REVIEW: CUMTS Gala
‘Step in Time’ would not be out of place on the West End stage
The expectations of the annual CUMTS gala night are always high. We are promised an “evening of pure musical theatre decadence” performed by Cambridge’s finest musical theatre performers, a night that will dazzle you with “glitz and glamour”. Well, this year’s production of ‘Step in time’ did not disappoint, fulfilling this promise and more. As the curtain came up on the opening number, I knew we were in for a very, very special evening with some very, very special performers. The harmonies were beautiful, the choreography was ingenious and the performances from this 17-strong ensemble had so much gusto that I was left grinning from ear to ear.
The whole show allowed everyone to shine but there were some particular stand out performances. Special mention must go to Ben Cisneros for his captivating and spine-tingling vocals in ‘Run Freedom Run’ from ‘Urine Town’. Alice Jay and Connor Dumbrell’s ‘Seventeen’ from Heathers left me with goose bumps and provided a softer balance to the rest of the other energetic numbers. Sophie Foote, Justin Wilson, Molly-May Omaha Keston and Robin Franklin should also be commended for their incredible commitment and energy in the larger ensemble numbers. But, by far the standout performance of the night has to go to Eve French for her performance of ‘Anything Goes’ from Anything Goes. As potentially one of the hardest musical theatre songs of all time, she performed it effortlessly. Her characterisation and vocals were spot on whilst her tap dancing was wonderfully dynamic. It was a delight to watch.
It is sad that the only minor criticism I have was not the fault of any of the creative team or cast but simply a problem with show programming. Due to the ‘cabaret’ style nature of the show the absence of the band on stage (due to lack of space) was obvious which occasionally made the compering within the show feel slightly out of place. However, Molly-May Omaha Keston handled it well as the host and her charming presence and playful self-awareness set the tone for the evening.
In the world of Cambridge Theatre, it is sometimes easy to forget why we all spend hours and hours rehearsing and putting on shows. The love of performing sometimes gets lost amongst the balancing act of trying to make great theatre and the stress of doing a Cambridge degree. But the passion and joy demonstrated by all involved in the CUMTS gala refreshingly reminds us why we do it all!
‘Step in Time’ is not only a celebration of these phenomenally talented individuals (who wouldn’t seem out of place on the West End stage) but also a celebration of the joys of performing. I was astounded by the professionalism of this show; it is clear that hundreds of hours of blood, sweat and tears have gone into it but the result is non-stop fun for all involved and I can only hope it is on for more than 2 nights next year.
cover image credit: Helena Fox