Whistle Down The Wind
Nomination - Best Actress in a Musical (NODA) - Jess Barnett
Nomination - Best Female Youth Performer in an Adult Production (NODA) - Lizzie Glover
3rd - 8th November 2014
Photographs by John Tustin
Production Officials
Director Nora Howcroft
Assistant Director Lindsay Farnworth
Musical Director Mike Pinder
Choreographer Lara Crombie
The Man Joe Davies
Swallow Jess Barnett
Boone Mike Taylor
Brat Katie Ball
Poor Baby Lizzie Glover
Amos Jake Dufton
Candy Helen Shaw
Snake Preacher Meredith Collinson
Sheriff Roger Higginbottom
Edward David Witt
Earl Alan Hitchen
Minister Stewart Ball
Vikki Charlotte Davenport
Louise Emma Smith
Elizabeth Niamh Blackshaw
Charity Alice Higginbottom
Lavonne Katie Ryding
Jackie Grace Brown
Ramona Nina Dickinson
Carole Brooks, Steve Cunliffe, Gill Davies, Michelle Foster, Val Greenhalgh, Barbara Martin, Dave McGreavy, Julie Ogden, Gill Pollitt, Zoe Pollitt, David Roberts, Joan Roberts, Joyce Walters, Janet Witt
  • The Man and the children The Man and the children
  • Minister & townsfolk Minister & townsfolk
  • Townsfolk Townsfolk
  • Boone and family Boone and family
  • Snake Preacher with Vikki, Candy and Minister Snake Preacher with Vikki, Candy and Minister
  • Boone and townsfolk Boone and townsfolk
  • Minister and children Minister and children
  • Brat Brat
  • Snake Preacher & cronies Snake Preacher & cronies
  • Poor Baby and Swallow Poor Baby and Swallow
  • Sheriff and townsfolk Sheriff and townsfolk
  • Candy and Amos Candy and Amos
  • Townsfolk Townsfolk
  • Amos Amos
  • Swallow Swallow
  • Swallow and Amos Swallow and Amos
  • Boone Boone
  • Snake Preacher Snake Preacher

  • The Bolton News Review
  • NODA North West Review
It is always good to see something that has never been performed in the area before and Walmsley Church AODS' decision to premier Whistle Down the Wind in Bolton did not disappoint. The first night capacity audience was taken on a journey to Deep South America (although the original book was set in Lancashire) as we take a look into the lives of widower Boone and his family.

The opening chorus of The Gates of Heaven was a pleasure to listen to and set the pace for quality vocals throughout the show. Musical director Mike Pinder has certainly put the cast through their paces; especially the ensemble of children who lit up the stage and auditorium alike as they sang beautifully together — No Matter What and When Children Rule the Word were stunning. Director Nora Howcroft directs a strong cast and provides a slick production.

Mike Taylor as Boone is reliable as ever and Jess Barnett is a pure delight as Swallow. Vocally strong, with stage presence aplenty — this led to a polished performance. Jess displayed a subtle acting approach that suited the part to a tee. Katie Ball as Brat and Lizzie Glover as Poor Baby complete Boone's family and both performers show great promise for the future with vocal and acting skills that are just waiting to be further developed. Newcomer Joe Davies as The Man turns in a sterling performance. This is a vocally demanding role and his style of voice suited the part well. His first scenes were played with a quiet innocence as he goes along with the view of Swallow that he is Jesus, however, we see his true acting ability, both through song and delivery as the story comes to a climax and the level of acting steps up not only one, but several gears — a thorough performance. Helen Shaw plays rebellious Candy with a suitable amount of attitude, convincing us that she is not to be messed with whilst Jake Dufton as Amos gives off the air of being rough and ready when all along he has a caring soul. Both parts played with good characterisation and delivery.

There is not enough space to mention the full cast but suffice to say supporting roles were well cast and added to the success of this fresh and feel good production. The props set and costumes were in keeping with the piece and the usual attention to detail — which adds to the success of a production, had been observed. Do not be put off because it is a show that is unfamiliar — you really won't be disappointed.

Paul Cohen
Walmsley  must be congratulated on being the first amateur society in the area to  present this show. The original film was set in Lancashire but the Musical has moved to the  American Deep South. Religion is most important to these people so is it any wonder that the young Swallow finds someone hiding in the barn and thinks he is Jesus, well that's what he said!!!!!

The set and lighting were just right, the ending so dramatic. The orchestra played really well and sound level was perfect.

The three children were well cast. Jess Barnett gave a stunning performance as Willow, her acting and singing of the highest quality, especially when told this was her first principal part. Her siblings Brat (Katie Ball) and Poor Baby (Lizzie Glover) were just right. Their vocals and acting were excellent. You never once went out of character. The rest of their friends were super, singing, acting and harmonies Perfect. The children certainly stole the show.

The adults as usual were well drilled. The young couple were well played by Helen Shaw (Candy) and Jake Dufton (Amos). Mike Taylor was perfect as Boone, father of the three children.

The Man was brilliantly played by Joe Davies. His character trying not to be ' the convict' in front of the children. As I have come to expect, the chorus sounded great, with good vocals and movement on stage.

I thought all musical numbers were well sung. I loved 'The Vow' sung by Swallow, Brat and Poor Baby. 'If Only' sung by The Man and Swallow was beautiful. Of course the best number has got to be 'Whistle Down The Wind'. Wonderful.

Thank you for a wonderful evening, I have just put the hanky away!!!!!!!!

Jackie Kay

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