The 24 Hour Musical

Thu 23rd February 2012

reviews

Florence Strickland

at 01:03 on 24th Feb 2012

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The 24 Hour Musical was only advertised at the DDF performances the night before. Yet, by ten o’ clock, positioned in DDF t-shirts around the audience, the cast of the 24 hour musical suddenly spring into song, and head down to the stage to present a sequence of ridiculous scenarios – like the replacement of a black, rather than technicolour, dreamcoat. These were presented through Lloyd-Webber melodies, in a mockery of all things theatrical. Needless to say, this last-minute performance was a hilarious success, which meant the audience were going absolutely berserk from start to finish.

The setting was the interval of ‘One Play More’, where the critics gathered for refreshments, and reminisced, perhaps stereotypically, about their true hunger for the stage and spotlights. I personally did not feel any reproach as I only ever fleetingly played a table in a school production of ‘Hamlet’ with the awkwardness of a carrot, so my acting career never really got off the ground. I tend to stick to belting out Les Mis on long car journeys just for the sake of being loud. Hence, I could fully relish this parody of pretentiousness. One of the more delightful moments was when one cast member played a critic for The Times, even leaping with the artful grandeur, which was evidently portrayed as being ingrained in his soul. Also worthy of note should be the girl who played the critic for ‘Cat Weekly’. Her parody of ‘Cats’ – her character’s own pets being the only solace after being rejected by a theatrical male – was confidently presented; when the piano began the wrong song, she simply drew the mistake into her performance. Of course, the mystery piano player was the driving force of the entire musical and should be fully credited for carrying out the task in hand.

One of the premises of the show was that all Lloyd-Webber songs should be used bar one. This anomaly was the final number of ‘One Play More’, based on Boublil and Schonberg’s melody. In the height of the song, a cast member began to swing a flag, made of another DDF t-shirt, in true Les Mis fashion. It was the end needed to such a performance.

The element of improvisation allowed the cast members free reign of their interpretations. This, of course, added a slightly arbitrary nature to the performance, which I think only served to further fuel the humour. On a more serious note, in the light of the Festival itself – presenting new writing and talent – here we saw the newest of the new, in an approach to theatre that should not be brushed aside because of its distinct character of fun and frivolity, but embraced for its broad capacity for expression and exploration, which most members of the cast made full use of.

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