Brunton Theatre: Thurs 19 – Sat 21 Jan 2017
Review by Susan Lowes
Musselburgh Amateur Musical Association brings a little bit of magic to the stage at the Brunton Theatre with its 2017 Revue.
Well actually there’s a fair amount of magic, what with the monsters, gods and idols as MAMA explore some of the more mystical elements of musical theatre.
The show starts with a bang and a big Hello from God’s favourite musical, The Book of Mormon. From there Act I is a rollercoaster ride through religion, spirituality and some fitting tributes to a number of stars that have recently died, including Purple Rain and Life on Mars.
There’s a lot to celebrate in MAMA’s Revue, the cast look like they’re having the time of their lives and it features something for every taste. It’s not long before there’s clapping, tapping of feet and singing in the stalls.
Of course it’s easy to sing along when you know all of the songs, but some of the most engaging parts of the show are the unexpected songs, the ones you might not have heard before. Alexander Hamilton, from Hamilton, is a fantastic mixture of rap and singing, delivered with enough zest to really pique interest. The Mist, from Dracula The Musical, is another such gem, sung sublimely by Claire Bayne.
This year’s Revue also shows us that sometimes all you need for a winning formula is a little bit of Disney, an incredible cat and a few puppets. Stand out elements saw Greg Holstead, Lorraine McBrearty, Duncan Whatmore and Dougal Affleck portraying their contrasting Man or Muppet identities from The Muppets and Andrew Jack as a chilling Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors.
a real treat
The performance of the evening though has to go to Lynsey MacKenzie for her wonderful rendition of the magical Mr. Mistoffelees, from CATS, accompanied by the full company and featuring dancer Kat Alexanders. MacKenzie was lively, playful and faultlessly on rhythm – a real treat to watch.
Not all areas are quite as effective. Director Richard Tebbutt’s casting choices aren’t always a perfect fit, despite the clear talent in the company. The choreography is sometimes a little lacklustre, especially when the full company is on stage. And the composition choices of some of the numbers, such as Elephant Love Medley from Moulin Rouge, can be jarring. In this case, splitting the two lead roles between eight people results in a fragmented song that loses its impact.
Saying that, when everything does comes together, The MAMA cast is exceptional. The second act opener There’s a Light from the Rocky Horror Picture Show brings fantastic light effects, great costumes and a vitality you don’t often see in the undead.
From there it’s a hop, skip and a jump through Wonderland, with a Frozen stop in Arendelle along the way. MAMA deliver another wonderful and engaging amateur production that really hits the spot. After all, you can’t go wrong with a show that features Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
Running time: 2 hours 30 mins (including interval)
Brunton Theatre, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AA
Thursday 19 – Saturday 21 January 2017.
Evenings: 7.30pm, Mat Sat: 2pm.
Tickets and details: www.thebrunton.co.uk
MAMA’s spring show: