Review of the Year
2019 saw AOS enter its seventh decade on a firmer footing than ever and with two fabulously successful shows in the bag. First, in April 2019, we had Lerner and Loewe’s ever-popular My Fair Lady, returning to the Amey Theatre just eleven years after our last production in 2008. Kate Brock and Duncan Blagrove excelled as Eliza and Higgins, with wonderful support from Michael Winiarski as Doolittle and Paul Bruce as Freddy.
Our audience reviews were excellent and the week saw hardly a spare seat in the theatre. Over 2,100 people came to the six performances of My Fair Lady, generating around £30,000 in ticket sales. Of course, the cost of the performance rights, theatre hire, orchestra, lighting, sound, costumes, and everything else involved in a high standard production, drain the pot almost dry, but we still succeeded in making a reasonable profit.
This type of success helps AOS maintain low membership fees, so that the cost of joining the society never becomes a barrier for talent in the community, and also enables us to make our own contribution to other local charities.
Then, at the end of October 2019, we were delighted to have the opportunity to debut Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita in Abingdon. As expected, this show was almost a sell-out, with an audience of nearly 2,500 across the six performances, and the reaction to the AOS production was fantastic, with rave reviews appearing on our society Facebook page minutes after the curtain came down each night.
The ensemble worked so hard in rehearsal for this show and their effort was evident, as cast and scenery moved around the stage with clockwork efficiency. Sarah Chitty was radiant as Eva, while Paul Bruce was a live-wire Che. The support from Stephen Pascoe as Peron and Jess Strong as the Mistress was excellent, too.
Many members of AOS would list Evita as one of their favourite-ever shows to have performed in, and their enjoyment came through every night, as the energy they gave off crackled and fizzed across the stage.
And so on to 2020 – and let’s hope for a lot more enjoyment for members and audience alike!