Natasha Ali looks over Collingwood College Woodplayers’s summer showcase.
Showcases are maybe the only form of musical theatre that can feasibly appeal to everyone. This is because of their ability to use such a wide range of music and genre. One way or another, there will be a piece each audience member likes. Woodplayers Summer Showcase, using a mix of classic and contemporary songs, has created a fun and enjoyable watch with some very impressive vocals.
While I wish there had been some kind of theme or link between each number, the choices made were all great to listen to and recognisable for the audience. From A Chorus Line to Hercules, the variety shown is impressive and meant each piece was distinct. The change from colourful outfits to black in the second act also did this.
The harmonies were honestly beautiful to hear, and the level of singing was to a ridiculously good standard. Emily Bates in particular hits notes I didn’t even know were possible to reach and Ashleigh Boyce’s solo was a standout in the show.
All the trios, duets and solos were well staged and with minimal choreography still looked great. However, when it came to the larger group numbers this fell apart. The dancing was simple, but a few actors still messed up arms and things like that. It didn’t help all the girls seemed to be in heels of some kind, making it even harder for them to dance properly. A big disappointment was ‘The Time Warp’ where everyone’s microphones seemed to fall off simultaneously, creating a bit of a mess on stage. They should have been properly intact and with better mic tape used.
The acting, too, was a bit lacking. Aileen Pratanu, George Williams, Dylan Hicks and Tasmin Matthewman aside, actors could have used their faces much, much more. Especially in the group numbers as it took down a bit of the intensity and energy because there were only a few people I could look at who had genuine expressions and weren’t just singing the words.
My favourites from the show include ‘Kiss Today Goodbye’ and ‘The Winner Takes It All’, done as a group numbers with harmonies and clean staging. Numbers from less well-known shows like A Very Potter Musical and Mean Girlswere nice to see. Director Becky Brookes and Musical Director George Bone should be commended for stepping in for various pieces due to tonsillitis and last-minute dropouts. If I hadn’t bumped into the director beforehand, I honestly wouldn’t have noticed anything was amiss.
Overall the Woodplayers Summer Showcase was something I’m glad I used my afternoon to watch. It’s not perfect but it has more than enough good moments to make for a heartfelt performance with some great songs.
Wood players Summer Showcase will be playing in the Mark Hillery Arts Centre at 7:30pm on Sunday 23rd June and at 2:30pm on Monday 24th June.