Keeping the best company
FOUNDED in 2001 the Ipswich Musical Theatre Company has in a short span of time cemented itself as a major professional community theatre company.
The past few years has seen them stage some magnificent productions.
First there was Phantom of the Opera which was simply stunning in all aspects of musical theatre.
Then came Mary Poppins in 2015. The company outdid itself with this performance in terms of staging, performances by the cast and professional production.
Who would have thought that the company could stage another production that surpasses this performance? Yet they did.
They comment in their program that they "are steadfast in their commitment to provide fresh and outstanding musical theatre productions at affordable prices, ensuring the best possible live theatre experience for their patrons".
Well with Wicked they achieved just that - it was a remarkable musical theatre production.
Stage Whispers review commented that "sometimes the line between a top community theatre production and a professional one is very thin indeed", and that was what they saw with IMTC's production of Wicked.
Every one of the cast were superb in their respective roles.
The two lead roles Elphaba, played by Heidi Enchelmaier and Glinda played by Annabelle Harbison, were outstanding throughout the total performance. The first act final musical number Defying Gravity was so powerful that it brought tears to the eyes.
Deservedly it received thunderous applause from the audience. Both the roles of Glinda and Elphaba were great foils for each other and each played their character to the fullest.
There were other brilliant characterisations during this production as well: Lauren Roche as Nessarose was again terrific as she was as Mary Poppins last year; William Toft playing Fiyero gave a fantastic performance; as did Robert Shearer as the Wizard and Susan Glosko as Madame Morrible.
Of course the company was privileged in gaining the skills of professionals such as Simon Gallaher, who did the casting, and Simon Lind, a high profile choreographer, Robbie Parkin as director and Robert Clark as music director.
But all of this could not have happened had it not been for the dedication and foresight of the founding duo of the company, Brenda Ryan as artistic director and Ken Mundt as president.
Both have dedicated themselves to ensuring the success of the company.
It is time they be better recognised by becoming the resident theatre company of the Ipswich Civic Hall or, if not there, certainly the resident theatre company at the new North Ipswich Woollen Mills arts centre.
While their current home in the old court house is okay, it stifles their creativity, limits their storage needs for costumes, props and staging, and limits their rehearsal needs for productions such as Wicked.