The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

JH Productions

Winchester University

This popular musical is based around what is essentially an American phenomenon – a children’s spelling competition. We join the contest at the final stages, where question-master Vice President Panch is supported by Roma Lisa Peretti in administrating proceedings. Samuel Chivers gave a masterful performance as Panch and Emma Jane Smith sang beautifully as Roma. Of the contestants, I particularly enjoyed Wesley Buckeridge’s madcap William Morris Barfee (a gift of a part) and co-director and choreographer Christina Finn’s Logainne, although Kimberley James (as Marcy) and Emily Ruos (Olive) ran them close. James Butler (Chip) and Brandon Chan (Leaf) had their own opportunities to shine and did so, with Alex Ruos making the most of his occasional appearances as Mitch. The cast’s interaction with the audience added to the enjoyment, particularly the innocents who volunteered. Musical Director James Doo’s band performed well, the set was well-lit and the sound quality was generally good. E.x.c.e.l.l.e.n.t!

Alan Johns