In the Heights – it’s high up!
The Tab reviews the Footlights annual musical.
The Edinburgh University Footlights bring salsa, rap and sass to the stage in this year’s musical, ‘In the Heights’. The Tab went along to review and this is what we thought.
So, ‘In the Heights’ is not what you’d expect from your typical Broadway musical. Sure there’s singing and dancing, but instead of your cheesy ballads and jazz-hands, there was rap songs, sexy salsa numbers and gangsta street dancing. Admittedly at first it seemed a bizzare concept, especially if you’re used to the aforementioned Disney rated musicals. But the musical numbers were so catchy and the characters so likeable, the rhythm got under your skin.
This is the Scottish premier for ‘In the Heights’ and it’s safe to say, the Footlights did it justice. Set in the Washington Heights of New York, the cast portrayed their characters of all different backgrounds (Puerto Rican, American and Dominican amongst others) with gusto. Though the accents were somewhat interesting at times, the personalities of the characters are was what mattered.
Benjamin Aluwihare is one of the models in this year’s ECFS and is more than just a pretty face. As the narrator and one of the main characters of the musical, Usnavi (named after the U.S. Navy, lol) was played with feeling and energy by Aluwihare.
Kirsty Findlay and Nitai Levi were well cast together to play the lovestruck Nina and Benny, though Findlay’s singing voice was far superior. Becki Clark had sass and Latino passion as Usnavi’s love interest, big-dreaming Vanessa, and made part of the booty-shaking hairdressing trio with Sarah Couper and Elayne Gray. The older generation of characters, Nina’s overbearing parents Camila and Kevin Rosario, and the adorable matriarch, Abuela were portrayed maturly by Claire Saunders, Alex Poole and Aisling Brady.
But of course, everyone’s favourite characters were clearly fun-loving Sonny, Usnavi’s cousin, played by Jordan Roberts-Laverty and the Piragua Guy, aka, Ronan Radin. Piragua Guy, what a legend.
The orchestra enthusiastically played the eclectic score of salsa, hip-hop and rap, and the dancing was finely choreographed to match by Director and Choreographer, Jimi Mitchell. The set was simple but conveyed the hispanic neighbourhood setting.
For a university standard production, ‘In the Heights’ was pretty professional, fun and a good night out to the theatre!