We don’t miss Wednesday Cindies lightly, but boy are we glad we did for Show Choir.
*Full disclaimer – we are most definitely the target audience for this show.*
This production is easily Show Choir’s best offering to date, and a strong improvement on the ‘Songs from the Shows’ slot, which Will reviewed last term.
The theme is quite simply, perfect. Show Choir’s strength is in fun, and that’s exactly what they dredged the Noughties catalogue for. The setlist ranged from Shakira to S Club, with a wonderful nods to Beyonce – Rosie Calthrop’s impressive solo – and Heather Small’s iconic ‘Proud’ (ft. glorious fly-in portrait of the diva herself). The audience, admittedly largely made up of the musical casts from other shows this term, clapped along and bopped their heads to nearly every number.
Our particular highlight was the High School Musical mashup, wonderfully opened by the power duo that is James Daly (those high As…) and Calthrop – the whole segment was quite honestly 5 minutes of pure joy. Almost equally enjoyable was the closing mashup, of basically every song from the ‘noughties’ that hadn’t already been featured, which left half of the audience in a standing ovation.
Musically, the show was the best Show Choir have produced in some time. Harmonies were well blended, and there were so many of them! This is testament to both the hard work and talent that Show Choir have clearly put into this show. This said, the men’s harmonies were weaker than the women’s, not by too much, but with a slight tendency to go flat, undermining the lighthearted sound Show Choir aims for.
The soloists were generally strong, and Phoebe Stone, Lynette Parkinson, and Kris Moore deserve special mention for their moments. Most impressive though, was Samantha Benson, who raised many a cheer from the audience and thoroughly impressed with spotless vocals.
Tech was simple, but surprisingly slick. Particularly effective were the silhouetted changeovers between songs, although it did make the audience giggle when several members walked to the wings only to walk straight back onstage. Mercifully, for once at the ADC mic levels were near perfect and soloists managed to stand at the right distance from the microphones. A true success.
Weaker elements of the show included the choreography, which was executed with varying levels of enthusiasm, and accuracy, amongst the group. Whilst one can hardly expect ‘Glee’ levels of choreography at Show Choir events, their use of full choreography in the High School Musical Medley left us wanted more in the rest of the show. The cast seemed unconfident in the opening Beyoncé number which, admittedly, exhibited the most cringeworthy moves of the show. However, once the group realised that the clunky moves could be harnessed for comic effect, they got into their stride and the audience lapped it up.
The famous ‘show choir smile’ took a few numbers to really kick in, but generally this was an improvement on the last few shows. Whilst there were a few wooden faces and glazed eyes, these were refreshingly brief. We were particularly impressed by the Rhianna number, sung by the female members of the ensemble. It took an unexpected turn away from the upbeat, jazz hands numbers and the stripped back arrangement really highlighted the vocal talent on display.
The show was wonderfully masterminded and MCed by Jonathan Bielby, who had the audience in the palm of his hand, eliciting laughs at every turn. Bielby also arranged around half of the numbers, along with Katie Lindsay, and both deserve great praise for some innovative and impressive mashups.
We can’t imagine a better injection of fun into your weeks – if you’re looking for something lighthearted to drive you through to the end of term, look no further. They’re also pretty talented, so this is no jazz-hands fuelled, vacuous spectacle, but a genuinely enjoyable and impressive show.
68% – a resounding, glitter-infused 2:1.