It was obvious from the reaction of the capacity audience at Peterhead Community Theatre recently that participants in ‘An Explosion Of Talent’ - Willowbank Show & Drama groups, local singing sensations Aurora, Stephanie Wemyss, Alasdair Corbett and compere Doreen Duncan - certainly had plenty of talent!
The fundraising concert was organised by Willowbank Centre Drama and Show group director Morag Skene on behalf of both Cancer Research and Willowbank and her groups contributed greatly to the success of the show.
Their devised Scottish dance ‘A Walk Aroon Willowbank’ had the audience smiling and clapping along from the outset while their ‘detective Cala Holmes turned magician’ sketch had the audience laughing with delight as he tried to saw Morag Clerkhill in half!
Also in the first half, four couples took part in a movement piece to the beautiful tune ‘Rinin Fir A Fry’ written by local fiddle teacher, Tom Stove.
As the interval drew near the sadness of war was reflected when, after some rowdy behaviour, WWI soldiers were lead out of their trench and ‘over the top’ by their commanding officer.
One young lad, looking forward to seeing his sweetheart again ‘died’ slowly to the strains of the haunting ‘Black Is The Sun’ written by Scottish singer, songwriter Stevie Palmer.
A hugely poignant moment followed as another cast member fluttered a handful of poppies over the still young man. The red curtains closed slowly, ending Willowbank’s contribution to the anniversary of WWI.
In contrast the ‘Full Monty’ routine in the second half had the audience absolutely roaring with laughter as each piece of clothing was removed until spoilsport Morag Clerkhill put a stop to it.
A light-hearted movement piece, ‘Singing In The Rain’ came next, the panache and style of the main dancer wooing, not only the ladies on stage but the audience.
Special mention must be made here of Melanie Bennet’s unaccompanied solo rendition of ‘Wouldn’t It Be Loverly’ from ‘My Fair Lady’.
Willowbank’s huge contribution to the evening ended with Morag Skene’s singing and her group’s moves dazzling the audience with their unique interpretation of ‘Razzle Dazzle’ from Chicago.
She expressed thanks to group members Simon Spiers, Marisa Clubb, Stephen Morrice, Paul Mclean, Niall Hay, Heather Middleton, Robbie Williamson, Mhari Leiper, Melanie Bennet, Lorraine Proctor, Philip Summers, Anne Hailwood, Andrew Duthie, David Ritchie and Warren Thom.
Willowbank groups were ably supported by the super vocal talents of Aurora - Peterhead’s best kept secret! This group of 16 ladies with ages ranging from 16 to 60, have been doing pop, musical theatre and classical choral pieces for a few years now.
Also performing was Stephanie Wemyss who took time out of her busy rehearsal schedule for Inverurie Panto Group’s Jack & The Beanstalk to take part in the concert. Stephanie gave very expressive, heartfelt performances of ‘The Pulled’ from the Adams Family, ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ from Les Miserables and entertained the audience thoroughly with her rendition of ‘The Quine That Did The Strip At Inverugie’.
She was joined by another stalwart of stage, Alasdair Corbett, who had the audience laughing out loud at his self-penned song about the trials and tribulations of living in Peterheid and cheering loudly at his powerful rendition of “This Is The Moment”. Stephanie and Alasdair provided a very dramatic end to the show with their excellent rendition of ‘Suddenly Seymour’ from Little Shop of Horrors.
A heartwarming finale followed with every performer on stage doing moves to ‘Everybody’ from The Blues Brothers before taking their bows to very well-deserved thunderous applause.
The whole event was kept flowing by local compere Doreen Duncan who, apart from being informative about the acts, also had the audience in hoots of laughter with her hilarious anecdotes.
Everyone involved deserves a mention from the volunteer attendants, a very ‘on the ball’ backstage crew, the sound technician and the lighting technician. All in all an excellent evening’s entertainment, which at the end of the show had Morag
Skene saying: “When everyone’s having a ball, including the audience, you know it’s been a success!” An amazing £2,700 was raised and Morag Skene would like to thank everyone involved for helping make the evening such a success.