‘Oklahoma!’ is rip roaring fun at the Gardyne

For A company that has been going strong for almost 90 years, the Broughty Ferry Operatic Society’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first musical ‘Oklahoma!’ was always going to be a great treat.

From the moment the 16-strong orchestra gets underway until the final curtain, the appreciative Gardyne Theatre audience sat back and prepared to enjoy every minute of the show.

Congratulations must go to director/choreographer Frances Irons and musical director Don Grieve for putting on a production that embodies the very best in ensemble playing.

Just as the on/off romance of Curley and Laurey, played by Richard Waghorn and Jenny Stewart, is a motif that runs throughout the musical, the complicated love life and comic timing of Ado Annie (Jen Shearer) and her two lovers Will Parker (Stuart Whyte) and the Persian Pedlar Ali Hakim, (played by Sandy Kennedy) keep the whole production moving along at a cracking pace

In sharp contrast to Curly’s big opening number ‘Oh What a Beautiful Morning’ and some of the other early songs including ‘The Surrey with the Fringe On Top’, the energetic ‘Kansas City’ and the tender ballad ‘People Will Say We’re in Love’, the mood changes and the production suddenly becomes very dark as the action moves to the Smokehouse, home to the ominous but also vulnerable farm hand Jud Fry, played by Thomas Richmond.

The duet between Curly and Jud, ‘Poor Jud is Deid’, was one of the high spots in an evening of highlights.

Excellent choreography contributed a great deal throughout the performance, particularly notable in the final scene of the first act, the Dream Ballet.

Act two opens with the rip-roaring, gun-toting excitement of the big number that pleads for the Farmer and the Cowman to be friends.

Here we see just what the nice old lady Aunt Eller, played by Hazel Grieve, can do to make sure that everyone - farmers, cowmen and passing travelling pedlars – toe the line. This scene also features the farmer Andrew Carnes played by Alan Calder-McNicoll.

The grand finale with its reprise of the title song ‘Oklahoma!’ presents a fitting climax to a thoroughly enjoyable evening.