Don’t Stop The Music is an end of year showcase of the talent that has been nurtured by the Midlands Academy of Dance & Drama. There was certainly a prodigious amount of talent on show with a huge cast! I did attempt a cast count during the finale but failed hopelessly, but it was at least one hundred and possibly many more.
The production consisted of no less than twenty three items divided into two halves of almost exactly one hour. There were songs, dance routines and of course song and dance routines. Even the one item of drama, an excerpt from Bouncers by John Godber, had a musical element.
In an end of year showcase there is a temptation for things to become a little self indulgent. I am pleased to report that nothing could have been further from the truth here; the only people being indulged were the audience, and royally so.
Now it is almost impossible to name names as virtually every item had multiple principals and the programme, although excellent, did not contain any cast photographs. Fortunately therefore, when this production shone most brightly was in the ensemble work; both in the chorus singing but more especially in the dance routines. The dance styles ranged from classical to contemporary with some of the smaller scale numbers being very moving to the full-on chorus line numbers which were just downright magnificent. Perhaps the real stars of this show were the choreographers and dance captains?
Despite the range of contemporary numbers with a Michael Jackson medley and a song about Facebook, for me, pride of place went to the Anything Goes Medley and in particular the title track. This is amazing given that Anything Goes was first penned as long ago as 1934! I should report that during the Anything Goes routine that there was just a hint of a wardrobe malfunction - “anything goes” nearly became “everything's gone”. Happily all was well.
It is probably a function of a showcase, with each of the twenty three items competing to be the stand out number, but certainly taking the evening as a whole the backing track was too loud. Worse still, at the end of some of the numbers the “money notes” had become a little strident which was such a shame. Whether this is an issue for the singer or the sound engineer I am not sure, but I suspect the latter.
On entering the auditorium the bare stage was nicely lit and that was it, nothing else, not even any house music. It seemed to me something of a wasted opportunity; the production needed some sort of overture. Contrast the ending, there was, in rapid succession, finale – bow – curtain – houselights on full! The audience were left dazed but delighted. Excellent stuff!
Now in show business you need a name and two members of this cast, Amethyst Gostlow-Crossley and Natalia Villalonga-Stanton certainly have a head start! As I have indicated indentifying performers by name was nigh on impossible however the one person that I should highlight fortunately I can. Possessor of that rare gift, stage presence; a face of one thousand engaging expressions, singer and dancer par excellence, take a bow … Cara Howard.
This was an amateur production but performed to a highly professional standard. So if you love musical theatre then Don’t Stop The Music will provide you with a rare treat.
Don’t Stop The Music was performed at the Nottingham Playhouse on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 June 2012.