Review: Carousel, Church Hill Theatre

THE Bohemians Lyric Opera Company certainly has a great time bringing this musical to life. Happily, it also brings the audience along for the ride.***

Rodgers and Hammerstein are acknowledged masters of musicals, and Carousel is one of their most famous.

Billy, a showman with communication issues, struggles to settle down in the world outside the fairground.

He is inhabited by Jonathan McGarrity with a strong hint of Joey from Friends. He really comes into his own in his feature song Soliloquy, in which he sings about his hopes for his son.

Sophie Pasola, meanwhile, gets plenty of opportunities to display her lovely voice as Julie and long-time Bohemians favourite Claire MacLean is on form as Carrie the goofy friend.

Alexandra Junginger gives an assured performance as Nettie, absolutely belonging at centre stage during June is Bustin’ Out All Over. Jennifer O’Neill as Louise also has a very natural stage presence. Her acting during her dance sequences is committed and effective.

An impressive troupe of 20 child acrobats further fleshes out the already large cast. The children are all great dancers and those playing the Snow children get some great laughs from the audience.


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Two of the supporting men, Keith Parsons as Mr Snow and Eddie McDowell as Jigger, also stand out for their strong comic acting. Parsons wins over the audience with his booming laugh in his first scene and can’t really go wrong after that.

This production does lack slickness or momentum in a few places, especially in the more full-on acting scenes.

In general, the show improves as it goes on and the cast relax and enjoy themselves more. They can afford to be more confident about their good work.

The production features some lovely fairylight horses for the carousel and, indeed, all of the fairground scenes are enjoyably decadent.

The Bohemians Lyric Opera Company has presented amateur musicals continuously since 1910 and, by now, more than earned its right to call itself an Edinburgh institution. Carousel does that tradition proud, and raises expectations for next year’s Jekyll and Hyde.

Run ends Saturday