The University Centre Colchester Year 2 BA Honours Musical Theatre students performed an intimate array of West End and Broadway showstoppers to an appreciative audience this evening in the Mercury Theatre Studio. So nice to see a selection of modern show-tunes including The Addams Family, Miss Saigon, Jekyll & Hyde, Sideshow, In The Heights, Bring It On and Hamilton.
The four piece band masterfully directed by Simon Warne accompanied the non-amplified voices perfectly ensuring that every vocal was heard for every song. Despite being a small performance space, the cast of 20+ all-female talent made the stage look bigger than it was helped by the effective use of a static lighting rig.
The show opened with a very impressive ensemble number When You’re An Addams. Spot on vocals, great harmonies, brilliant stage movement and wonderful lighting. Immensely enjoyable. The cast seem to be having a fun time.
From this point on, performances were variable. When the performers were given the right songs to match their musical theatre skills and vocal ranges it worked very well. But sometimes, the challenge of some bigger numbers was a step too far, resulting in pitchy vocals and excessive shouting to reach the top notes. These are future musical theatre stars in training and this learning experience will only help them perfect their art and gain the confidence to improve.
But throughout the 90mins musical mix there were some standout performances which are worth a mention.
Becky Hutchison acting and characterisation skills shone in Pulled from The Addams Family. Brilliantly acted, very believable and the right quirkiness for Wednesday Addams.
Emma Hoseason performing Miss Byrd gave the perfect balance of comedy, lovely vocals and movement. Both Emma and Becky stood out in their duets and ensemble numbers.
To close Act 1, Who Will Love Me As I Am from the musical Sideshow is a challenging vocal number. Brooke Meredith & Emma Hoseason held their own and the introduction of the ensemble towards the end of the song raised it to another level.
In Act 2, Sophie Knights secured the biggest cheer of the night for her performance of Woman displaying her sublime vocal tones whilst acting her soulful heart out. The musical In The Heights made an appearance with an unusual choice of song, Everything I Know. Siobhan Wilkinson‘s use of vocal dynamics switched between the soft angelic tones of the character Nina to the powerful emotional heights of the song. A memorable performance from the Barrio – No pares Sigue Sigue! The final solo number of the night was left to Abigail Parry who delivered The Perfect Moment from Bring It On. The role of Campbell seems made for Abigail which led to the a strong closing number of Revolting Children from Matilda.
Overall a very entertaining evening – a privilege to enjoy musical theatre up close from the stars of the future.