first night

DULOG Summer Cabaret

Joanna Robertson finds that variety is the spice of summer at DULOG's Cabaret.
We were promised “a fantastic evening, with numbers ranging from big group spectacles to stirring solos and everything in between.” Certainly the ambience of the cabaret began upon entrance to the Margot Fonteyn Ballroom, with the band playing softly as throngs of audience members found their seats either in rows around the edges of the ballroom or at pre-booked tables with wine.
The cabaret began with a high impact chorus number, “Masquerade”, from The Phantom of the Opera, with fantastic choreography, which flowed well into the next song: a duet of “The Phantom of the Opera” and then “That’s all I ask of you”.
Next up were two contrasting acts: South Pacific’s “Nothing like a Dame” from the guys and “Bring on the Men” from Jeckyll & Hyde by the girls. Splitting the chorus into these two groups enabled each chorus member to show off their singing and dancing abilities, especially in the striking “Bring on the Men”, where the dancers could really inject character into the number.
This was followed by some solo and small group performances, including “Somewhere” from West Side Story, with Bianca Watts’ innocent and clear voice being the perfect choice for this number. The two pieces from Miss Saigon also showcased fantastic female soloists: for instance, “Movie in my Mind” was emotionally delivered by Hannah Howie.
The first act closed with a medley of songs from Les Miserables, which really stood out due to the amazing talent showcased and the variety even within this one section. Notably, the ballet danced by Lucy Concannon provided an engaging contrast to the soloist singing “On my own”, whilst a strong chorus, costumes accessorized with red, white and blue, were enthusiastic in “Can you hear the people sing”. Throughout this section and indeed throughout the show Simon Lynch really stood out as Jean Valjean; beginning quietly in “Bring Him Home” before showcasing the full range of his talents in the rest of the set and later, most strikingly, in “Jesus Christ Superstar”, where his falsetto and long held notes had the audience spellbound.
Another standout set in the second half was the Jersey Boys: John Muething’s impressive falsetto, Alex Prescot’s enthusiastic dancing and the gusto of “Oh What a night” had the audience clapping along. Meanwhile, in the Wicked section, extra male harmonies added interest to the performance of “For Good” whilst Elissa Churchill stood out in “Defying Gravity”, as did Tsemaye Bob-Egbe in her solo from The Lion King.
The production, in the main, flowed well, and there was a lot of variety in the selection and mood of songs chosen. The chorus numbers in particular were very engaging, with high impact choreography by Susie Cox and Susie Hudson. The costumes also added to the impression of the performance, each chorus member dressed uniquely within the theme for each set, be it green highlights for Wicked, formalwear for Masquerade, or a riot of colour and 60s skirts and dresses for Hairspray. It was perhaps a shame that due to technical issues the solos had to be more static at fixed microphones, although this allowed a change in mood and an emotional connection to be made with the audience. It is impossible to name everyone who stood out and the variety of soloists meant that several different performers were able to showcase their talents.
Overall, the strength of the production and the enthusiasm of the cast pushed it throughfirst night nerves, technical hitches and the odd lost voice. This, combined with host Alex Morgan’s recommendation of lemon and honey drinks, should make it what promises to be an even more polished and spectacular performance tonight.


Joanna Robertson

18 June 2013

The views expressed in the reviews and comments on this page are those of the reviewer, and are not representative of the views of DST or Durham University.
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