Midnite Youth Theatre Company have launched a new show and Erin Hutchinson finds it an exceptional example of emerging talent.
The World Goes ‘Round, Midnite Youth Theatre Company ·
Downstairs at The Maj, 9 March 2022 ·
As one of the longest running youth theatre companies in Western Australia, Midnite Youth Theatre Company has been a training ground for some of Perth’s premiere performers and technicians, and this production shows that the tradition of excellence remains unbroken. The numbers in The World Goes ‘Round are funny, clever, political, poignant, and continue to be relevant. They are also great fun to sing and this cast, choc-full of talent, seemed to have a blast.
Excellent is also how I would describe the songwriting duo of composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb, one of the most successful creative partnerships on Broadway. The World Goes ‘Round is a full-length revue that celebrates their collaborative work.
Given the adult topics of some of the pieces, the choice of a Kander and Ebb cabaret may seem a little odd for a youth theatre group, but they tackled the content with verve. Sure, their youth meant sometimes they didn’t hit the nuances of a song, but under tight direction from Gregory Jones, they did a darn good job.
You’ll know many of the pieces , a great mix of full cast numbers, duets and solos, giving every member of the ten-strong cast a moment to shine.
Eleonor Rowe starts it all off with the powerhouse title number “The World Goes Round”, leading into energetic whole cast number “Yes”. This was followed by “Coffee In A Cardboard Cup” where Claire Nicholls’ super fun, hyper-robotic choreography had me questioning my own addiction to a good brew.
Standouts in act one were Ricky Anderson’s cheeky rendition of “Sara Lee”, Niamh Nichols’ naughtily excited “Arthur in the Afternoon”, and Isabella Bourgault’s emotive expressiveness in “My Colouring Book”. Christopher Tierney’s rich, enthralling voice was showcased in “I Don’t Remember You” and lighting designer Jamie Lamb added some sight gags in “Mr Cellophane”.
Act two highlights included Maya Curtis’ captivating “Kiss of the Spiderwoman”, Madeline Shaw’s marvellously detailed rendition of “Maybe This Time” and the outstanding harmonies in the whole cast round-the-piano ensemble number “Cabaret”. Koert Van Der Laan gave a sweet naivety to “Marry Me”, and Ella Hagon, as the youngest of the group, showed her range in “A Quiet Thing” and “Pain”.
I really enjoyed hearing the uniqueness of each performer’s voice, and to hear such exceptional blending of different voices in a range of material is unusual. Musical director Jackson Griggs should be congratulated for his work with these young voices.
Griggs and his tiny band were sensational. Tim Newhouse on reeds played with beautiful subtlety and his clarinet solos were mesmerising while young percussionist Sam Robins played with delicate precision. There were only a couple of times the balance between the singers and band was off, but with such a gifted trio, I wasn’t really bothered.
Jay Waugh’s costume design is perfect, with the cast beginning in colourful cocktail wear, and in slick, sparkly show-blacks in the second half. Small additions for character numbers were put to effective use. The only number that had me raising an eyebrow, especially the day after International Women’s Day, was the decision to frump up Rowe in “The Grass Is Always Greener”. Yes, this was how it was portrayed in the original 1981 production of “Woman of the Year”, but the beauty of cabaret is that it allows us to make more contemporary choices. Given the still-present disparity in gender rights and roles, this moment offered an opportunity to acknowledge the continued fight for equality in the workplace and at home.
Nonetheless, this production is a wonderful example of the wide range of young talent we have in Perth and I would encourage you to grab a ticket if there is still one available. Who knows, you may see the next Broadway star before they get their big break? And you have to love any show that finishes with a kick line!
Pictured top: The exceptional talent on display from Midnite Youth Theatre Company. Photo supplied
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