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Review: The Invitation Theatre Company, Bear Hotel, Devizes
THE management at the Bear Hotel is keen to make more use of its beautiful ballroom than just as a venue for wedding receptions and Christmas parties.
There is now an increasing number of performances there and The Invitation Theatre Company presented its latest production, Fish Gotta Swim, Birds Gotta Fly, there on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Once I had got over the shock of paying £5.45 for a glass of indifferent Shiraz at the bar, I found the ambience in the ballroom to be very conducive to a pleasant evening with its impressively swagged drapes and stunning chandelier.
I thought seats arranged around tables would have been better for this rather informal cabaret production than the serried ranks of seating.
Fish Gotta Swim, Birds Gotta Fly is a line from the Jerome Kern song Man of Mine and was a fitting start to the show as it showed exactly where this talented group has its strength.
Individually the voices are OK but together they blend fabulously and the chorus work on this number sent shivers up my spine. This was also the case in Cole Porter’s Just One of Those Things, Gerswhin’s I’ve Got Rhythm and Johnny Mercer’s Moon River. The accompaniment from Dominic Irving on piano and Tim Clissold on drums could not have been better.
Paul Morgan arranged and directed the evening and, although it was a blast, I felt the show would have gained from having more shape. The 30 numbers were performed individually but it could have been more uplifting if songs had been grouped together in medleys and - dare I say it - given a theme or a plot.