Seven Brides For Seven Brothers – WODYS Swan Theatre Worcester

YOUNGSTERS blaze a musical trail in the old favourite Seven Brides For Seven Brothers at the Swan Theatre this week.

The 65-strong cast fills the stage with energy and vitality in some dazzling dance numbers in this tale of pioneering folks in Oregon, USA, in the 1850s. It’s a big musical and needs a lot of good performers to carry it - fortunately, WODYS never seems to have a shortage of these. The two leads, Ella Sutton as Milly and Harry Jobson as Adam, both give strong and confident performances with excellent back-up from the Brides and the Brothers.

The story starts with one of the all-time great show tunes Bless Your Beautiful Hide as mountain man Adam swoops down into town in search of a wife, sweeping Milly off her feet and back to his farm, where he reveals the surprise of his six unruly brothers. Undaunted, she takes on the task of civilising them until they’re ready to find wives of their own, a jaunt that ends in a terrific stage-filling dance routine and punch-up at a town social.

The lovestruck brothers lament back at the farm until Adam, inspired by a Roman legend, encourages them to head back and abduct the girls of their dreams in an entertaining series of escapades, dashing back home and delaying the pursuing angry townsfolk by causing a dramatic avalanche. Questionable motives maybe but this is hoedown hokum from puritanical 1950s American musical theatre and no-nonsense Milly ensures there’s no hanky-panky over the snowed-in winter by separating the boys and girls. Adam, meanwhile, stomps off to a remote hut, leaving them all to it. Spring comes, the angry townsfolk return but by this time, the power of love has conquered everyone. It’s all played with a joyful innocence and the enthusiastic exuberance of the cast shines off the stage.

Ella Sutton has a powerful and expressive voice, particularly on Wonderful, Wonderful Day and Glad That You Were Born, and her central performance is mature and confident. She has good chemistry onstage with Harry Jobson, who also impresses in his key role and makes a great job of the signature

tune. The Brides – Emily Smith, Hana Copestake, Ella Cleary, Grace Whyte, Issy Khogali and Molly Phillips (ALL CORRECT) – and the Brothers – Jamie Berryman, Alex Gough, Ben Darby, George Fall-Taylor, Harry Collins and Ben Sears (ALL CORRECT) all give outstanding performances. As ever with this group, it’s the strength in depth of the actors from eight to 18 that makes the show. The choreography sparkles, especially with the whole cast routines, and the band is excellent.

It’s a happy marriage between WODYS and this show and the sell-out crowd won’t be disappointed.

The show runs until Saturday.