A Night to Remember/Worcester Musical Theatre Company

PATHOS, poignancy… but most of all, it’s packed with plenty of punch. That’s this year’s blockbuster of an offering from a group that is fast becoming a Worcester tradition.

Producer Val Knight has really gone for gold with a show that not only steadfastly salutes the sacrifices of the nation’s serving men and women but also more than delivers the showbiz goods as well.

I’ve experienced some very moving events marking the 1918 Armistice, from the Menin Gate at Ypres to the humbler graveside service. But let me tell you something – the show’s Remembrance sequence, created by Val Knight and Laura Skelton, is right up there with them.

Intensely moving, this was a combined effort that highlighted the breathtaking talents of the Harlequin Stage School, ably assisted by the children of Claines and Wilden CE primary schools.

Standard bearers from the Royal British Legion passing through the audience to join the full ensemble on stage added further drama to a scene that was absolutely electrifying.

Nevertheless, it was the sheer variety of dance and music on offer - combined with a generous helping of Paul Bellamy and Cath Skyrme’s comic spice - that pushed everything along.

The Harlequin crew performed dazzling displays of 42nd Street and Always and Forever, glittering creations courtesy of Paul Dymock. True Colours, a Romeo and Juliet-style tale highlighted the emerging skills of Lucy and Russ Dudley, while Boogie Wonderland showcased the boundless imagination of Ellie Bugg.

A Night to Remember strikes the right balance between the solemnity of the season and the carefree blend of music and dance, unafraid to fly the union flag with patriotic abandon, yet at the same time recognising that life should also be about fun and enjoyment.

Val Knight has certainly set the bar very high with this one and we therefore await next year’s show with bated breath. A Night to Remember runs until Sunday, November 11.

John Phillpott