Musical play came from the heart too

Sing from the heart | HAODS Studio | Thursday September 30

There was a celebratory buzz as the members of HAODS took to the stage again on Thursday to Sing from the heart, a new play by local writer Mike Rowbottom.

The company calls itself an “amateur”, but this performance came across as highly professional in all respects.

Simple but effective decor took the audience to the community college, awaiting the rehearsal.

Choirmaster and force of nature Phyllis (beautifully performed as both funny and sassy by Eileen Pinkarchevski) brings her disparate group of singers together to “Sing, Sing Loud, Sing Proud!”

But she has some disturbing news for the band – they are about to start performing in public.

The mantra of Melodic Madonnas is, “Music will heal your soul!” This mission statement is confirmed by a collection of impressive musical numbers written by Rowbottom and delivered very harmoniously and enthusiastically by the cast, under the musical direction of Sue Huntingford-Ledger.

I can’t settle for a favorite song, but The man from nowhere still ringing in my ears.

Sing from the heart is presented as a play with music rather than a musical. Julie Huntington’s skillful direction brings out the strong script and characterization, with the choir members all finding their way through different personal circumstances.

Fiona Huntingford-Ledger is strong like the antagonist Joanna, who knows she has a beautiful voice and is supported by her cheerful companion, Catherine (Samantha Riley). Bossy ex-cop Cynthia (Nicola Gordon) uses every opportunity to take control. Ebullient Mary (Dionne Robbins) presents a contrast to the long-suffering Angela (Jenny Haywood). In the shadows is the shy Lorna (Liberty Barlow).

Arriving late – always – is Linda (Heather Trevis), who has joined the choir despite her husband’s control. The question posed up front is where haughty newcomer Paula (played with cool aplomb by Harriet Jamieson) will fit into the group.

The avant-garde interactions between women are conveyed convincingly and with humor by a very committed cast.

There is also a grudge between the choir members and goalie Jamie (Jack Prince), who despite his best efforts has been labeled as coming from the wrong side of the slopes.

Strong feelings about gender roles build up in judgments about the class – and quarrels within the choir are on the rise. Quarrels turn into rivalries and dirty tricks are expected. Ultimately, the hostility between Joanna and Paula turns into a physical fight – which turns into a kiss.

Problems are solved and enemies are reconciled as the women sing together.

There’s a ‘pantomime villain’ moment for Glen Lambert as Linda’s shady husband, Pete. But the tone is upbeat as the choir claims glory at the choir convention. The final song, Step into the light, carries the optimistic mood.

Sing from the heart finds the members of HAODS fine-voiced and full of energy. Take skillful writing, add accomplished directing and lively performances and you have a recipe for a wonderful production and a very enjoyable evening. Congratulations to all participants.

Susan creed

William N. Fernandez