CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Lancashire Life today CLICK HERE

Theatre review - White Christmas, Burnley Light Opera Society, Burnley Mechanics

PUBLISHED: 14:51 13 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:30 07 December 2016

White Christmas” Burnley Light Opera Society – Burnley Mechanics

White Christmas” Burnley Light Opera Society – Burnley Mechanics


Christmas came early to Burnley as the Burnley Light Opera Society performed the Irving Berlin classic, “White Christmas”.

It is that time of year again. A time that seems to come around quicker every single year, but the full house at the Burnley Mechanics theatre were ready and in festive spirits. The musical is based on the 1954 motion picture starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, so no pressure.

The story follows two soldiers in the American army, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, who, one Christmas Eve, entertain the other troops with their song and dance rendition. They eventually leave the army and make it big in the world of showbusiness regularly appearing on the Ed Sullivan show. Phil introduces Bob to the Haynes sisters, Betty and Judy who have their own song and dance act and one that Phil believes would fit in with their own show. The pair soon find themselves on a train to Vermont where the Haynes sisters are set to perform, but Bob believes they are heading to Miami. On arriving at the lodge they meet their old Commander, General Waverly, who owns the establishment. They discover that the General is keen to get himself back into the Army and, unbeknown to him, the lodge is rife with debt and the pair realise they may be able to help.

I confess that this musical is one I am not familiar with. Although the title suggests otherwise, the theme of the show is not heavily referenced on Christmas. Instead, it a vibrant, bright, energetic and entertaining story full of fabulous numbers and dance routines. What I really find hard to believe is that this is an amateur production, because, based on this performance, it is anything but.

Director and Choreographer Anthony Williams has worked absolute wonders in bringing this story to life. A story that is funny as well as entertaining and one that is packed with high energy performances from the whole cast. The use of a giant video screen at the back of the stage added another level onto the musical, giving us an additional dimension to the production and a realistic edge. For two and a quarter hours you will completely absorbed and forget that the characters are actors.

Simon Murray returned to the group as Musical Director along with his wonderful team of talented musicians who worked tirelessly throughout the whole performance and even, at times, became a part of the show. Simon himself was equally as impressive with his ability to simultaneously compose and play the keyboard at the same time.

Every member of the group from the lead performers to the ensemble put their hearts and souls into this performance. Becky White and Laura Chadwick were ever present on stage with their sassy performances of Rita and Rhoda. Tony Lewis, Greg Wharf and Alan Whittaker played the roles of Mike, Ralph Sheldrake and Ezekiel Foster adding some of the shows more humorous scenes to the proceedings. Geoff Baron played the strong, commanding figure of General Waverly with the hidden talent of his receptionist, Martha, played by the wonderful Joanne Gill. The Haynes sisters, Betty played by Jenny Gill and Judy played by Leanne Bradshaw were simply brilliant. Both brought wonderful stage presence accompanied by truly beautiful singing voices which each note making the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. Special notice must go to the character of Susan Waverly, played by both Ruby Whittaker and Freya Allison. There was such confidence in the performance and with being on a stage in front of a packed crowd and when she gets her chance to shine, it brought tears to the eyes. Finally, the performances of Bob Wallace and Phil Davis played by Peter Rigney and David Barratt were phenomenal. Their chemistry on stage as a duo worked perfectly giving the impression that they were the best of friends. They worked brilliantly off each other and both could sing and dance. The combination of talents was definitely one of the best that I have seen and I am sure that Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye themselves would join me in the plaudits.

Christmas truly arrived during the final rendition of the title song in which the whole auditorium joined in and that was followed by a truly, magical touch that pieced everything together. A wonderful musical performed superbly by one of the best operatic society’s not just in the North West, but the whole country.

The show runs nightly up to and including Saturday 19th November at 7.30pm. A show and a collective performance that will not disappoint.

More from Out & About

Having 10,000 students on the doorstep is helping this West Lancashire town centre to thrive

Read more

In 1972, a hoard of ancient silver coins was discovered in Prestwich. These days, they’re hoping to strike gold with an unbeatable mix of community, creativity and independent shops but for one craftsperson, silver is still the way to go.

Read more
Friday, October 12, 2018

Pendle Hill is one of the most iconic landmarks in Lancashire and you can enjoy the beautiful countryside, spectacular views and fascinating from a number of starting points in the Ribble Valley.

Read more
Pendle Hill Ribble Valley Walks
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Our walks expert John Lenehan plots a scenic course that also provides a little Lancashire history.

Read more

Steps are being taken to bridge the divides that have grown between communities and made Blackburn one of the most segregated towns in the country.

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

With the countryside turning stunning shades of red and gold, this is probably the best time to pull on your boots and go for a heavenly hike.

Read more
Lake District Walks Autumn

There is always something surprising in this old Lancashire village which attracts visitors from across the world

Read more
Thursday, October 4, 2018

Many youngsters their age are content to play with their toys, but a Bowness brother and sister are happiest in their walking boots.

Read more
Thursday, September 27, 2018

Britain’s biggest independent flower show attracts huge crowds and the admiration of BBC celebrities

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

When it was announced The Willow Garden Project in Fleetwood was to be the recipient of BBC North West Garden created for The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Tatton Flower Show, there were cheers all round.

Read more
Friday, September 21, 2018

The first ever National GetOutside Day takes place on Sunday 30 September with the aim of getting 1 million people active outdoors across the UK.

Read more

Meet some of the devilishly successful people who make this glorious Ribble Valley town tick.

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

The site was designated Lancashire’s first ever ‘Local Nature Reserve’ in 1968 and is also designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Read more
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A striking sculpture attracts John Lenehan to this circular walk through some oustanding scenery.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Property Search