Proof that some of the finest young singers in the county come out of Chesterfield was there in the standing ovation.
The large crowd of spectators honoured the graduates and proteges of Inspirations Theatre Company after their storming rendition of songs from the shows at the Pomegranate Theatre last night.
This production was so much more than young performers standing in groups singing songs by the book. It was a proper night of theatre with drama, comedy, spectacular lighting and even the odd burst of dry ice mixed into a performance that ran as long as a full-length musical.
Talented performers like Nicola Smith, Alex Wallhead and Connor McNamara, who owe their initial training to Inspirations, shared the stage with the company’s current stars including Chloe Gibbions and, Matt Szadura.
A powerful and visually arresting medley of We Will Rock You launched the show with a dramatic burst. The ensemble were dressed all in white with Gaga logos emblazoned on T-shirts and dresses and wore spacemen-like gauntlets on their left arms. Nicola Smith commanded the stage as Killer Queen doubling up with Connor McNamara to sing It’s A Kinda Magic and following up with her equally impressive solo Somebody To Love. Alex Wallhead’s brilliantly performed, We Are The Champions, set the bar high.
After the light came the shade with haunting songs selected from Jesus Christ Superstar, the title track led by Josh Mason.
West Side Story was one of the hits of the first half and to my mind would have been a better choice as the Act One finale, rather than the selection from the lesser-known Rent. Chloe Gibbions was perfectly cast as the lead singer in I Feel Pretty while the dancing girls swooshing their skirts and stamping their feet to the song America added plenty of colour and passion to the piece.
Musical theatre came to the fore in a selection from Sweeney Todd with delightful comedy from Nicola Smith singing Worst Pies in London.
Act Two got off to a colourful and lively start, with Alex Wallhead bringing his considerable talent to the role of Joseph, complete with a dazzling coat of many colours and accompanied by junior members of Inspirations in T-shirts of every hue.
A selection of love songs produced exceptional performances from Georgina Bailey who aired Think Of Me from Phantom of the Opera and Connor McNamara whose Some Enchanted Evening from South Pacific made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Impressive renditions by James Day of On The Street Where You Live from My Fair Lady and Shauna Kimberley singing Every Tear A Mother Cries from Honk! added to the magic of the love song feature.
With the company permitted only 20 minutes to do a concert version of Les Miserables, the cast did an amazing job in packing as many songs from the hit musical as they did. Highlights included Josh Mason’s solo Stars, which really suited his voice and Nicola Smith’s rendition of I Dreamed A Dream.
If you missed last night’s performance, head over to Matlock’s County Hall tonight (Friday, July 26) where there’s an action replay at 7.15pm.