Anthems – Broadway Showstoppers

August 13, 2015 | By | Reply More

★★★★☆   Toe-tapping tunes

St Andrew’s and St George’s West (Venue 111): Wed 12 – Fri 14 Aug 2015

Broadway melodies have broad appeal as one of Edinburgh’s best-known amateur groups struts its stuff.

A good showtune adds to a production, moving the story forward while being memorable in and of itself. Sometimes, though, you just want to hear great song after great song, and the heck with context.

BroadwayShowstopperThat’s what we get at St Andrew’s and St George’s West as Edinburgh Music Theatre presents 16 Broadway tunes which can indeed be termed showstoppers. Though happily, they didn’t actually stop the show on the first of three nights.

Nope, this was a fast-moving 50 minutes filled with crowd-pleasers, from the opening Lullaby of Broadway to the You Can’t Stop the Beat finale, which saw most of the 37-strong company spill out into the aisles. And while the audience wasn’t quite worshipful, it’s safe to say they loved this production.

Highlights included Kenneth Pinkerton’s sweet, soaring and superbly acted I Am What I Am, while Hazel Beattie’s When You’re Good To Mama was a rousing rendition of the Chicago classic. Jerrard Doran led Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat with tuneful aplomb, sweet-toned Ruth Cowie captured the melancholy of There Are Worse Things I Could Do and Sarah-Louise Donnelly displayed commendable control of her instrument as she belted out I Need a Hero.

talented gang

There wasn’t a duff choice in the set, the music for which was provided by Neil Metcalfe on keyboards, Craig Walker on guitar and Sandy Hutchison on drums. Director Rae Lamond also handled the on-stage movement, along with Sarah Aitken – quite a task given the amount of bodies.

The only real bum note with Anthems was the lack of microphones. It wasn’t an issue in the solo numbers, with a few backing singers gathered around a mic or three as the lead grasped their amplification. It did hurt some of the group numbers, though, when the lyric lines were passed from person to person – Hello from the Book of Mormon was performed with real charm, but a lot of the words were lost, while Chicago‘s Cell Block Tango – otherwise a real highlight – also suffered.

If someone could borrow just a few – well, a couple of dozen – more from local theatres this talented gang really could raise the roof.

Running time: 50 minutes
St Andrew’s and St George’s West (Venue 111), 13 George Street, EH2 2PA
Wednesday 12 – Friday 14 August 2015
Daily, 8.40pm
Book tickets on the EdFringe website https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/anthems-broadway-showstoppers
Edinburgh Music Theatre website: http://www.edinburghtheatre.co.uk

ENDS

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