Lend Me A Tenor by WLOS
Lend Me A Tenor by Wimbledon Light Operatic Society.
Lend Me A Tenor is a musical farce by Peter Sham and Brad Carroll, based on the play by Ken Ludwig. It tells of the famous opera singer, Tito Merelli, that is due to arrive to sing Otello at Cleveland Opera House. However when Tito finally arrives it is clear that he is in no shape to perform and this is heightened when his wife, Maria walks out on him. Max, the company prompt and the managers lackey sets about to help Tito but things go horribly wrong and a show full of mistaken identity ensues.
WLOS are lucky to have a very talented cast of principles in Lend Me A Tenor. This show places a lot of demand on the cast and they require a variety of skills including the ability to sing extracts from renowned arias for Diana, the ability to sing in Italian for Tito and Maria and strong tap dancing ability for the maids and bellhops. WLOS however rose to the challenge.
The trio of male leads Max (Mark Stanford), Saunders (Neil Wease) and Tito (Barry Stevenson) all complimented each other well. Stanford has lovely mannerisms as mild mannered and nervous Max and an equally strong voice. His voice was shown off well in his duet with Stevenson, ‘Be Yourself.’ Stevenson has a convincing air of charisma as Tito, balancing the character traits of likeable and aloof due to fame brilliantly. All of the 3 male leads coped with the farce well and their timing of the entrances and exits through the numerous doors on the set was carried out perfectly.
The female leads were also very enjoyable with Abbie Minnock as Maggie delivered ‘Fling’ with real gusto and made it a number to remember. However it was Charlotte Donald as Diane who brought the house down with her number ‘May I Have A Moment’ where I didn’t think the applause would stop. She was perfect for the part as a glamorous diva who managed to sing opera arias with numerous comedy props, including a toilet brush in her mouth at one point. My only criticism for the female leads would be that, ideally, there should have been more of an age gap and personality distinction between the Anna’s, especially between Anna 1 and Anna 2. Their 3 part harmony singing however was very tight.
The ensemble were strong on the whole however when singing together as a company it needed more commitment. This wasn’t helped by the fact that often the band overpowered the ensemble. In big opera numbers such as the opening which was ‘Verdi’s Otello’ you need to be hit by a wall of voices and this didn’t happen unfortunately.
The show was very well put together. The costumes were all well considered, especially the burgundy maids and bell hops and the opera costumes. The set looked great in the space. The colour scheme was lovely and gave a perfect look of grandeur for the scenes in the hotel.
This is the first time I have seen a show by WLOS and I really hope they will be inviting me back. If the quality of Lend Me A Tenor is anything to go by you are in for an enjoyable night if you head to one of their shows. Overall I would have to say that their production of Lend Me A Tenor was ‘Il Stupendo.’
Find out more about Wimbledon Light Operatic Society by visiting their website.
You may also like my article on approaching putting this show on for an amateur company.