‘Out of the Hat’ – CAODS Lincolnshire Tour

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For the first time, CAODS – The County Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society of Lincolnshire took the decision to put this variety show together and take it on tour at several venues throughout Lincolnshire over the next few months.  I have seen 2 CAODS shows in the past, the NODA Best Musical Award ‘Sister Act’ in 2015, and the critically acclaimed ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ in 2016.  Both were brilliant shows and so I was really looking forward to what they would bring to a much smaller production in a variety format.

The opening night of the tour was in the Neverland Theatre, Skegness; an intimate, 100 seat theatre in the heart of the town.

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CAODS said about the show:

Join CAODS during their 2017 tour of Lincolnshire. This award-winning company are ready to entice you with a magical evening of song, dance and laughter. A variety show like no other with a magical twist supplied by the talents of the amazing Brian Hellyer.

The show features music from some of the most popular musicals (both modern and traditional) ever staged, together with mesmerising dance routines and comedy sketches, all ages are sure to find ‘Out of the Hat’ delightfully entertaining. With a wave of a magic wand, we will bring the world of musical theatre to life before your very eyes; you just won’t believe what we can pull out of the hat!

Unfortunately, Act One got off to a poor start when a number of unforeseen technical issues detracted from some of the opening acts.  Happily, once those issues were overcome, and the cast settled down into their performances I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

I know a lot of the cast from working with them in previous productions, and for some, this was their very first time performing solo, either singing or taking part in a comedy sketch.  I was delighted to see them out of their comfort zone and the audience applause for the songs and sketches showed how well they’d done!  Congratulations!

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Serena Coney

The 2 Highlights for me both included the fabulous Dawn Wilson (Guest reviewer on this blog for the recent Made in Dagenham);  having never seen her in full solo character mode previously, her comedy timing was absolutely perfect and had the audience in raptures, the first sketch was split into a couple of sections, and we couldn’t wait to see what would happen next, performing with Emma Bowler and Pete Hawbrook; it was brilliant!  She was then joined by CAODS Chairman Andrew Wydrzynski for a fabulous comic duet from ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ I was blown away by the chemistry and fun they seemed to be having on stage, which carried across into other ensemble performances throughout the evening!

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Dawn Wilson
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Andrew Wydrzynski

There were also some great solos and duets, my favourites were performed by Heather Wydrzynska, Rachel Pick, Kellie Loughlin and Vicky Turzanski.

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Rachel Pick

Very well done to all the cast and crew for a great evening of comedy and entertainment, and well done to Director Heather Wydrzynska, Co-Director and Choreographer Rachel Pick, Rehearsal Repetiteur Jonathan Jarvis and Magician Brian Hellyer.  I liked the ‘hat theme’ which ran throughout the show, it linked the magic sections very well.  It was a shame about the technical issues and as with all variety shows, I enjoyed some acts more than others but I wish you every success for the rest of your Lincolnshire tour.  I look forward to coming again when you perform at the New Theatre Royal in Lincoln in October.

The show can be seen at the following venues:

The Lion Theatre, Horncastle – Saturday 22nd July, 7.30pm
1 Bull Ring, Horncastle. LN9 5HT
The Corn Exchange, Bourne – Saturday 30th September, 7:30pm
3 Abbey Road, Bourne. PE10 9EF
New Theatre Royal, Lincoln – Thursday 19th and Friday 20th October, 7:30pm
Clasketgate, Lincoln. LN2 1JJ

You can buy your tickets using the following information:

THE LION THEATRE, HORNCASTLE – 22nd JULY 7:30pm

Tickets: £8.00 regular / £7.00 concession

Available: –

  • on the door
  • through the Box Office (Horncastle Music Shop) 01507 526 566

(No online booking facility available at this venue).


THE CORN EXCHANGE, BOURNE – 30th SEPT 7:30pm

Tickets: £11.50 regular / £10.00 concession

Available: –

  • on the door
  • Bourne Library (during opening hours)
  • through the Box Office (Guildhall Arts Centre, Grantham) 01476 406 158
  • online at www.guildhallartscentre.com

NEW THEATRE ROYAL, LINCOLN – 19th & 20th OCT 7:30pm

Tickets: £12.50 regular / £10.50 concession / £40.00 family ticket

Available: –

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Some of the team preparing back stage
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Emma Bowler and Geoff Middleton

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Thanks to Lester McCone and Dawn Wilson for photographs

ROBERT HABERMANN: HIS WAY – The Life and Songs Of Frank Sinatra – Louth Playgoers

Friday, April 28th was something new for me.  All of the shows I’ve watched and reviewed so far have been either musical theatre or a play so to see a show that was a purely vocal performance was a little bit different.  To be honest I didn’t know what to expect from the evening. I’m not a diehard Sinatra fan, although I have a few tracks on my iPod, mostly well known songs that everyone has heard of.  But I have to say, despite not particularly looking forward to the evening, and having a few traffic problems on the way which nearly led me to turn around and go home before even getting there, I was very pleasantly surprised.

Robert Habermann took to the stage with a fabulous pianist and Musical Director, Trevor Brown, by singing one of his own numbers about the horrors of ‘mobile phones’ in theatre; very comical and definitely made the audience reach for their bags and make sure they were silent!

I couldn’t possibly name all the tracks Robert covered but during the two acts he vocalised both the songs and the life of Singer Frank Sinatra, telling stories about his time as band singer to ballad and swinging singer, and building his own record label ‘Reprise.’ It was a pleasure to hear from Robert detailing some of the highs and lows of Frank’s life, together with his wonderful musical renditions, not only of the songs that Frank made famous, but a lot of songs from his early years that aren’t quite so well known.  It was obvious that Robert had done his research and is a big fan of Sinatra, there’d be no other way of retaining so much interesting and entertaining information (without any written notes), especially the snippets about his Christmas with Ava Gardner!

Robert Habermann singer

The audience really warmed to Robert’s easy going style (representative of the Mr Sinatra style we all recognise I guess!), and they took advantage of the opportunity to join in as much as possible… even I joined in with some of the more well known songs!  It was a true delight to hear stories that gave a great insight into the legend, and with Robert’s sincere and genuine personality and beautiful vocal renditions of so many wonderful songs, the audience couldn’t fail to enjoy the evening.

Did Robert sound like Frank Sinatra? Well I shut my eyes a few times, and could easily have been transported to a little club somewhere in the heart of America in the mid 1950’s…  He has the smooth vocals, the easy style, and likeable personality that I can only imagine were typical of the Frank we are all familiar with.  Some of the songs Robert covered included Come Fly With Me,  Fly Me To The Moon, Witchcraft, You Make Me Feel So Young, Strangers In The Night , My Way, New York New York and many more.

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Robert performs many shows across the UK, click on the link here to get details of his up and coming tours and how to buy tickets.  I’ll certainly be watching out for Robert and a hopeful return to Louth Playgoers either later in 2017 or 2018, perhaps with one of his other shows, Broadway and Hollywood musicals, or MGM musicals – after all, I really have got quite enthusiastic about musical theatre!

Robert Habermann by Piano, tie (2)