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Encore - The Customs House South Shields

Published by: Steve Burbridge on 18th Nov 2011 | View all blogs by Steve Burbridge

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Encore – The Customs House, South Shields

 Once again, the phenomenon that is ‘Encore’ makes a welcome return to The Customs House, bringing with them a large crowd of loyal followers. Indeed, each and every time the group play the venue, they virtually sell-out the theatre for the entire week’s run!

With an entertaining combination of comedy, music and song, ‘Encore’ takes their audience on a whistle-stop tour of the world of musical theatre’s biggest box office record-breakers  – encompassing hits from the stages of both the West End and Broadway. As usual this is done in the format of individual sketches and vignettes.

Unlike less adventurous groups, ‘Encore’ dares to take risks and incorporate material from newer shows into their repertoire. Alongside numbers from well-established musical theatre favourites, including ‘Me and My Girl’, ‘Guys and Dolls’, ‘Calamity Jane’ and ‘West Side Story’, are excerpts from more contemporary offerings such as ‘Miss Saigon’, ‘Sister Act’, ‘Spamalot’ and ‘Jekyll and Hyde’. As is always the case, ‘Encore’ is expertly backed by a brilliant four-piece band which never misses a beat.

Comedy is central to any show staged by the group and the current production is no exception. There’s a hilarious sketch set in a church, complete with camp clergymen and nymphomaniac nuns, which is both original and clever. There’s also a marvellous rendition of Victoria Wood’s comedy number, ‘Things Would Never Have Worked’. However, I felt that the Irish ‘50p Flights’ routine missed the mark somewhat. The accents were not consistently good enough to carry off the word-play on ‘feckin’ and, a number of times, it did sound rather more like the expletive they were trying to circumnavigate. I also sensed some unease from certain sections of the audience, which was predominantly made up of senior citizens.

Nevertheless, there is much to enjoy in the latest production from ‘Encore’ and they are to be commended for their talents, enthusiasm, exuberance, energy and sheer entertainment value.

Reviewed by Ian Cain on behalf of Steve Burbridge.

Runs until Saturday 19 November 2011.




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