C.U.M.T.S. presents the 24-Hour Musical

Mon 18th February 2013


Jasmine Brady

at 01:26 on 19th Feb 2013



It is not often that a student production ends with a standing ovation from the audience, but from the moment I stepped into the theatre it was clear that Cambridge Musical Theatre Society’s “24-Hour Musical” was something special. The stage was presented quite simply, setting up the scene for the “end of the world” theme with red lighting, scrunched up newspapers littering the floor and headlines proclaiming the coming apocalypse. Every song performed offered a different approach to the theme, and the music more than once succeeded in getting the audience clapping along without any prompting from the performers.

Most of the songs were so funny and well performed that I found it easy to forget how quickly they had been put together, but being aware of the time constraint made them yet more impressive. Nothing felt underrehearsed, but the acting and singing had a spontaneous feel that I think must have been partially due to the speed with which the performance was prepared, and the comic timing was just right. One of the great things about the whole show being written in the last 24 hours was that the lyrics could be made relevant to recent events. Particular highlights included one of Satan’s secretaries complaining that the horsemen of the apocalypse had taken sick leave, leaving their horses to be made into Tesco burgers, and a scared woman admitting that the Mayans were “almost right” about the date of the end of the world.

All the performers were impressive, both in singing and in stage presence, but unfortunately there were some places where soloists couldn’t really be heard, particularly in the opening number. I wasn’t sure if it was partly due to where I was sitting, but there were points in the show when the vocalists were drowned by the backing music which was a shame when the audible words were so well written. As I was leaving the theatre I heard a couple making the same observation about not being able to hear the words, so I do think it was something that needed to be improved. It didn’t cause a big problem to the overall experience, but if the singers had been a bit louder or the balance with the instrumentalists improved I would have felt justified in saying this was a 5 star show.

The songs were joined together well by a group number performed at the beginning and end of the show, which gave a small insight into each character that was reinforced in their individual songs. Concluding with a song involving everyone also had the nice result of having all the performers already on stage at the end of the show, making it clear that it had been a group effort and allowing the bow to feel as free as the rest of the show rather than being a formal addition to the performance.

Apart from the technical problems with the balance of sound, the production was not to be missed. The musicians were incredible, and were admired despite being out of sight, and every performer was watchable and gave a great show. The audience response says it all really. I’ve not been to a student production that inspired louder laughs or a bigger applause at the end. Well done C.U.M.T.S.


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