The 24-hour musical was a fun and entertaining production on the theme of ‘pursuit’. A challenging production, the team undertook to write and rehearse eight musical numbers in 24-hours. The play was put on to raise money for MIND – a charity supports people suffering from mental health problems.
The opening was a somewhat rocky start to what led to be a highly amusing performance. The piece itself well written but the execution didn’t quite do it justice. The use of the full cast meant that it suffered more from the lack of rehearsal. Rather clunky and out of tune the opening number was not a good representation of what the overall production was to be. However, the reprieve of this number, which came at the end, was significantly better – the harmonies were clearer and the performers were more in tune.
The second number, written by Danny Booth, was about two girls who realised they were hitting on the same guy. The modern and funny idea was portrayed well through the music although, again, it suffered slightly from a lack of rehearsal which is to be expected in a performance turned around in such a short period of time. Individually the two performers sounded amazing, however in the sections that they were singing together the harmony suffered. The use of sound effects, on the other hand, was very successful, although the levelling was not perfect which made it difficult to hear all the words to the song which was a shame because the lyrics were very funny.
The third piece was very well co-ordinated, the singers were in tune and in time the majority of the time and had relatively few slip-ups. The piece had a strong hook and a catchy chorus which I am still singing two hours after watching. Occasionally the piece did seem to be slightly out of the range of the performers which detracted slightly from the high quality of singing. However, generally, this was a humorous piece that made the audience laugh throughout.
The fourth piece was a refreshing change of pace from the previous numbers. The story of two best friends falling in love, the ballad was sweet and heartfelt. There were some slip-ups towards the end which led to a slightly improvised feel that was covered well by the actors. The piece was cute in its awkwardness and the two actors worked well together.
The fifth set had the largest group of performers – four in total – which meant that it had greater potential for harmony. The execution of this was not perfect, there were several line slip-ups and occasionally it felt like part of the harmony was missing. However, the online dating plot was funny and the tune rather quirky and light; an overall entertaining performance.
The sixth piece covered the well-known awkwardness of seeing someone you know outside an audition room, which was a welcome reprieve from the theme of relationships. The two-faced drama of having to wish someone else luck before an audition whilst secretly hoping they will mess up to give yourself a better chance was funny and real. The two performers, Stacey Cockram and Isla Brendon, pulled of this drama with attitude and finesse that did the hilarious lyrics justice.
The final piece before the reprieve was a blues like song that captured both the grief and the anger felt after a breakup. The solo performance by Rachelle Ojomo was emotional – going from sorrow to resentment smoothly in a way that made the whole audience laugh. The lighting for this piece was particularly worth noting – the use of the purple amply set the scene and was a nice change from the lighting used in the previous performances. The twist at the end was downplayed a little as it was lost a little in the swift exit. However, it was an outstanding performance.
Overall the 24-hour musical was a light-hearted, energetic and comic project. It was a recurring trope that the pieces were very well written but not as well performed. However, a considerable feat – the 24-hour musical was impressive for what it was: a musical written and rehearsed in just one day. This is also the first year Dulog have attempted this challenge although I hope it will be the pilot to many more productions.
Photograph: DULOG Production Team