Review: Standing ovation for Bolsover Drama Group’s Aida

Bolsover Drama Group production of Aida.
Bolsover Drama Group production of Aida.
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Fortune Favours The Brave is a song which stands out in the musical version of Aida and only a fearless amateur company would tackle a score penned by the mighty Elton John.

It is the Rocket Man’s least well-known creation after The Lion King and Billy Elliot, but there are equally stunning songs to be heard.

A rare opportunity to listen to Aida was offered by Bolsover Drama Group last week - and drew a healthy number of supporters, several of whom rewarded the company with a standing ovation on Thursday, October 6.

Director Ray Hall picked a show to challenge his cast and they did him justice in a production which centred on warring nations Egypt and Nubia.

Leanne Collins made a first-rate job of the role of princess cum slave girl Aida, her singing at its best in ballads such as The Gods Love Nubia which formed a stunning act one finale. Istvan Koszegi looks the part of Egyptian army captain and gave a good rendition of his solo Radames’ Letter. However, I felt that the taxing duet Elaborate Lives took the lead couple out of their comfort zone in the first half of the show.

Wendy Blunt brought her lovely, powerful voice to the role of Amneris, a woman betrothed to Radames for seven years but whose confidence in their relationship ebbed as he fell for another princess.

Musical director Nigel Turner had obviously worked hard with the cast to prepare them for such a vocally demanding show.

Eye-catching throughout, the high spot was Aida being cloaked in a robe which fanned out like that iconic scene in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The intimate setting of the town’s Assembly Rooms enabled painted scenery to be ranged alongside walls at the front of the auditorium while on-stage panels were turned to reflect the change in scenes which was very effective.