Review: ‘One Night Only’ Cabaret Showcase

Before watching Foot of the Hill Theatre Company’s first ever cabaret showcase ‘One Night Only’, I wasn’t sure what to expect due to the ambiguous definition of cabaret. However, I have been wowed by the incredible and diverse talent of the Theatre Company. The evening is filled with talented individual and group performances of dance, drama, poetry, music and magic, with every act being just as strong as the next.

Spectacularly opening the Cabaret Showcase, Serena Conn’s striking ballet routine captivates the audience as she dances to the sassy disco vibe of ‘One Night Only’ from the musical Dreamgirls. It is an excellent way to begin the evening.

Sophie Woodcock’s performance of ‘Popular’ from Wicked is brilliant due to her use of facial expressions, adding to the bubbly nature of the song.

Contrasting in emotion to the previous performance, Stacey Cockram’s rendition of ‘How Could I Ever Know?’ from The Secret Garden is flawless in delivery. Stacey hits every note beautifully and sings clearly throughout. Her stunning voice and conviction make for a truly heartbreaking number.

The next musical act is just as brilliant, due to Mimi Bruce and Christina Williams’ stripped version of The Neighbourhood’s ‘Sweater Weather.’ Their jazzy performance of ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ also shows off their accomplished harmonies excellently.

In an extract from Sophocles’ Antigone, Aimee Dickinson and Olivia Swain’s choose to perform the scene in which sisters, Antigone and Ismene, are arguing whether to bury their brother. This extract has potential to be confusing in performance, but the pair perform it excellently. They maximise on the emotion of the extract through their effective use of the space on stage, their considered facial expressions, and the pauses between their dramatic moments. A very convincing performance.

Katie Vega’s performance of Nora Jones’ cover, ‘The Nearness of You’, showcases Katie’s admirable skill in both voice and piano. She hits all types of note impeccably and very much captures the jazzy mood of the number.

Stacey Cockram and Hannah Ambrose superbly combine singing and dancing in their performance of ‘Nowadays’ and ‘Hot Honey Rag’ from Chicago. They very much entertain the audience, and their timing is impeccable. The duo’s finish with the iconic cartwheel is an appreciated touch.

Corinne Bailey Rae’s ‘Trouble Sleeping’ is a soothing choice of song from Elisa MJ and Kate Arkwright. The pair perform with optimal volume and convey its emotion throughout the duet. Kate’s hitting of the culminating note is very much a highlight of the performance.

As a topical choice for the anniversary of World War One’s end, Alice Foster’s performance of the 19th Century poem ‘Bingen on the Rhine’ complements the varying acts of the evening well. Alice speaks expressively and eloquently, very much conveying the horror of the poem’s words. The background music complements the mood of the poem and adds to the atmosphere created by Alice’s interpretation.

Rosie Pascal’s combining of comedy and singing for ‘Diva’s Lament’, from the musical Spamalot, is a highlight of the evening. Her sassy introduction is a brilliant touch, conveying her skill as a comedian, and very much drawing the audience in. Rosie’s performance is very deservedly received with many laughs from the audience. A phenomenal performer.

I thought it’d be difficult to follow Rosie, but Ryan Harris does this excellently. His magical performance has fantastic comedic buildup before his first trick. This involves capable audience participation as Ryan uses facial cues to guess the card that members of the audience have chosen. After some fantastic magic tricks which stun the audience, Ryan finishes with a ‘mind-reading’ trick involving multiple members of the audience. I thought that the final trick had gone very wrong at first, but the anticipation for the trick’s resolution makes the magic finale even better. Ryan’s lighthearted mocking of his volunteers also makes the act even more entertaining and his excellent use of audience participation is reflected in the reception he receives after each trick.  

Hannah Ambrose moves flawlessly between the elements from opera and a jazzy scat section when performing ‘The Girl in 14G.’ She hits the sudden high notes exceptionally and earns appreciative laughs from the audience.

In a powerful burlesque dance, Mary’s Dance group wows the audience with their energy and steaminess. The performance flows excellently throughout the mashup of songs, and all of the dancers are fantastic in their timing and confidence. I thought their routine to Stefflon Don’s ‘16 Shots’ was especially noteworthy.

The finale of ABBA’s ‘Waterloo’, performed by the whole Company, is very energetic and captures the upbeat mood of the evening.

It also goes without saying that Naomi Clarke’s hosting of the evening ties the acts together in an entertaining and humourous style.

Overall, I had a fantastic evening watching Foot of the Hill Theatre Company’s Cabaret Showcase ‘One Night Only’, and very much enjoyed seeing the phenomenal talent that the Theatre Company has to offer. I can’t wait for their upcoming show, ‘The Wizard of Oz’, in December.

Foot of the Hill Theatre Company’s Cabaret Showcase ‘One Night Only’ is on at St Mary’s College, 8:30pm on 2nd November.  

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