Oklahoma! Saddle up and wrestle a steer to the ground—in Richmond

10:04 29 March 2012

Twickenham Operatic Society rehearse for Oklahoma at Richmond Theatre

Twickenham Operatic Society rehearse for Oklahoma at Richmond Theatre

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It is a whip-cracking fact that all things ‘cowboy’ are quite the rage at the moment, what with Ree Drummond’s popular blog and books, Line Dancing classes and the Stetson cocking a snook at the Trilby, writes Liz Colbert.

If, like me, you have two left feet and horses look at you with derision, there’s an easier way to saddle up and shout yee-haw!

The Twickenham Operatic Society is throwing its all into an effervescent production this week of Oklahoma by Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Richmond Theatre—last show this Saturday.

Originally based on a tale by Lynn Riggs in the 1930s, the show opened on Broadway 69 years ago in March, 1943, to rave reviews and became an instant award-winning hit.

The story is an enduring one of farm girl Laurey caught in a love triangle with handsome cowboy Curly and intense farm-hand Judd.

True love, of course, runs about as smooth as a ride on a bucking bronco.

The secret of success here, though, is not so much the plot—more the humour, characters and catchy tunes that have you toe-tapping and laughing aloud all the way through.

Oklahoma was the ‘Phantom’ of its day, with hits like the title song and ‘Oh What a Beautiful Morning’ and a good helping of homespun charm. This is an infectious show.

Members of Twickenham Operatic Society certainly have wrestled this musical steer to the ground with a huge cast—from engaging toddlers to their grandmas.

There are some cracking performances in an ensemble that, as a whole, packed a Wild West punch, buoyed along by a swinging orchestra.

Philip Doyle is a charismatic Curly, ably supported by Sasi Strallen as a temperamental Laurey. There were funny performances from TJ Lloyd and Ian Stark as Will Parker and the Carpet Bagger.

Oklahoma heralded in a golden age of American musical theatre and there probably isn’t many a better example of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical genius.

Safe to say you can enjoy this performance without worrying about getting the wrong end of an untoward cow horn. Just like Ree Drummond, you may walk out with a cowboy on your arm!

—Liz Colbert

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Oklahoma, Twickenham Operatic Society, Richmond Theatre until Saturday, March 31. Tickets: £10-£27.

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