Review: Tone Deaf Theatre Company’s Wrapped Showcase


Tone Deaf Theatre Company’s highly anticipated Wrapped Showcase takes place in the Cassidy Quad of St Chad’s College – an airy, open space which lends its wonderful acoustics to the evening, lit by the beautiful glass ceiling above and the subtle lighting in signature TDTC green. Directed by the fantastic Amy Shelmerdine, this celebration of the best of small cast musicals is a triumph, with its all-female cast taking any challenges in their stride and showcasing their tremendous talent throughout.

The opening number, ‘Become (Edges)’, sets the tone for the evening – though some nerves are noticeable amongst the cast, they truly come into their own as the song progresses, demonstrating professionalism and confidence by the end of the number with soaring vocals and poignant lyrics. From the very beginning, it’s clear that this cast has been expertly picked by the Creative Production Team, their voices blending together effortlessly while offering a variety of vocal ranges. 

From the very beginning, it’s clear that this cast has been expertly picked by the Creative Production Team

‘Single Man Drought’, is next, a comment on the dismal state of the dating scene and performed excellently by  and Emma Rowson. Despite the challenge faced by the cast through the unfortunate absence of Alexandra Tyler, they remain professional –  steps in for Tyler, and though she has to read her lines, she doesn’t let this detract from the comedy of the piece, earning multiple laughs through her delivery alone. 

Following on from this, we are treated to the wonderful ’s rendition of ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’, and it’s safe to say that she holds the audience in the palm of her hand for its entirety. Dewing’s performance is bolstered with faultless vocals and sensitive acting choices, delivering a rendition which leaves the audience holding their breath. 

One of my favourite numbers from the night is up next –  and ’s powerful execution of ‘What You Own’, is stunning and shows off the impressive lower registers of both performers. ’s blocking of the number is particularly effective. Rowson’s take on ‘I’m Not Afraid of Anything’ is exceptionally moving, and her confidence on stage as the song reaches its emotional climax solidifies her as one of the standout performers of the show.

Dewing’s performance is bolstered with faultless vocals and sensitive acting choices

The dynamic duo of the showcase follows –  and Evans are up next with their hilarious duet, ‘Secondary Characters’. It’s safe to say that these two give a masterclass in comedic timing through this number, and it’s unfortunate that they aren’t given the applause they deserve due to this piece running straight into the following number.

The highlight of the evening for me comes in the form of Bell’s frankly exceptional rendition of ‘Clubs and Diamonds’. To say Bell is a vocal powerhouse would be an understatement, and this fantastic talent is complemented by her presence on stage. She brings the house down with her commitment to the piece, and I have to strongly commend whoever is responsible for approving this song and assigning it to her. The audience are left in awe as the first part comes to a close and the interval begins. 

The second part of the showcase opens with as much flair as the first with the song ‘New World: Opening’, in which the cast take advantage of their vocal synchronisation and deliver mesmerising harmonies, no doubt thanks to the work of the wickedly talented  as Musical Director. It’s now the turn of Hunter to take the spotlight in her rendition of ‘I Just Wanna Be A Star (Nunsense)’, and her commitment to the acting the song requires has the audience in stitches, not to mention her phenomenal vocals. 

The highlight of the evening for me comes in the form of Bell’s frankly exceptional rendition of ‘Clubs and Diamonds’

The same goes for Sheppard’s ‘Don’t Wanna Be Here’, a number which perhaps hits too close to home with some in the audience. I am stunned by Sheppard’s vocal agility here, and paired with her comedic timing and interjections, I would call this a near-perfect performance. ‘Superboy and the Invisible Girl’, is next – Hunter’s emotional performance of this heart wrenching song is impossible to ignore, aided by Bell and Cowper (another instance of the exceeding professionalism in the face of cast absence) with their fantastic harmonising. Hartley, alongside  on guitar and  on drums, delivers the perfect accompaniment for this number (as well as the rest of the music in the showcase), which deserves a special mention.

As the showcase comes to a close, we are treated to the cast’s version of ‘Six’, which has the audience clapping and whooping along as each performer has a final chance to take the spotlight as their respective queens from the hit musical. Though there are a couple of stumbles choreography-wise, these are easily overlooked as everyone is having such a genuinely great time at the end of the show. 

Brimming with talent, passion, and drama and comedy alike, TDTC’s end of year showcase leaves the audience shouting for more – a testament to the hard work of the cast, creative team and musicians who collaborated to make it happen and end this great year with a bang. 

Image credit: Tone Deaf Theatre Company

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