Some lovely singing performances but magic was missing

There’s Magic in The 
Music, Royal Hippodrome Theatre, Eastbourne

Summer has arrived in Eastbourne as the annual Royal Hippodrome Theatre’s summer show has opened.

It is the perfect choice for the hotel visitors who want to go to a variety show, as it is music through the ages from Glen Miller through to Elvis, Buddy Holly, the Beatles and Abba to the present day.

The summer show at the Hippodrome has always been variety but the format has changed over the years.

Those who remember the heyday of the theatre when they produced spectacular professional shows with elaborate sets as money was no object must put those days out of their minds.

There’s Magic in the Music is staged by Trapdoor Productions, which is a company made up from former Rattonians, some of whom turned professional, but it is mostly an amateur show with children from local dance schools performing with the company in the first half.

That said, they do an excellent job. There are some beautiful voices and lovely costumes and Debbie Hackett has choreographed it very well.

Sadly, the night I went the professional magician they engaged as the link man Richie Austin just could not connect with the audience at all. He made the mistake of getting visibly annoyed when they would not react on his first appearance and they did not seem to warm to him although he did perform some good tricks.

The performer they did warm to because of his great personality and nice singing voice was Eastbourne-born Grant Martins, who began his professional career singing in his father’s hotel at the age of 16. In a Play Your Cards Right sketch, where he divided the audience in two to play against each other, he produced a reaction Austin failed to get.

There were some lovely singing performances, like Star Bray who sang The White Cliffs of Dover so well Dame Vera Lynn would have been proud.

My favourite spot in the show was Laura Sivers, Aimee Kimberley, Alex Adams and Grant Martin singing Abba songs. They looked like Abba in stunning costumes and you just wanted to get up and dance to Dancing Queen. I also enjoyed the male company singing the Billy Joel song Uptown Girl.

I am sure another night, another audience, Richie Austin will form a better connection.

It was just unfortunate I saw him on a night when that failed to happen and it did affect his performance.

By Amanda Wilkins