BASINGSTOKE Amateur Operatic Society transported us to 1920s New York in their production of Thoroughly Modern Millie in The Haymarket.

Its gorgeous costumes swung along to the sparkling choreography from Helen Buick, and Simon Eastwood's musical direction was masterful. The band were sensational and immersed us in Jeanine Tesori's score.

The choreography in BAOS' production had real panache and fitted smartly within the innovative staging and set design. There are many occasions where the set was used to real comic effect allowing for lovely moments of storytelling, particularly as we watched Tom McReavy's sweet portrayal of the plucky Jimmy Smith crawl along a windowsill to tap on Millie's office window.

Special mention must go to Dawn Stephens as Millie. Her approach to the character was charming, loveable and evoked a real will for her to succeed, right from the beginning. 

After hearing her sing and watching her dance, it was no surprise at all to learn that she had played the role before, such was her affability, and her ability to communicate Millie's zest and zeal.

The show was layered with lovely solo numbers and of particular note was Siobhan Branch's velvety performance of Muzzy Van Hossmere's Only in New York, easing us effortlessly into the 1920s nightlife.

Throughout the show, the harmonies in the duets were crisp, and Hayley Cheesworth’s (as Miss Dorothy Brown, Millie's best friend) voice resounded like a nightingale.

For such a lively, colourful show, the cast did well to maintain the pace and energy, with only occasional dips in conviction.

Scenes moved seamlessly from one to another other, and the production ended on a high.

Lydia Thomson

*BAOS' youth company, Limelight, are performing Fame Jr on April 26 and 27. Tickets are available online at