The Likes of Us is a musical by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, the same team who brought us Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Jesus Christ Superstar. It’s based on the true story of Thomas John Barnardo and his mission in life to combat child poverty.
The Havering Music Makers have been responsible for a wide range of productions around Havering and we reviewed their production of Carousel last year. They always give an excellent performance and we were delighted to be invited along to ‘The Likes of Us’ at The Queen’s Theatre.
The set was absolutely marvellous, a Edwardian pub is the main location for all the scenes and they even built a roof terrace for the scene where Banardo meets the children.
There was some amazing talent in the cast, this included Barnardo, played by James Knowles, who had a brilliant operatic style singing voice as well as being generally talented on stage. Lauren Frost, who played Banardo’s partner Syrie, also had an excellent voice and we loved her in the song ‘You can Never Make it Alone’.
The cast included children as young as 4 years old but, despite their lack of experience due to their age, all the children showed a large amount of potential in a future of both acting and singing. Their performance of the song ‘The Likes of Us’, in the first act, was meet with large rounds of applause from the audience and set a precedent for all songs after that point.
One of our favourite songs was the playful auction song “Going, Going, Gone!” and the cast played on the comic styling of the song and the auctioneer, played by Jason Markham, even managed to get the audience to join in the chorus.
Generally, although the cast were wonderful, the storyline is what let the night down. In the end the plot is as simple as Barnardo wants to build an orphanage and he builds an orphanage, there is some mention of the legal fight that Barnardo won but this is simply mentioned in passing by the narrator.
Although the plot will leave you with a feeling of disappointment, the songs and general joy radiating from the cast will leave you with a smile on your face and you’ll be singing “Going, Going, Gone!” all the way home.
Elsie (narrator) – Sue Howlett
Rose – Ellen O’Shea
Barnardo – James Knowles
Johnny – Paul Barker
Jenny – Sonja Lahiff
Syrie – Lauren Frost
Prime Minister – Jim Lion
Auctioneer – Jason Markham
Young Billy – Christian Vince