No-one should become involved with Broadway musical revues unless they are able to give themselves 1000 per cent to the performance. The lyrics are often dotty, the plots improbable and the costumes outrageous, but despite logic, musicals such as MameHello, Dolly!Mack & Mabel and the like succeed when the cast commits totally and convinces the audience that the hyper-real world on stage is all that matters. Leisa Keen and Jordan Kelly with their cast and crew have made the commitment and succeeded in captivating the audience with their enthusiasm, musicality and lavish quantities of sequins.
Keen provides faultless piano accompaniment and harmony singing throughout the evening, as well as memorable solos and duets, in particular, Song on the Sand. This genre is her natural habitat and she sings with confidence and warmth, navigating the dangerous chromaticism of the score with ease.
The choreography was critical for the success of the show. Constrained by a stage which is not quite the size of a Broadway venue, the chorus lines nonetheless used striking geometric formations well integrated with the costumes and lighting to give that spectacular glitter audiences love. The tap trio was a lovely sequence. Rachael Stenhouse has a knock-out stage presence that will take her places either with dance or in her newly chosen field of musical theatre.
Michael Moore’s excellent comic timing, rich voice and deft flick of the wig had the audience in the palm of his hand as he sang boldly of fastening his bra and giving himself a lift in A Little More Mascara. Much to the delight of the audience, the entire male cast frocked up for I Am What I Am, following on from some astronomical and anatomical revelations in a similar vein in The Man in the Moon.
Bosom Buddies gave Liz de Totth and Janelle McMenamin a grand opportunity for some sisterly jibes and a very satisfying performance of the vocal duet. Of course, there were darker, sadder songs as contrast to the humour. And I Was Beautiful and I Won’t Send Roses quietened the mood. Ben Hardy’s version of the very pleasing It Only Takes a Moment was nicely sung.
A surprise treat was a genuine silent movie filmed by the cast, providing a clever change of pace between vocal brackets.
The cast encompasses a healthy age range and a variety of different voices, but the outstanding feature of this production is how dedicated every cast member is to listening to each other and blending into a whole united sound. If you don’t come out singing and trying out a few tap-shoe shuffles, it won’t be the fault of this lively troupe.