lady Becky Bush was struck down with laryngitis just days before opening night. With a few days’ notice Katie Shearsmith was brought in from London to carry out the vocal work whilst Becky carried the role onstage. And the results were seamless! Phew! Read more in the wonderful reviews from NODA and Dr Rosemary Westwell.

Sweeney Todd
“A blood-soaked epic [brought] to vivid life”

June saw a week of blood, guts and terror at the hands of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street- Sweeney Todd. This show was not for the faint hearted! Widely considered Sondheim’s masterpiece, this challenging production is no easy task but the cast and crew pulled out all the stops to take us back to the dark streets of Victorian London. Indeed real pies were served in the interval (to those with strong stomachs!) Hats off to Richard Dodd and Samantha Gallop for their excellent portrayals of Sweeney and Mrs Lovett and many congratulations to all the team. Read more from NODA and Dr Rosemary J Westwell.

Little Mermaid
“A wonderful treat…a wonderful show”

As a contrast, the younger members lightened the mood with a wonderful production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid in July. Great effort was made by the team to give the venue (St Andrew’s Church, Soham) an underwater feel and the calypso music and glittering costumes felt very fun and summery! Over 70 children aged 7-15 years took part in this production and filled the stage, the aisles and the balcony with their energy and enthusiasm- many of these children had never performed before! Read more from NODA and Dr Rosemary J Westwell.

Made in Dagenham
“A superb 5-star production”
July- September saw a mini-tour of Made in Dagenham. From Soham, to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and closing at the ADC Theatre in Cambridge. Based on the 2010 BAFTA nominated film, this rowdy, stirring, thoroughly British musical comedy centres on the true-life events of the Ford sewing machinists strike of 1968. The show completely sold out at the Fringe Festival and review 5 star status! The cast of 30 also performed songs from the show on the world-famous Royal Mile to advertise the show. Read more from Broadway Baby, The Edinburgh Guide, NODA and Dr Rosemary J Westwell.
The Lady in the Van
“A mature nuanced performance”

Viva Adult Theatre Company brought the year to a close with Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van. A studio theatre was created at The Brook Entertainment Centre, Soham – a space able to accommodate the actual van. The plot follows Alan Bennett who develops an unlikely friendship with Miss Shepherd, a homeless woman who lives in a van in his driveway for the next 15 years! High praise was received by Mary Barnes (Miss Shepherd), David Blyth and Daniel White (two Alan Bennetts). Read more in a review from Mike Rouse.

2020
Review of 2020

2020 was a strange year for most people – not least Viva! We were extremely lucky that we managed to produce one show before the country went into lockdown in March 2020 – and what a show it was!

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2019
Review of 2019

2019 was a very busy year for Viva. Seven shows were scheduled for the year, we launched our weekly performing arts classes for children aged 5-12, our baby group and our holiday workshops too, a 2017 show enjoyed a re-run at the ADC Theatre in Cambridge, and we still found time to visit and perform at the world famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival!

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2018
Review of 2018

2018 was a huge year for us with seven full scale productions scheduled and the purchase of Spencer’s Mill! (now known as The Viva Theatre).

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