Following an extensive refurbishment, Darlington Hippodrome has flung open its doors, and what better way to mark the reopening of the iconic venue than with a warm welcome home for the Darlington Operatic Society and their production of “Strictly Musicals 2”.

In previous years, the Darlington Operatic Society’s productions have incorporated spectacular set designs with sparkling costumes to match. This has all been stripped down for their latest show, which features minimalistic sets and simple, yet effective costume design.

As a result, the audience’s focus is firmly on the cast’s singing and dancing abilities, leaving very little room for error. Nevertheless, this proves no challenge for the extremely gifted cast.

Strictly Musicals 2 is over two hours of the best-loved tracks and medleys from some of the greatest musicals of all time, featuring romantic, tear-inducing duets to lively, upbeat numbers from the likes of “Phantom of the Opera”, “The Hot Mikado” and “Wicked”.

The sheer range of songs gives each member of the Darlington Operatic Society the opportunity to showcase their talents in the spotlight. It’s refreshing to see so many faces, new and old, having the confidence to perform on the big stage.

Each track is sung with pitch-perfect vocals with step-perfect choreography to match (brilliantly staged by director Joanne Hand). Not forgetting the excellent live 10-piece band, which flawlessly replicates the familiar soundtracks under the guidance of Steven Hood.

It’s difficult to pick just one highlight from Strictly Musicals 2, although it’s the medleys that prove the most pleasing to watch, as the cast flawlessly transition from song-to-song during the likes of “Joseph”, “Mamma Mia” and “We Will Rock You”.

They might be an amateur production company on paper, but the Darlington Operatic Society always produces shows to a professional standard, and Strictly Musicals 2 is one of their most polished to date.

Darlington Operatic Society’s “Strictly Musicals 2” is at the Darlington Hippodrome until Saturday, November 25th, 2017. Tickets can be purchased from the Darlington Operatic Society website or by calling 01325 244659.