REVIEW: Trafford Tanzi, at Thwaites Empire Theatre, Ewood

First published in Stage reviews Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

WHO said all wrestling is scripted?

Blackburn College’s annual musical was taken out of its comfort zone and into the Thwaites Theatre - an unprecedented move as the production left the college grounds for the first time.

And despite grappling with their nerves in the more professional atmosphere, staff and students held their own during an entertaining evening.

The story charts the rise of Tanzi, a plain girl doing nothing with her life, but after learning her husband - North West wrestling champion Lee Nando - is having an affair, she decides to fight back by becoming a wrestler herself.

Nick Maynard’s adaptation included the music of Abba, with some lyrical genius - a particular highlight being ‘chicken tikka, chips and a drink’ to the tune of Chiquitita.

The leading lady, Prestoner India Havery, displayed impressive vocals in a number of solo performances and solid acting - and wrestling - skills.

This in spite of the 19-year-old’s ambition to become an accountant.

Lance Muir, as Lee Nando, was very funny, while Tanzi’s mum and dad, Amy Bell and Nathan Biggin, were both excellent.

Head of law and part-time stand-up comic Morgan Currey, almost stole the show with his portrayal of Micky Phillips, a sexist comedian, with some near-the-knuckle humour and outrageous dancing.

While learning support worker David Helm, playing the referee and breaking up the production into 10 thoroughly enjoyable rounds, knitted the show together nicely. He could sing a bit, too.

A closing rendition of Super Trouper brought the house down.

These may have been amateurs, but their hard work paid off as this was thoroughly enjoyable.

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