‘Hello Cabaret’ returned to Sophia Gardens on Sunday night for the third year running, performing their cabaret in the park, closing the first weekend of the Everyman Open Air Theatre Festival (on until the 3rd August). The show promises ‘popular show tunes, spellbinding stories and hidden gems performed under the stars’, and for the most part, does not disappoint. There is something magical about twilight in summer, watching the sun go down whilst talented performers entertain an audience should be a staple in everyone’s diaries, and this show, if you are a fan of any musical theatre, is the one for you.
The audience were took on a guided tour of the musical cannon, given a musical education if you will. Orchestrated by Dan Fulham, who ensured there were tunes to suit every taste. From Anastasia, to Wicked, Les Misérables to Elvis: All Shook Up, all the great musicals from history were covered, ensuring every member of the audience heard something they completely resonated with. Alongside the backdrop of the setting sun, a bar offering everything from cider to hot chocolate and ‘Keralan Karavana’ selling authentic Indian foods, there was a real festival feel to the evening, which had a real buzz of excitement and true community ethos about it.
The cast was made up of some extremely talented singers, most notably Cellen Chugg Jones, whose rendition of ‘Gethsemane’ from Jesus Christ Superstar and ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Misérables lead the audience to standing ovations, his passion for his craft shone through in his performance and his vocal range is something to be admired. Jenny O’Leary, another member of the main cast also excelled in her performance of ‘Never Enough’ from the Greatest Showman, an obvious crowd favourite, her voice was so powerful I could imagine one could hear her from Bristol!
An Ensemble followed the cast, and accompanied them through multiple renditions. It must be said that the placing of Laura Philips as a continuous member of the ensemble was unfortunate, as she was the true breath of fresh air the whole show needed. She left her ensemble once for a solo, which was frankly, spectacular. She, unlike her counterparts, truly engaged with both the staging and the audience, she flirted with the men, scandalously strutted along the railings by the front of the stage and enticed us all with her charm, and her voice was just as good as her stage presence, she was often heard over the ensemble, and the audience was drawn to her charisma throughout.
Ultimately, this was the perfect show for musical theatre lovers (and their novice friends), all performances had an element of nostalgia to them, and made us all, as the audience, remember back to endless childhood afternoons watching the musicals on the television, or if you were lucky enough, on the stage, and the love of musical theatre was truly evident in all cast performances. However it was a real shame that the staging often obstructed the view of the cast members. Yet, that did not prevent the show ending on a high, with a standing ovation and smiles all round.
ARTICLE BY DAISY GAUNT