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Breaking 30: Halloween Cabaret – Review

| Comedy, Culture, Hidden London, Music, Special Events, Theatre, Uncategorized | 01/11/2013

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Breaking 30 / Worlds End Studios

A surprise on arrival: the venue was a covered courtyard with heat-lamps – and all the better for it. In fact, the perfect way to spend an otherwise dreary autumnal London evening. There was quite a crowd gathering and a real buzz to proceedings. It was truly heartening to see such a level of support for this fundraiser, under the clearly imaginative direction of Sophie Moniram.

‘With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm’ made for a rousing chorus taking full vantage of prime performance space, faces underlit by torchlight. Coupled with the artful lighting of Justin Williams, the place afforded ameniable acoustics for consistently consumate performances. Pretty soon though, things were thrown into crisis: that of a rotund seasonal vegetable, in a not-quite-so-Juliet-ish balcony scene. No pumpkin had more stage presence or was more dramatically expressive, in this endearing ugly-duckling yarn.

Tanja Mariadoss

Being carved-up every October 31 presents a conflict of emotions.

‘Halloween Rick’ offered even more original material, with guitar and vocals from Luke Courtier alongside the blistering banter of Harriet Creelman. Dry-as-a-bone but never drying-up, the verse crumbled and the audience crumpled. The blundering ‘Blurred Lines’ of Camilla Whitehill craftily contained not-so-blurred lines also on the faces of the spectators. This rough-and-tumble two-hander between Alistair Donegan and Hannah Whitehill bucked the trend for sexy Halloween costumes, observing that “I even saw someone earlier dressed as a sexy David Cameron…” Cue Juliet-Pumpkinhead’s reappearance – reciting what else but the Black Prince’s soliloquy before bursting (not literally) into a reprise of her ‘theme toon’. Unforgettable.

For ‘The Swallowing Dark’ we really got our money’s worth with Ms Mariadoss in yet another magnificent monologue. By a hot orange light her shadow crept up the wall – exactly the right balance of playful-yet-threatening – whilst the tremulous piano added that B-movie tension. ‘Mort aux Chats’ presented the side-splitting scenario of one funny guy (multi-talented Alex Ellison) pitted against two straight guys, Gary McErlane and James Wrighton; doubling the comedic contrast.

Colin Sell

‘I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue’ – or is that Mr Colin Sell?

Colin Sell set-off the second set with his musical version of a familiar bar-room joke – he can sell them afresh – “A parrot flew in Berkeley Square…” – to a round of rapture. An absolutely gorgeous Sondheim song ‘Not While I’m Around’ reconfigured as a cocktail number in a quite beautiful rendition by Susanna Goldsworthy, spot-lit on the staircase, as the quadrangle quietened. ‘Family Consult’ was a brilliant skit on just an average family – or not – the classic scenario of the stereotypically-stroppy teenager with a twist. You had to be there. ‘Keep My Love Alive’ proved the perfect duet for Maria and Susanna. Their once-again faultless singing effortlessly eschewed the rambunctious rhyming-strings of Rogers and Hart, enough to make any rapper eat their baseball-cap.

The programme would more than fill a sparkling radio broadcast but I saw it live thank heavens. Where else could you partake such a feast of original material and fresh talent, under the musical direction of Colin Sell? Certainly the break Breaking 30 deserve.


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