Review: The Miscast Showcase

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Firmly cementing itself within Durham’s musical theatre calendar, the third iteration of HBT’s annual Miscast Showcase was an extravaganza of stunning showstoppers. Featuring some of the university’s most talented performers, the programme included tracks from Golden Age musicals all the way to modern-day classics. Perfectly complimented by the evening sunset over Hild Bede lawn and drinks from the Vern, the showcase was a fantastic evening of entertainment.  

Before getting into the evening itself, a shout-out is in order for the marvellous publicity campaign orchestrated by producer Joyanne Chan, which was cohesive and aesthetically pleasing across all platforms and assured me that this would be a professional production.  

Perfectly complimented by the evening sunset over Hild Bede lawn and drinks from the Vern, the showcase was a fantastic evening of entertainment.

The night began with a rousing rendition of ‘Hello’ from The Book of Mormon, setting expectations high for a run of solos and small group numbers. ’s comedic timing was on point in ‘Shiksa Goddess’ from The Last Five Years, which was soon followed by ’s incredible performance of ‘Meant To Be Yours’ from Heathers. Terrifying yet impressive in equal measure, Dodd’s vocals were unmatched the entire evening, proving to be a real highlight of the showcase. ’s take on ‘Don’t Lose Your Head’ from Six had the audience cackling along, before the girls’ adaptation of ‘Those Canaan Days’ – spearheaded in spectacular fashion by Xanthe Gibson – left the audience in stitches throughout. This number also included some stunning harmonies which effectively exploited the benefits of gender-swapped songs.  

Credit must go to co-directors and for putting together such a well-balanced setlist, staging every song in a way that successfully took advantage of the differences between each one

After a lengthy run of witty numbers, ’s wonderful performance of ‘He’s My Boy’ from Everybody’s Talking About Jamie brought the room to a standstill. There were few moments during the evening when the audience was silent, but Wyn’s delicate falsetto and moving delivery ensured that the evening explored the breadth of miscast musical numbers. Credit must go to co-directors and for putting together such a well-balanced setlist, staging every song in a way that successfully took advantage of the differences between each one. 

The audience was eager for more miscast mayhem after the interval, which was delivered in an animated version of ‘Whipped into Shape’ from Legally Blonde, led valiantly by Olly Stanton. ’s beautiful tone in ‘On The Street Where You Live’ from My Fair Lady was an especially delightful performance – it left me wishing that we had seen more of her throughout the showcase! Playing Jenna from Waitress and Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors, proved why he is one of the best performing talents that Durham has to offer. His “supertenor” range in ‘Suddenly Seymour’ was a particular standout, perfectly complimented by ’s take on Seymour. ’s delightfully riffy rendition of ‘Independently Owned’ from Shucked and Hannah James’ cheeky interpretation of Le Fou were other great moments in the second half, which culminated in a truly epic male version of ‘Cell Block Tango’ that inspired audience members to stand up in applause. 

The hidden star of the showcase was musical director who flawlessly accompanied performances with ease. The simple yet effective use of thematic lighting helped quickly set the scene of each song. Most of the commentary between songs went over my head, with references to inside jokes and previous DST shows that a lot of the audience would not have understood. However, this did not detract from a really fun evening of entertainment from a fabulous bunch of performers.  

Image by Hild Bede Theatre Company

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