First thing’s first: this is not a show to go to if you don’t have some base knowledge of musical theatre, but as a proud member of the Glee Club and as a man followed by Jason Robert Brown on Twitter, I, like lots of the audience this evening, felt like we were seen by the cast. You want a show with ‘sing’ in the title to be more songs than filler, and this show definitely delivers that.
What a rollercoaster of a show the cast of More Sh*t We Like to Sing is, by Broken Crayon Productions, in everything from the capabilities of a nightclub turned musical theatre cabaret club, to the individual strengths, and weaknesses, of the performers on stage.
I understand the premise of a show called “Sh*t We Like to Sing” but the questions of “should we sing this, is it comfortably in our range and will we do these songs justice?” should be raised and addressed.
The other problem with ensemble musical theatre is that if any member of the cast is exceptional, it magnifies weakness elsewhere. Grace Johnson is the stand out vocalist in this group, if she isn’t already WAAPA trained, a scholarship is near on the horizon for her. Her voice would not be out of place in Broadway. This starts to stand out in her Dogfight duet, and she pops out into the focus again in the Requiem from Dear Evan Hansen. She also has a natural stage presence and confidence to be still on stage.
Charlotte Louise is the chorus’ strongest dancer, executing the signature moves of choreographer Shannon Rogers (of BurLezque fame) with precision and confidence, this does, however, highlight the first night nerves and occasional lack of conviction from some of the other performers. The choreography varies in technical skill from number to number, occasionally glimpsing on something golden (tap wings beautifully tapped)
When Max Conroy took to centre stage to sing his Jeckyl and Hyde solo, a song comfortably in his range and without lavish and distracting dance moves, his sense of relief and confidence finally displayed his true talents and as an audience we collectively relaxed into his performance.
The constraints of a venue not designed for musical theatre peeked through the cracks intermittently throughout the show, unbalanced microphones and constant use of backlighting straight into the audience are things that you allow when Connies is being used as a nightclub, but with a stripped back, contemporary musical theatre piece, the latter felt like unnecessary ornamentation and the former was unfair to talented, but softer voiced performers.
The height to which the show really grows though is the duet between Dylan Dorotich and Matthew Arnold, who is the most well rounded of everyone on stage this evening. Their duet together is emotive, well rehearsed and pitched perfectly for their vocal ranges, this could have been a beautiful climax to the show, but I know the audience to either side of me were happy to end on something more familiar and recognisable.
This show, by it’s next reincarnation, will be a definite feature on many people’s fringe watch list.
– Theatre Boy