It is encouraging to see a joint production from the University’s Theatre Group, Music Society and Dance Society with the support of the Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts – a natural and worthwhile match.
It is also a fearsome task, as anyone in musical theatre or opera will know.
So did their production of 1966 Broadway musical Cabaret achieve its high aims?
Largely, yes. The acting and general staging were fine under director Matthew Bosley and the Musical Director (Christopher Langford) and Conductor (Chris Osborn) and his 16 fine players also handled the sometime tricky score with flair.
Choreography and dance too were assured and imaginative under Becky Louise and Sophie Inkster.
EmCee (Robbie Love), Sally Bowles (Charlotte Blatt), Bradshaw/Isherwood (Alex Varey) and Fräulein Schneider (Hannah Mook) treated us to first-rate performances in an impressive show, and a remarkable first-time achievement.
But minor flaws took the shine off a near triumph.
There is no excuse for curtain-up to be delayed by nearly 15 minutes with no announcement made or apology offered.
It was an unfortunate misjudgment too, to amplify both bands, all principals and the stage generally – singers and actors, even as students, should be able to project adequately in the not ungenerous acoustics of the Nuffield.
That aside, this brave and well-considered production was a success by any standards. Certainly the audience loved every minute.
Joint productions between different arts disciplines are great learning experiences, and fun (if hard work) to pull off.
I sincerely hope this venture will become an annual event. The talent is certainly there.
by Michael Nunn