Review: Exeter University Footlights production of Oklahoma! at The Northcott Theatre

Her Campus was lucky enough to have been invited to review the much anticipated Exeter University Footlights production of Oklahoma! at The Northcott Theatre.

Footlights is Exeter University’s largest Musical Theatre society, now in its 32nd year. Each year the society puts on two large scale productions and many other smaller shows, including their brilliant 48 hour musicals and performances from their show choir. Today, all lights are on their first big production of the year.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! is a heartwarming story set in farm country that follows a young lady, Laurey, as two suitors, Curly the cowboy and Jud the farm hand, compete for her courtship. Along with these relationships emerges Ado Annie as she searches for a fiancé and comes across cowboy Will and Ali, a Persian peddler. The play itself is an adaptation of Lynn Griggs ‘Green Grow the Lilacs’ and has had multiple notable productions since 1943.

Each year, Footlights aims to create show-stopping student productions to a professional standard - and this year was no different. Every inch of the performance was breathtaking. From the smallest details in set design and transitions to the mesmerising 12-minute dream ballet sequence, the production oozed passion and professionality. The actors paid perfect tribute to the clever playwriting through perfect delivery that resulted in lots of audience laughs.

The chemistry between the whole cast is stirring, but shines strongest during Curly (Harry Lynn) and Laurey’s (Olivia Koplick) duet ‘People Will Say We’re In Love’. A great level of maturity is added to the show by Aunt Eller (Charlotte Harris) and Andrew Carnes (Patric Basse). Energy was injected into every area of the production, with ‘Kansas City’ performed by Will (Harry Elliott), Aunt Eller (Charlotte Harris) and the male ensemble truly setting the incredible momentum with impressive acrobatics. In fact, the male and female ensemble are the shining stars of the show - their perfectly rounded talent is stunning.

The talent of the actors is allowed to shine through the hard work of the creative and production teams. The costumes add perfect drama and authenticity to the shoe, whilst the choreography (Kathryn Pridgeon) hypnotises the audience. The beautiful orchestral music is the cherry on top of an outstanding production.

Special Mentions:

Singing - Olivia Koplick as Laurey

Dancing - Molly Stokes (ensemble and dance captain)

Acting - Jacob Hutchings as Jud

Energy - Harry Elliott as Will

Humor - the interactions between Stuart Duncan as Ali, Harry Elliott as Will and Lucy Harris as Ado Annie

Song -  Many a New Day (Laurey and female ensemble)

This is not a production to be missed! Below is information on performance times, social media details and a link to ticket sales. 

Performances: Wednesday 23rd January (2.30pm and 7.30pm), Thursday 24th January (7.30pm), Friday 25th January (7.30pm), Saturday 26th January (2.30pm and 7.30pm)

Facebook page: Exeter University Footlights

Twitter: @uoefootlights

Instagram: @exeterfootlights