Review of 2017

Viva’s 20th Anniversary year, which was marked with a fund-raising ball at The Brook, Soham in March, was packed with local shows, a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and some huge wins at the Annual NODA Gala Awards! Viva’s Educating Rita (2016) won Best Play AND Best Production and Viva member Joseph Beach was presented with the NODA District 4S Young Performer of the Year Award. This was for his fantastic performance in Viva's production of Evita (2016) as Magaldi as well as performing with Newmarket Kings Theatre in Dream Nights over the summer.
A “skilfully performed play with a difference”

A huge congratulations to the fabulous cast and crew of Shakers who hit the ground running on Thursday 9th February and enjoyed three smash performances. The audience were treated to a selection of characters all performed by our Shaker girls! From Essex girls, to lads on a night on the town, to the couples deciding what to order. Well done ladies! See below for two reviews! Read more from Dr Rosemary J Westwell and NODA

Legally Blonde
“Energy from start to finish and was performed with confidence by all involved”

A PINKtastic week for a PINKtastic show. A huge congratulations to all of those involved in Legally Blonde. We had 53 cast members, 20 production members, plenty of volunteers plus a complete sell-out! Dr Rosemary Westwell said “The music was first class, all singers and instrumentalists producing clear, resonant and wholesome sounds enhancing the plot beautifully while excellent acting, slick staging, glitzy choreography, credible costumes and subtle and effective lighting had us spellbound.” Many congratulations to Riley Williames who made her Viva debut in the star role of Elle Woods. Read more from NODA review

Dad’s Army
“Viva’s Dad’s Army deserves a medal”

The cast & crew of Viva’s Dad’s Army received very high praise on this production and it is fair to say that the work that was put into this show paid off! From a cast trip to the Dad’s Army Museum in Thetford to a visit from Viva Patron and Dad’s Army original cast member Ian Lavender – this group did their research! Audience members commented how close to the original TV cast the performers were. Read more from Dr Rosemary J Westwell and NODA

The Bakewell Bakeoff & Departure Lounge: Double Bill
What a fantastic evening!

July saw a double-bill preview night of two adult musical comedies headed for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. The Adult Theatre Company treated us to The Bakewell Bake Off; loosely inspired by the television programme featuring a live bake-off and lots of colourful characters. After the interval a group of younger members had us rolling in the aisles with Departure Lounge- a short musical comedy written by Cambridge-born Dougal Irvine about a group of lads stranded at Malaga airport after a debaucherous holiday. Read the reviews from Dr Rosemary Westwell and NODA.

The Dreaming
“A superb 5-star production”

The Dreaming was the third (!) show Viva took to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2017 and also enjoyed previews at The Hayward Theatre, Ely. Written by Howard Goodall, The Dreaming is a spectacular multi award winning musical based on Midsummer Night’s Dream. The show was produced in collaboration with King’s School Ely and was an Arts Council funded project, directed by professional West-End Director Jeremy James Taylor OBE (founder of the National Youth Music Theatre). The cast aged between 10 years old to over 60 years old was a smash hit. If you missed it please click here to view a taster. The show was reviewed locally by NODA, David Learner for the Ely Local Press and Rosemary Westwell for the Ely Standard.

All three shows enjoyed great success at the world-famous Fringe festival in August. The Bakewell Bakeoff was a complete sell-out, Departure Lounge received a 4-star review from the Edinburgh Guide and The Dreaming bagged 5-stars and a glorious review from The Edinburgh Reporter.

Beauty and the Beast
“A tale as old as time brought to life by Viva Youth!”

As the nights drew in our youngest members took us on a journey to historic France with all the well known characters in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in the autumn. With over 50 cast members, some as young as 5 years, the big musical numbers in this show made a huge impact – especially Be Our Guest with all the singing and dancing kitchenalia! The young members attended twice weekly rehearsals after school and dedicated their half term to this amazing production, telling the story of transformation and tolerance. Read the NODA and East of England Online review.

Brassed Off
“Who needs the West End when we have productions like this here?”

As Julie Petrucci said in her review for NODA, “It’s not often that an amateur company presents a play featuring an entire brass band, but that was what Viva did in performing Paul Allan’s ‘Brassed Off’.  This company always seem to push itself just that little bit further to produce something exciting and insightful and Brassed Off delivered both.” Indeed Viva partnered with Soham Comrades Brass Band for this moving and heart-warming adaptation of the film- depicting life for a mining town in the mid-nineties when coal mines were still being closed down. The audiences struggled to tell the difference between Viva performers and actual musicians so absorbing was the collaboration between the two. This sell-out show was a rousing end to 2017 for Viva and people came from up and down the country to witness this courageous production. Read a review from Dr Rosemary Westwell for the Ely Standard.

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 ...
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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 ...
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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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