Review: Cadenza

DAVARA BENNETT found the evening of uplifting singing ‘effortlessly entertaining’.

ADC theatre Cadenza

Tuesday 16th February, 11.00 at the ADC Theatre, £4-6.

Concerts are difficult for those of us who aren’t pitch perfect and don’t carry along a score to follow. Sometimes, I resort to conjuring the pastoral frolickings of nymphs and swains and practising upright sleep but there was no need for these in Cadenza’s effortlessly entertaining performance. The a capella group sang pop songs and rock songs – which they alchemically converted into pop songs. It’s difficult to imagine a repertoire more uplifting, unless, of course, you’ve heard the Halo/Walking on sunshine mash up from Glee. If you have, and you like it, this show is for you.

It was a shame that the singers occasionally stepped behind the proscenium arch; their voices were lost in the flyspace and overwhelmed by the chorus, especially when the girls dipped into a low register. However, the higher level belting was mightily impressive and Jessica Walters especially wowed the audience. The men’s self-possessed rendition of ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ was a highlight – they sang together seamlessly, like a boy band, except without the customary weak member: the ghost of Darius walked again. Dominic Johnpillai and Catherine Harrison’s duet was beautiful, at times spellbinding and felt like a natural rest from the dynamism to which her voice was obviously less suited. A mention has to go to the beat-boxer Benjamin Lichman; I can’t deny that I held my breath during his solo.

The ups and downs continued. An unoriginal sample of embarrassing white-girl rap is, unsurprisingly, still embarrassing. Some great comic moments did compensate, as when the Black eyed peas’ ‘Shut Up’ briefly surfaced to punctuate ‘Where is The Love?’ a post-Valentine message of which I approve. What really cost Cadenza its extra star was the shoddy choreography: shuffling feet, repetitive arm-pumping and side to side dancing, all executed with varying degrees of energy. Still – even awkwardly sexual Justin Timberlake moves can’t dampen the sheer cheerfulness of Cadenza: it’s infectious.


Cadenza are playing again at the ADC on Saturday 20th February at 5.00.  Tickets are still available.