A showcase of upbeat tracks, slower numbers and everything in between, Collingwood Woodplayers and CCMS’s One Night Only offered consistent performances, even if in a few places it fell flat.
Opening the show, ‘Hello’ from The Book of Mormon was an apt number to start with and it demonstrated the collective talent of the ensemble. So often, the first number can be shaky as the cast settle into their roles but here it was one of the strongest acts. The comic timing of the cast was seamless from the get-go and helped the audience settle in to the night, setting the performers up for consecutive secure and confident performances.
The ensemble and group performances were often stronger in this sense. Perhaps it was the security of having other people there or perhaps it was simply that the group numbers were more upbeat. Along with the opening ‘Hello’, ‘The Negative’ from Waitress was charming and a welcome change in comparison to the previous three tracks. It was a “showcase” and therefore intended to demonstrate the vocal talent of the cast; but three consecutive slower numbers did begin to drag and they would have benefitted from being broken up.
Along with the group pieces, Agony was also a comedic standout, a little messy in its execution, but the choreography achieved the desired effect in the same way as the performance of Overture &All That Jazz did. Although these pieces were successful here, Somebody to Love unfortunately fell into the realm of shuffling-bobbing-dancing in which none of the cast quite appeared to know what they were doing. Although this might have diminished the quality of the performance here, it didn’t take away from the overall spirit of the production.
The audience had come for staples of musical theatre, and whilst ‘You’re The One That I Want’ fills that criteria, the acoustic version of the piece felt out of place and disjointed. Although admirably sung by Louis Mayo, it felt like a forced attempt to diversify from the rest of the performances and wasn’t necessary.
Emily Hardy’s ‘The Wizard and I’ from Wicked and Isla Brendon’s ‘I’m Breaking Down’ from Falsettos were the standout solo performances. In terms of musical theatre the issue is often the actor putting all their efforts into the song and failing to perform as the character, which can be especially difficult in this case as they were only performing one song. Here, both Hardy and Brendon inhabited the personas of Elphaba and Trina in two of the more nuanced performances of the night.
A promising first offering from Collingwood Woodplayer’s powerful performers, One Night Only promises that shows will only get better as the year goes on.