The Guide Awards 2010 – Theatre Review

A self-indulgent Award Ceremony that held the promise of an entertaining evening and instead provided sporadic hopeful highs that led to a show that ultimately ran out of batteries for me.

The stage provided a backdrop for a simple set up, the presenters wooden lectern, main projector screen and full band kit tastefully filled the stage. The audience was understandably packed with those nominated for awards and close family or friends along to support them, which provided an enthusiastic atmosphere with the required energy and excitement as the award runner-ups and winners were announced. One by one the winners nervously climbed the centre stage steps to collect their awards while being pushed and prodded into place by the somewhat moody photographer on stage.

Highlights of the evening included the confident and humorous delivery from the presenter, Wave 105 DJ, Steve Power, a mature first performance from 15-year-old blues guitarist Zach Fielder and the delivery of a laugh out loud stand up performance from the winner of Best Comedy Act, Sean Collins. There were quirky and humorous independent film excerpts of the Best Film nomination and lastly the special achievement award to Steve Pitt for his involvement in supporting local talent in Portsmouth, which further conveyed the most important message of the evening, thus influencing a strong sense of community and inspiration throughout the theatre in regard to supporting Portsmouth Arts and Entertainment.

Frustratingly though, the rest of the performance’s were poorly chosen in my opinion, which made parts of the night almost painful. The decision to have early performances of monologue driven scenes from Mac & Mable and ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from Les Miserable, while talented in their genre, were misguided and flattening to the mood of the evening. The final performance from last years Best Band winners ‘Kill Kasper’ undoubtedly brought about a sigh of relief from the majority of the audience and at first were convincing as a jaw dropping band with their Oasis / Rolling Stones attitude as they graced the stage and rocked out kick ass guitar riffs. But, as time went on and the second song didn’t go anywhere new, it dawned on me that the excitement and enjoyment of their stage presence and music, while still holding good potential and some original sounds, was only comparatively amazing to a generally disappointing evening of entertainment.

Had this been a student or amateur production it could have almost been forgiven for it’s misgivings, however I have seen such productions with more promise than this and ultimately I expected more from The News.

In addition to selection of bad choices, the award ceremony main title artwork and presentation design used to list the nominees and present the winners, were dull and old fashioned. A factor that could have been easily solved and in turn provided the lacking professional edge that was missing from the event.

The Guide Awards claims to be a celebration of achievement for local talent, I would suggest that they therefore utilise local talent to provide some decent graphic design, event management and more lively entertainment in the future.

For a full list of the award winners, please go to: http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/guideawards

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