Welcome to Musicality’s first cabaret of the year! On the 8th November, Musicality, the award-winning University of Nottingham’s Musical Theatre Society, presented Masquerade at the University Campus student bar, The Den.
This show created an entertaining, bright evening, perfect to enjoy whilst relaxing at one of The Den’s tables, sipping a beer with friends. The efforts of all these brilliant singers, who entertained us with their powerful voices and striking notes really paid off.
Featuring songs from the famous musicals Mamma Mia, Wicked, Jersey Boys and many more, Musicality kicked off with a wonderful chorus featuring the famous scene from the Phantom of the Opera: Masquerade. After this first performance, each of the spectators felt a thrill in their veins. To quote Mari Myren’s reference to the post-rock Scottish band Mogwai, ‘music is bigger than words and wider than pictures’. The power of music is immense, going beyond our vision. When Laura Thomson began the journey towards those chillingly high notes in ‘The Winner Takes It All’ by ABBA, goose bumps were all over us. The thrill of her voice was unique and unforgettable! Tonight’s show was indeed an enriching experience, to be able to perform such a good show, alongside University responsibilities is indeed remarkable!
What however was surprising was that the show did not really resemble a cabaret. Neither was the theme of the show related to the famous Masquerade sequence, except for singing one of the scenes’ songs. Going to a cabaret one expects to be entertained by a mix of comedy, songs, dance as well as theatre. However this performance was just an assortment of songs, assembled together without any major links.
This should not in any way lead you to think that the show was not good, but instead rather unusual for being called a cabaret. Furthermore, it was disappointing not to see any major set design – just like the unforgettable Masquerade sequence in the Phantom of the Opera which is widely acclaimed for Maria Björnson’s direction who not only designed the costumes, but also made the Masquerade sequence the most spectacular in the whole Opera. As the theme of the cabaret was indeed Masquerade, I would have liked to have seen the singers wearing peculiar masks which would have attracted even more of the spectator’s attention, and perhaps justified the title of the performance.
Nevertheless, the singers were very powerful in evoking their feelings to the public. The chorus parts of the evening especially were filled with a shivering passion which only burst when the spectators’ joined in, clapping their hands along with the rhythms. Even though the set design and storyline need some more working on, it was indeed a great show, with great musical direction from Caroline Goodall. As the first cabaret night of the year, I’m sure that we shall see many more Musicality events of a great standard in upcoming months!