Review: Duzney!

By Melissa Redman

2023 marks the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney; Duzney was a wonderfully executed and charming way to mark this centenary and an appropriately magical way to end a hugely successful year for Tone Deaf Theatre Company.

The showcase demonstrated an expertly chosen cast who were more than capable of executing its demands

Directed by Lengana Mashaphu, and assisted by and Alexa Thanni, the showcase demonstrated an expertly chosen cast who were more than capable of executing its demands. ’s ambitious choreography was demonstrated from the get-go: the opening and closing numbers ‘Once and For All’ and ‘Stick to the Status Quo’ were executed confidently and with ease by the cast, with the latter in particular encompassing a fun chaos that was enjoyed by audience and cast members alike. Harmonies also felt particularly strong in these numbers, highlighting the cohesion of these performers as an ensemble and the strength of the crew’s musical direction. Certain numbers stood out to me as excellently cast: as Mary Poppins was nothing but an excellent choice, and and as Sharpay and Ryan were an iconic and hilarious duo.

The set list incorporated a generous blend of contemporary and classic Disney hits from Newsies and High School Musical to Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. While the range in tone across the pieces chosen was hugely enjoyable, I wondered whether songs from further musicals could have been incorporated into this setlist rather than drawing multiple pieces from the same productions. That being said, every number throughout the evening was performed with clear and impressive vocal agility. and exhibited gorgeous vibrato throughout their solos, and and demonstrated impressive breath control in their final notes of ‘ If I Can’t Love Her’ and ‘Out There’ respectively. For me, a real highlight was Phoebe Morris’ rendition of ‘Part of Your World’ from the Little Mermaid. Her storytelling and exquisite vocals could have easily given the recent live-action version of the film a run for its money.

An appropriately nostalgic tone that celebrated not only the anniversary of Disney, but also the talent of its cast, crew, and everyone involved in the showcase

The direction throughout the showcase, on the whole, felt meticulous. I did feel that some numbers might have benefitted from more grounded and purposeful blocking, such as ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Journey to the Past’. However, I particularly enjoyed the dynamic blocking of ‘Watch What Happens’, which performed with conviction and ease and whose acting through songs I particularly enjoyed. ‘Chim Chim Cheree’ also stood out to me as particularly charming; the clever use of a broom, combined with an impressive Cockney accent from Oscar Scott meant this number invoked a particular nostalgia that paid due homage to the charm of the original. I was also impressed by the amount of thought put into costume throughout the showcase; from the Newsies’ flat caps to well as Sharpay’s fabulous feather boa, these added a wonderful nod to character that would have been otherwise missed in concert blacks. 

Overall, Duzney was an absolute pleasure to watch. Credit must be given to and the tech team – the clever projection of the Disney castle onto a gauze at the beginning of the evening set an appropriately nostalgic tone that celebrated not only the anniversary of Disney, but also the talent of its cast, crew, and everyone involved in the showcase. 

Image: Tone Deaf Theatre Company

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