100 Years of Musical Theatre favourites - June 2023

100 Years of Musical Theatre favourites - June 2023
A Century of Songs

The award winning Shrewsbury Musical Theatre Company (SMTC), previously known as Shrewsbury Amateur Operatic Society (SAOS), took to the stage to celebrate 100 years of performing musicals in Shrewsbury, below is a review penned by Sophia Lewis of LoveShrewsbury

A Century of Song

Shrewsbury Musical Theatre Company, Theatre Severn, Saturday 10th June

Tonight I went on a journey, a stroll if you like through the history of Amateur Operatics in this town we live in. I heard about the 1,200 seat theatre, that we lost to Bingo, the Granada. Then I heard how  they moved on to the Music Hall, which was lost to a museum and finally we ended the journey in the great space of Theatre Severn.

Madame Rina Robinson started the society then known as Shrewsbury Amateur Operatic Society. The date was 1923. Just five years after the Great War and sixteen years prior to the start of Hitler’s Rampage. Madame Rina wished to perform Gilbert and Sullivan’s Gondoliers.

How fitting that tonight with a choir of Thirty or more people they opened the show with a great collection of Songs from G&S including the Mikado and other great shows.

So the show began proper a hundred years of making music in the town and I saw we as a town have something to be proud of. The show was pacey, beautifully sung, well-conceived and directed. The eclectic mix of songs kept the show fresh, and it was just so good to sit and hear these songs done as one has always known them. This reviewer’s mother was in a society in Manchester and all the songs from Oklahoma, Carousel and Hairspray resounded within me and the show was a nostalgic warming and pleasing revue.

There were many highlights, and some were quite emotional. The performance of, “I know Him so Well,” from Chess, was so beautifully done, note perfect that one found oneself wiping just a little tear of joy or emotion from the corner of my eye as the girls performed so touchingly. Their sublime performance bristled with emotion and the power of the vocal was impressive beyond superb one might try a find a superlative but amazing is what keeps coming to mind.

There wasn’t a bad singer in the group and what came across was the feeling of respect they have for each other. Some of them have been singing for the group for forty years and longer. The songs were interspersed with little video clips of former members who are now living new lives elsewhere, but the feeling came across that they were like family members, and the feeling they had  for all their former friends was palpable, a nice touch.

Technically I would have this to say, one or two singers just momentarily stepped away or looked away from the mic when they were singing, the voices were lost and a few notes and words were lost by this; that was not in any way, major problem: But with a little mic workshop that can be fixed. There is no criticism one could ever level at this magically performed show. It was strange but one actually felt the happiness and fun they share together and tonight they shared it with us with great profligacy .

This website is loveshrewsbury.com and I do, love Shrewsbury: And when I see groups as possibly west end as this group, it makes me even prouder to belong to this beautiful town and county. A sense of pride is instilled, and one could only ever be delighted that there is a group like the Shrewsbury Musical Theatre Company formerly “Shrewsbury Amateur Operatic Society,” this group of singers have been spreading their music and their fun with the rest of the town. Now with the new Heritage Lottery Grant they look set for another century and as Shrewsbury people we should be delighted, I for certainly am. Well done guys a great show.

This is a Five-Star Review

Set List & Performers