Book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Richard Rodgers
Unity Theatre
4th to 7th June, 2014

Reviewed by Victoria Vass

Thursday 4th June saw the opening night of Roger & Hammerstein's Carousel performed by What We Did Next at the Unity Theatre. And what an opening! A very simple set in one of Liverpool's more intimate theatres was completely transformed by the whimsical artistry of dancers, acrobats, and circus acts in the introductory scene. The clever minimal use of props was complimented by the wonderful and totally unexpected musical accompaniment: two modest, shabby pianos back to back in the centre of the stage, and two extremely gifted - and brave - musicians. This unpretentious backdrop allowed all focus to be on the talent on stage and we were not disappointed.

Carousel is a musical with a lot of strong characters and personalities, but the cast played well off one another and were believable. The intense and stormy relationship between Julie Jordan (Julie Evans) and Billy Bigalow (Phil Birss) was a striking contrast to the comedic interplay between Carrie Pipperidge (Franki Burke) and Enoch Snow (Jamie Barfield). Nettie Fowlers' (Camille Machin) June is Bustin' Out All Over will always be a favourite when performed with such vibrancy; but what better place to hear You'll Never Walk Alone than in Liverpool, with an incredibly talented group of individuals who each shone in their own right. A real pleasure that I won't forget in a long time.

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