Some Enchanted Evening

ELLIE OGILVIE toe-taps and shimmies away them ol’ Week 5 blues.

Catherine Harrison choir CUMTS cumts gala ellie ogilvie five stars Florence Carr show tunes Singing will karani

ADC Theatre, 21st February, 11pm, £5-6

[rating: 5/5]

It was the liveliness filling the house and the beaming smiles on every single spectator that made this year’s annual CUMTS Gala a true contender for the much sought after Big Five. All credit to the ten stars of the night, who bopped and belted away, securing this show as one to remember.

It got underway when the band struck up with the ‘Overture’ from The Producers, a fantastic display of their capabilities. The band and chorus were solid all night, with only the odd dodgy note or loss of ensemble, terrifically conducted by Chris Nash. CUMTS President Flo Carr, complete with angel wings, then took to the stage and confidently commenced with her commentary; throughout she knitted the sections together with speed and wit.

The show achieved the ideal balance of old and new. Opening with a quad of golden-oldies, we were taken from the depths of New York with Guys and Dolls to the Wild West with a toe-tapping Calamity Jane routine by Rosie Brown. Ceci Mourkogiannis dominated the stage with her performance of the popular ‘Feeling Good’, accompanied by an all-valves-blazing brass section.

Next, three of the leading females and males showcased two rather racy numbers in a battle of the sexes. The girls, with ‘Gotta Get a Gimmick’ from Gypsy, flaunted an array of talents, with Emily Burns’ highly proficient trumpet playing and the appearance of an LED-flashing corset. The boys fought back with a rendition of Kiss me Kate’s ‘Too Darn Hot’, James Partridge, Martin Kent and Jack Mosedale all producing strong vocals as three suave gentlemen. The verdict? The unexpected turn at the end of the song had the audience in fits, giving the men the edge.

The romantic classics opened with the tear-jerking ‘All I Ask of You’ from Phantom of the Opera. Chemistry abound as we witnessed Will Karani and Catherine Harrison creating their melodies note-perfectly to the gushing violins. Jess Jupp proceeded in a similar style, belting out ‘I’d Give My Life for You’ from Miss Saigon with all the passion the number demands.

Following ‘How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?’ from the most raunchily dressed The Sound of Music nuns I have ever witnessed, Guy Woolf faced the tricky task of pulling off an unfamiliar song, ‘I Believe’ from upcoming Book of Mormon. A challenging melody and lyrics, Woolf stole the show with his powerful voice and audience interaction. To wrap it all up, the whole-cast finale ‘One Day More’ from celebrated Les Miserables raised applause even higher, some people taking to their feet.

The talent on show and the enthusiasm each cast member carried blazed the trail tonight, I look forward to what more CUMTS have to deliver.