Natasha Ali is entertained by Tone Deaf Theatre Company and Durham Improvised Musical’s ‘Heroes and Villains’ showcase.
It’s the last week of term and the final set of shows has come upon us. Before we head home for the summer, it’s time to take a look at the TDTC Showcase for my last review of the year.
First off, a massive well done to Durham Improvised Musicals (DIM) for constructing a compelling story about subways and mosquitos. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to un-see Ralph Skan’s pivotal role as a rubber glove and to be honest, I don’t want to. It proved to be the highlight of my night, along with Sam Baumal playing a villainous insect who swears too much.
As for the actual showcase, Heroes and Villains is a classic (if a bit cliché) theme and I was excited to see what TDTC would do for it. Unfortunately, apart from two or three numbers I didn’t really feel like the song choices were that great for their intentions. All the pieces sounded and looked awesome, but with so many truly amazing villain songs out there it’s a shame not more were used. It also didn’t help everyone was all in black and there were no clearly defined heroes and villains within the cast.
I wanted the TDTC part of the show to be longer. I don’t feel like all of the cast got to shine which is a shame because a showcase is one of the only instances where everyone has the chance to be the lead at some point. That being said, there were still some absolute standout numbers. ‘Hard to be the Bard’, performed by Ben Cartwright along with Jonny Hewitt and Angus Shennan, was hilarious and by far my favourite piece in the show. Rebecca Kingston’s eyes sparkled as she sang ‘Suddenly Seymour’ and both Emily Hardy and Izzy Mackie’s solos were some of the most emotional things I’ve seen in Durham all year. I nearly cried at both and it takes a lot to bring me to tears.
The choreography was amazing. It looked clean, polished and I wish choreographer Siobhan Gardiner had had more numbers to work on. The band too was impressive and musical director Emma Farmer did a great job, but it would’ve been nice to have some kind of proper percussion. Especially for the bigger numbers. Tech was simple but effective and reflected the mood of each piece, thanks to Callisto Musyck.
Considering all the production team difficulties throughout the process of making the show, Alice Aucott has done well to become co-director as well as producer. The nature of student theatre is that things can go wrong; people drop out, get ill or have to leave, and Aucott stepped up to the sea of problems that comes with making a show with a reasonably large cast.
At the end of the day, a showcase is meant to be a solid collection of songs that let different genres and themes shine. This definitely did that; I had a good time and so did the rest of the audience. What more can we ask for?