Why Not? Musical Theatre Company presents The Rhythm of Life - One4Review
Okay, let’s get confession time out of the way first. I normally do not go to see Youth Theatre productions. Why? Well generally there are not enough quality voices to sustain a production, often the stage is packed solid with kids for the sake of it and frequently the production selected is out with their capabilities.
And yet why do I always make a point of attending this company’s shows? Well they are always presented in a way to complement their cast, not to over extend it and there seems to be an endless conveyor belt of emerging talent on show.
Since forming the company in 2002, director Graeme Melvin, choreographer Therese Puddefoot, together with MD Alan Gibson and Assistant director Lynn Hannah have struck the right note of presenting challenging pieces for their young stars yet pitching it in such a way that is not out with their capabilities. The throughput of some of the young talent is never ending and the production team carefully nurtures the progression from back row of the chorus, to taking the leading roles.
The current production Rhythm of Life is a collection of various songs and dances, drawn from the world of musical theatre predominately, but with excursions along the way into pop, a Take That medley, Madness section, Cyndi Lauper and Michael Buble numbers as examples, not to mention the odd big band number too, giving a showcase for the 50, yes I did say 50, youngsters aged from 10 to 16 to showcase their exceptional talents and versatility.
It is a testament to the production team that even when all were on stage, somehow with spot on direction and inventive choreography the space never seemed overloaded.
Each of the numbers blended seamlessly into the next and although some performers were featured more heavily than others nobody got to hog the limelight all night such was the available talent at their disposal.
The packed out Carnegie Hall on the Saturday night were rightfully full of enthusiasm for the show and for all of us it could have gone on far longer.
Now I know this was a true ensemble show that as a overall spectacle deserved to be treated as such, and an excellent show it was, and I hate to single out performers of such a piece, but I feel in this instance I have no choice. Every one was a star, but amongst the brightest for me Sarah Barton and Laura Grogan doing Annie Lennox proud, a magnificently mature rendition of Michael Buble’s ‘Home’ by Ross Johnston were standouts and two others in particular whenever they were on stage the eye was drawn to both Calum Pearce and Amber Russell, both for their quality performances and stage presence.
The whole show however couldn’t have stood up without a solid band and in that respect MD Alan Gibson, Tommie Travers, Jamie Craighead, Paul Castledine and David Wilson truly furnished a great sound.
So is the future of musical theatre safe? Certainly in West Fife it is as long as Why Not? are around. They deserve your support if you live locally, and if you don’t then think of travelling.
Their next venture, with the older cast members is to take part in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where they will be performing the musical ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ at Spaces @ Royal College of Surgeons Venue 54 5th to 13th August. Get your tickets as soon as they are available.
Reviewed by Geoff