The Roaring Twenties The Stage – May 2008 By John Thaxter

I caught this spirited musical entertainment shortly before the end of its nine-week tour to literally dozens of homes and hospital wards.

The young performers, faced with a day of triple bookings, were still giving delightfully fresh song and dance performances in costume and character, here to a knowledgeable audience of retired variety artists at Brinsworth House, who offered murmurs of delight, enthusiastic applause and readiness to join in.

The Simon Gross format has become familiar – a tightly choreographed, 60-minute programme set to a pre-recorded backing track which, while unobtrusive, imposes a rhythmic discipline on its young performers.

With a trunkful of props and split-second timing, lyric soprano Aimi Kuhlke (a pitch perfect voice of cabaret quality) and her mezzo colleague Catherine McDonald (who supplies most of the musical comedy), ranged through more than 30 great songs of the roaring twenties and succeeding years in solos and duets that honoured both verse and refrain.

The repetitive Charleston opening routine in blonde wigs, does these attractive performers no favours. But moments later, one got the true measure of their performing skills – Catherine as the Second Hand Rose, while Aimi kept Young and Beautiful in an eye-catching yellow outfit, both demonstrating acting as well as musical skills.

Space precludes a run-down of the many numbers that followed, except to say that even within the constraints set by the recorded backing, this totally professional pair demonstrated their ability to bring vibrant, individual interpretations to the lyric line. Both deserve to succeed in the world of musical theatre