"MADD 2017 - 50th Gala Performance"
Last year I had the pleasure of seeing MADD's Showcase, so I just knew that I had to be there tonight, come hell or high waters.
From the introduction American baseball music onwards, this show was full on, continuous entertainment of the highest quality.Shows like these are a shop window for talent spotters, and this window is full of goodies.
The showcase was conceived, Directed and Staged by Emma Clayton. Each segment neatly and smoothly segued into the previous making each half a non stop entertainment smoothie. Full of taste and good for you as well.By staging the acts like this also eradicates any awkward pauses with an empty stage.
The live band on stage Musical Directed by Mike Cotton was crystal clear and full of punch.
The sound design by Rob Kettridge was loud and powerful but with clarity.
The lighting was as good as any touring professional production you'll ever see, at times rivalling a music event light-show. A brilliant job by Leigh Mulpeter.
I can't really pick out one performance from the next due to the diversity of the pieces, not only that but there wasn't one piece that I didn't love.
Kicking off with a powerful opener in "Six Months Out Of Every Year" from "Damn Yankees" choreographed by Andrew Wright.
This was followed by "She Used To Be Mine" from the musical "Waitress" sung with great emotion by Ally Ambrose.
"Partner In Crime" was a lovely comedy dance routine by Braidley Wilson and Kerry Moran with the exciting ensemble.
"Shadowlands" is a beautifully choreographed piece by Stewart Arnold.
One of my favourite musical currently is "Book Of Mormon" and "Turn It Off" is a wonderful, fun piece from that musical with an exciting tap section choreographed by Emma Clayton and led by Braidley Wilson..
There are two selections from the musical "Godspell", the first being "Bless The Lord" and then in the second half, "We Beseech Thee". Both excellently sung and performed.
"Screw Loose" is a track I'd not heard before and from the musical "Cry Baby" and a lovely fun 50's pastiche number, sung by Sian Fletcher.
I was so pleased when I looked at the programme and saw that "Something Rotten" was included in the selection of pieces as i loved the medley MADD did from this musical last year. This year we were treated to "Bottoms gonna Be On Top" and "The Black Death", the former performed by Luke Haywoodand Ben Sharpe, the latter being a brilliant ensemble number including Luke and Ben. I can't wait for "Rotten" to be released for local theatre to perform in full.
"Hand In Hand" is a jazzy number sung with great class by Rachel Head, and she looked amazing as well.
"Collide" is a choreographed piece by Stuart Hayes for the 2nd and 3rd year students.
"Dentist" is one of the big comedy numbers from "Little Shop Of Horrors" and performed by Sean Chamberlain.
Amy Murchison and Charlotte Salter perform a song called "She's My Sister" from a musical that was written five or so years ago called "The In Between". it's showcases like this that bring musicals that may have slipped through the nest to new audiences, which is always a good thing.
"Carnival Of Colours", a wonderfully energetic dance number, choreographed by Mark Webb and "We See The Light" another "Something Rotten" choice. What a way to close the first half.
There's a whole section dedicated to "The Wizard Of Oz" in various forms which kicks the second part of in fine form. Sandwiched in between the Oz section was Lauren McEvoy singing "When it all Falls Down". Pure class!
"Candy Store", again staged by Emma Clayton is sung by Zain Sutherlandand Sean Chamberlain is from the musical "Heathers", as is the next number "Dead Girl Walking", sung by Megan Petite, both very sexy numbers when you listen to the lyrics.
I absolutely loved the next choreographed piece called "The Sad Clown" to the music of Coldplay's "Viva La Vida", great song and great interpretation in dance choreographed by Ryan Lee Seager.
I also loved the next piece choreographed by Sophie Lowe and James Doubtfire. "Bye Bye Blackbird" and sung by Layla Gill-Dale. Great vocals and arrangement.
Zain Sutherland returns with Katie Gough for "Two Of A Kind", a nice comedy number.
Up next was an amazing version of Bob Dylan's "Blowing In The Wind" performed in a really modern way, I just wish I knew who recorded this version because it was just stunning, as was the choreography by Stewart Arnold and performed by the 2nd and 3rd year students.
"Give Me What I Want" from the musical "13" was performed by Tom Simpson, again lightening the mood and great vocal control over that note at the end.
"Who Will Love Me As I Am", sung by Siobhan Murray and Beth Brookes is from a musical that I'd not come across called "Side Show" and is a beautiful song, sung beautifully. It gave me goosebumps. as did Ryan Kayode with his emotion charged "Proud Of Your Boy" from "Aladdin". One of my favoutire Disney songs.
Closing the evening with a bang was another song from Disney's "Aladdin", "A Friend Like Me" performed by Zain Sutherland and the whole company.
Capitalising on the massive success of last year was always going to be a mountain to climb, but these students climbed that mountain and planted a flag firmly on the top this year.
These students are ready for the big rime, or at least a successful career on stage in any professional capacity because of the utter professionalism they show. Their choreography is sharp, whether it's tap, ballroom, contemporary or ballet, musical theatre whatever, they're ready. NOW!
Look for these names in the future because I have absolutely no doubt they'll be in the programmes and on stages from the West End to touring all over the place.