Review: The Michaelmas Showcase

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Energy and pure entertainment, the Collingwood Players’ annual Michaelmas Showcase is an absolute joy to watch! The Mark Hillary Arts Centre is once again transformed to welcome an excited sold out crowd! An evening filled with energetic musical numbers and beautifully performed extracts from plays, The Michaelmas Showcase guarantees to put a smile on your face. After each number ends, you cannot help but look forward to the next ! Both performers and production team should be extremely proud of what they have produced, to create and maintain such an electric atmosphere is impressive.

A stand out element of the evening is the sheer variety in the chosen numbers. The directors, and Olivia Wilson, chose a superb array of scripts that the cast performed with passion. From The Greatest Showman to the film Bridesmaids, each song or acted piece is a total crowd pleaser. The range of emotions and stories means there is never a dull moment and as an audience member, you are drawn into every performance. Not only this, but the showcase has a wonderful sense of connection. Often, with an amalgamation of separate pieces, showcases can feel unconnected, this one does not. The similar, powerful, lighting arrangements throughout the performances contributes to this flow.

Every musical number has clearly been given a lot of attention by the choreographers and contains creative, bold and visually stunning movements

Another recurring theme in the showcase is the fabulous choreography! Every musical number has clearly been given a lot of attention by the choreographers and contains creative, bold and visually stunning movements. Crucially, the movements also embody traits that clearly represent characters. During ‘When I Grow Up’, from the musical Matilda, dance moves are childlike and allow the actors to transform into silly and cheeky classmates. Dance numbers are beautifully executed by the performers, they are sharp and crisp and, there needs to be a huge congratulations to the performers who wowed the audience with their backflips and other stunts!

To accompany the great dances numbers, are faultless singing voices. Every note is in tune and the harmonies are simply stunning. The level of talent across the cast is exceptional and everyone is pitch perfect! Whether singing as an ensemble or a soloist, the vocal range and capability is magnificent. ’s performance of ‘Stars’ from the musical Les Miserable, is a great example of this, it exquisitely performed.

The lighting during ‘Stars’ is just as beautiful as the performance. On the back wall of the stage, multiple small white lights fill the space, creating the illusion of a starry night sky. Fantastic lighting choices continue throughout the whole showcase. Each choice is sensitive to the specific number and elevates it, and importantly does not act as a distraction from the performance. The attention to detail in the lighting colour choices is particularly commendable.

Every note is in tune and the harmonies are simply stunning

In between musical numbers are acted pieces, ranging from monologues to group work. A high number of the pieces are comical and every actor marvellously works the text to make sure these moments of comedy are honoured and so, they are delivered with excellence. These performances are just as strong as the musical numbers they are mixed with.  However, the transitions between each number although smooth are not swift which slightly breaks up the performance as a whole at times, which creates some moments of pause, but this is only a minor point.

The Michaelmas Showcase radiates pure talent. It is a pleasure to watch and a total feel good performance! Elegant harmonies and polished dance routines are standout elements. The expansive programme is well put together, with great attention to the performance order, meaning it does not ever feel repetitive. Overall, the cast and production team created a stunning showcase!

Image credit: The Collingwood Woodplayers

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