Monday, 17 July 2017

REVIEW: And the Award goes to..! at The Water Rats


When I first opened the programme to find songs such as Confrontation from Les Miserables, Wash that Man from South Pacific and You Can’t Stop the Beat from Hairspray my eyes rolled and the thought popped into my head of “Oh no, not another cabaret with the same old tunes in” but the way it was presented in this show was surprising and refreshing. 

The title of this cabaret reflects the theme, songs from musicals that have won Best Musical at the Tony Awards. Included are the much-loved hits that we all love when they come on shuffle on our iTunes but it also featured some not so obvious and over sung songs.

This cabaret is presented by The Out of Work Collective, this company was “established to create opportunities for those ‘out of work’ artists”. The idea behind this company and what it stands for is exactly what we need in this industry right now, there is so much talent right under our noses (or behind the merchandise counter), we need more of this kind of work to showcase this talent. 

The cast included talent from all across Theatre lands front of house teams. David Black, Samantha Carlyle, Megan Fitzpatrick (also co-founder of the company), Aaron Jenson, Charlotte Layne, Lauren Lockley and Sam Sugarman feature in this piece. 

David Black was charming and very easy to warm to, his rendition of Purpose from Avenue Q was just perfect and he could have slid right into the show from that one performance. 

Samantha Carlyle showed wonderful acting skills through all her songs, I particularly enjoyed her rendition of Home from The Wiz, I usually find this song very boring but she nailed it. 

Megan Fitpatrick showed fantastic range and was so charismatic, especially in It Won’t be Long Now from In the Heights. 

Aaron Jenson was cute as a button and his rendition of The Night was Alive/Johanna from Titanic/Sweeney Todd was beautiful. Also credit must be given to MD Henry Brennan who showcased interesting mash ups and mix ups
of songs, it would be great to see more of this work in their future productions. 

Lauren Lockley seemed like she was having an amazing time on stage every time she came up, which was lovely to watch. When You’ve Got it Flaunt it might not have been as smooth as she might have liked it to be, but it just made me fall in love with her a little and showcased her range perfectly. 

Sam Sugarman ripped the stage apart with his voice, a stunning vocalist. One Song Glory was one of my highlight songs of the night. 

Charlotte Layne has to be my stand out of the cabaret, she was stunning to watch and her songs really were the highlights of the night. History of Wrong Guys (Kinky Boots) and Changing my Major (Fun Home) were great contrast for her and showcased her talents impeccably. She also made me love my least favourite song in Evita, credit where credit is deserved! 

Henry Brennan, who was the MD on this cabaret, was fantastic. His set was perfect and his arrangements were the true star of the night. 

The cabaret was smooth but one criticism would be it could have been more relaxed. The introductions felt too scripted and didn’t show much personality from the cast, with the intimate space and size of the cast they could have afforded to loosen up a little, which would have been fantastic because when things didn’t go to plan we were shown a more relaxed side to the team which was very refreshing. 

Although some of the songs seemed to be slightly miscast (obviously not the gender switches… they were brilliant!) it didn’t matter because you forgave it with the nature of the show. It was a celebration of the wonderful world of musical theatre and reminded us all that this casting pool is so much bigger than people think. All casting directors need to attend future performances of this company because they might find their next protégé. 

Rating: ★★★★

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