cruise through The best of Broadway
England's premier show group delights fans in Saunton Sands
By Stanley Carvalho
was Eva Peron in her shimmering white gown and John Travolta
with his inimitable hairstyle, long sideburns et al You
had Olivier Newton John crooning, and Joseph and his amazing
dream coat. There was the memorable Les Miserables, and
the King and I. Interestingly there was also the evergreen
Anifrida and Agnetha of Abba, and a host of others.
as "The Musicals" England's premier show group
- Smackee, delighted music lovers recently with their musical
melange at Saunton Sands Hotel, Devon. Equally, their music
evoked nostalgia as the group took guests on a musical cruise,
so to speak, through some of the best Broadway and West
as someone commented after the show, "It brought a
whiff of fresh air to starved music lovers of Devon. In
a nutshell Smackee's show was lively, dynamic, colourful,
nostalgic and some of the best song and dance hits were
brought to life by Barry Walker, Dawn Glenville and Margaret
Barnes, of course accompanied ably by the musicians - Rob
Mackenzie the lead guitarist, Tom Mollins on bass and Keith
Liddle at the keyboards.
opening number by Barry with his boyish spirit, a solo razzle
dazzle set the mood and thereafter there was no stopping
them as they sang and danced with un - flagging energy and
panache as the audience clapped, swayed, sang and danced
in unison with the stars on stage.
it was not just entertainment or show of talent, but a tribute
to some of music's legendary performers as the trio sang
the best from Cabaret, Grease, Evita, The King and I, Les
Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Joseph, Mamma Mia - a
vast and impressive repertoire.
haunting rendering of Evita's Don't Cry For Me Argentina
amidst pin drop silence was splendid as was her - Life is
a Cabaret. Later Barry and Margaret's duet - All I Ask Of
You from Phantom of the Opera took us all to His Majesty's
Theatre in London's West End.
Barry's solo of Nessun Dorma with English lyrics written
by Neil Sedaka earned him a standing ovation.
second part of the show was even more action packed as Barry
and the girls sang some of the best Grease songs - including
the all time favourite You're the One That I Want and Grease
Lightning. An appreciative audience responded over- whelmingly
after listening to Getting To Know You and Shall We Dance,
both from The King and I.
Dawn and Margaret appeared in their dazzling blue costumes
accompanied by the music of Waterloo, the audience screamed
and whistled as they realised it was the turn of all the
Abba hits. This was closely followed by the evergreen Thank
You For The Music, after which it was time to stand and
tell the stars just that - with thunderous applause.
cries of "encore" Barry sang his all time favourite
Unchained Melody which put Gareth Gates to shame.
is so commendable is the groups versatility and energy that
makes them so popular world wide. gesticulations, especially
his statue-like postures at times, were so perfect and well
timed, that they could not fail to bring a smile to everyone's
nearly two hours, it was entertainment of the highest standard,
with a touch of nostalgia, and no one was left in any doubt
of the sheer class of this unique act. The sound and lighting
was also of equal standing and one only hopes Smackee will
be back, but for now "thank you for the music"
and lets hope the show will go on!
Barry and all the 'Musicals' cast,
and I were bought tickets for your performance as a 39th
wedding anniversary gift by our son whose work colleagues
brought him glowing reports of your show. We travelled two
hours from Grantham when I got home from work just in time
to catch the start of the show. I regard myself as something
of a connoisseur of musicals having seen most of the West
End productions over the years plus lots of local and touring
entertainers. However, your group must be one of the best-kept
secrets of the entertainment business. You were "superb".
we had expected a competent musical performance by a second
rate local talent outfit, (no offence) so we were knocked
off our feet by your exceptionally professional show, full
of such talented performers that make Robbie Williams and
his ilk look like rank amateurs. Thank you for a great great
show and a wonderful wedding anniversary present. Now all
I have to do is find another 'Musicals' lover to bring for
another visit to Hunstanton before your season is over.
I will keep an eye on your site and gig dates to find you
closer to home Newark/Nottingham - you deserve to fill the
Royal Concert Hall. Congratulations on a dazzling live performance
that knocks spots of the usual television fare. Keep knockin
and Elaine Margiotta
gets audience dancing in the aisles
The Abba Show Princess Theatre, Hunstanton
auditorium of all ages was transported back to the 1970s
on Tuesday, when Coventry -based showgroup Smackee performed
their tribute to Abba. Complete with glitter, platform shoes
and flared trousers the show exploded with energy. Lead
vocalists Dawn Glenville, aka Agnetha Falstog and Margaret
Barnes aka Frida Lyngstad, commanded the stage with powerfully
rich voices and vibrant dancing. With talented lead guitarist
Rob Mackenzie, aka Bjorn Ulvaeus, and keyboard player Barry
Walker, aka Benny Anderson, the theatre was alive with dynamic
performances of Chiquittita, Super Trouper, and dancing
Queen which had people dancing in the aisles.
was formed in 1976 by Barry Walker, who is also the musical
director and producer of the show. This truly talented quartet
is supported by equally talented guitar / keyboard player
Keith Liddle and Tom Mollins on bass This show is an absolute
must for the summer season and can be seen every Tuesday
night until August 26 - for the finale night, the audience
is urged to wear Abba style fancy dress to get a free drink.
songs from some great shows The Musicals
Princess Theatre, Hunstanton
songs from great shows were performed in grand style on
Friday by Barry Walker's showgroup Smackee. Opening with
a classic Jesus Christ Superstar they captivated the audience
with teir rich voices and stylish presentation. Moving smoothly
into West Side Story and Cabaret, they captured the mood
of each song from the dramatic to the humorous.
Barnes and Barry Walker gave a moving rendition of You Don't
Bring Me Flowers and Dawn Glenville evoked such emotion
with Do'nt Cry For Me Argentina that the audience was completely
mesmerised. The secondpart of the show opened with a delightful
performance of Shall We Dance from The King and I, but the
highlight was Nessun Dorma, with English words written by
Neil Sedaka, wich proved what a versatile entertainer Barry
Walker is. With classics from Grease and a tribute to
The ABBA Show got a standing ovation and two encores had
everyone dancing in aisles to New York New York
were the Dancing Queens (eventually)
Princess Theatre, Hunstanton
a packed house for The ABBA Show on Tuesday "Frida"
" Agnetha" "Bjorn" and "Benny"
hit the stage in sparkly 70's disco outfits, complete with
giant white platforms, to perform favourites Dancing Queen,
Super Trouper, Waterloo, Fernando and my own personal favourite,
Money Money ( I wish ).
entrance was dramatic, with the girls swirling around in
long cloaks, headbands and tight satin flares, to a dazzling
light display and smoke machine.
asked the rather reserved audience in a fake Swedish accent
if they were ready to party, and the show was peppered with
tongue - in - cheek gags about who was going out with whom.
highlight had to be when an ageing Benny stepped out from
behind the piano and whipped off his trousers to reveal
some sparkly shorts which drew gasps and giggles from the
crowd, and certainly livened up the proceedings.
on stage explosions also helped get the crowd to their feet.
performers, called Smackee, were accompanied by guitar and
keyboards and worked hard to get the audience waving their
arms, clapping, and singing along to string of Abba classics,
and by the end people had shaken off their reserve and were
up and dancing, havimg fun, Men in the audience were in
for a real treat with blonde "Agnetha" and wigged
redhead"Frida" who looked a bit like Geri Halliwell
in her Spice Girls days. "Benny" wore a dodgy-looking
wig and "Bjorn" - who played some stonking guitar
solos refused to play ball by not wearing a wig and pretending
to be a member of Whitesnake. Children were
invited to the stage to sing Thank You For The Music. This
was a definite treat for Abba fans who knew all the words.