Hope Church, Weymouth

IT’S all change for what was formerly Weymouth Operatic Society, which has now become Wessex Musical Theatre and has developed a whole new personality along with its change of name.

In taking a different approach to presenting musical entertainment on the stage, the group have attracted many younger members who deliver their songs with energy and enthusiasm and with the programme now firmly in the 21st century, this Christmas show is definitely different.

The evening is launched with a number of songs from the stage show The Lion King, performed by solo artists and backed up by the whole company of singers, tastefully dressed and singing with fine pitch and balance.

Together with excerpts from A Star is Born, the first half of the show, though enjoyable, bears little resemblance to a seasonal celebration but after the interval, things definitely move in the direction of Christmas, give or take a couple of readings from Dr Seuss aimed at a young audience.

Another significant change to the newly named Society is the musical accompaniment which is no longer played live but delivered with pre-recorded tracks of orchestral music of high professional quality thanks to Jonathan May, a musical director of exceptional talent while Shakira Brading stages the whole show with imagination and experience.

There are further performances on Saturday including a matinee taking place in the welcoming atmosphere of Hope Church near Brewers Quay. Their next show will be in May 2020 when the Wessex Musical Theatre group are presenting Oliver at Weymouth Pavilion for which young people are invited to audition to appear in this fresh take on the famous Dickens novel.