Review: You Can’t Stop The Beat

KATRINA BARNES: ‘Forget the mediocrities of ‘Over The Rainbow’, this lot were the real deal and Cambridge should be proud to have had them.’

Georgie Hunt Jess Walters Joe Bunker Mel Heslop Not a Day Goes By Over the Rainbow Season of Love South Pacific Tom Cane

The audience was behind the cast of this musicals montage from the word go.  When it came to Joe Bunker’s compering stint in which he apologised for lack of rehearsal time and generally farted around very endearingly, the audience lapped it up like ADC types at networking events.  

The band struck up a jaunty introduction, received so warmly by the crowd that even the poor cellist, who got (I think accidentally?) incapacitated by the smoke machine at the end, relished an extra cheer of enthusiasm.  

As for the bulk of the show, the talent displayed was unquestionable. Particular credit is due to Mel Heslop, who’s sassy performances in ‘I’m Gonna Wash That Man’ from South Pacific ‘Rent’s ‘Season of Love’ were delivered with belted perfection. Also coming top were Georgie Hunt’s truly heart-felt ‘Not a Day Goes By’ and a beautiful demonstration of soprano at it’s best from Maud Millar in ‘If I Loved You’.

If there was a down side to the whole romp it was in the dance and movement, which was mostly underdeveloped and often awkward; Tom Cane and Jess Walters’ supposedly ‘in love’ couple looked more like they should belong to the cold feet slash divorce-oriented rendition of ‘Getting Married Today’ later on in the show. While the band carried the cast seamlessly through, it overpowered the strength of the vocals at times. However there was enough powerful singing to compensate so no complaints there.

The “really big and gay” finale of ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’ was a good choice as it seemed to sum up everything that the show was about. Emotions on high due to it being most of the performers’ swan songs with CUMTS were evident and infectious for the eager audience. It was, as Joe Bunker confirmed unabashedly, completely self-indulgent, but why the hell not? Forget the mediocrities of ‘Over The Rainbow’, this lot were the real deal and Cambridge should be proud to have had them.