Review: CHMS Showcase

Without a doubt it was worth squeezing on the extra seats that were put out to see the CHMS Showcase last night. The general quality of performance was very good but there were some especially noteworthy, stand out performances.

Opening with “Lovely Ladies” from the smash hit Les Mis instead of trotting out one of the usual numbers was a brilliant choice, Katie Mcintyre’s staging was good and the cast were on top form. Then Andy Lake and Harry Whittaker started speaking, knowing little about musical theatre at all they were an odd choice to say the least and I can’t say they contributed much to the performance itself but they did provide puns galore.

In quick succession we then saw “People will say we’re in Love” from Oklahoma. After settling into the accent, Eliza Shea and Tom Boynton were utterly charming and very funny. Then “No More” from Into the Woods, one of Sondheim’s more understated songs, allowed Will Isted to show off his vocal control, and the staging was some of my favourite though I felt stronger character development would have helped the performance.

After some more perplexing commentary we had “For Good” from Wicked. Lydia Johnson’s new interpretation of the song was pulled off brilliantly by Beth Owen and Katie Macintyre, Katie especially had a great tone and acted a fantastic character. Lydia Johnson and Chris Allen’s “You and I” was one of the numbers that most suffered from a lack of lighting, though the performance was beautiful it was a difficult space to pull off the number.

Yet more puns and Vocal Point brought us “Will I” from RENT, Ben Young’s opening was touching and the song continued to grow and demonstrate not only Vocal Point’s high singing quality but their talent for performance in general, being the only number to give me Goosebumps by the end. The powerhouse Tom Jones did “Last night of the world” from Miss Saigon and Sarah Norvock easily fought back with powerful vocals, probably the most powerful in the show with some very imaginative staging.

“Big Ass Rock” was an unexpected choice but well directed and the boys’ performance was full of character and comedy. The next song was easily my favourite number and a stand out performance, Betty Jones and Anna Thirkettle’s voices complimented each other perfectly and there was an unbelievable chemistry in “What about Love”.

After “Lily’s eyes”, which saw a brilliant and effortless performance from Alex Wilson, we got to another favourite. With some amazing hair-ography as well as choreography, the characters were brilliant and “Gee officer Krupkee” had me in stitches. “Seasons of love” was a nice note on which to end the night and the amazement was audible when Sarah Norvock hit the incredible high note.

Even with a lack of lighting and the need for a stronger sense of character in places the talent in the show case left me excited to see CHMS talent in the future.