Sunday, 21 June 2015

Review: Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama Showcase 2015

This 48th Anniversary Gala student Showcase from Nottingham based Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama showing twice at Nottingham Playhouse is totally outstanding and utterly professional. Every single aspect of the showcase is polished to a glittering sheen of its singing and dancing life.


This reviewer had the privilege of seeing the third year graduate show at London's Criterion Theatre in May this year and that was mightily impressive. Now this exciting Nottingham showcase features ninety-six students from across all three years including the twenty-six from the graduating class.

The hard work that has clearly gone into presenting this student showcase is breath-taking. There is never a moment's respite in the packed programme and full appreciation must go to the totally dedicated staff at MADD under the principal Frances Clayton and production co-ordinator Edward Nudd. Especial notice should be given to professional choreographers and directors Emma Clayton, Ryan Lee Seager, Stewart Arnold, Mark Webb, Daniel Gordon, Mark Hedges, Stuart Hayes, Kamilah Beckles and Sue Sparham. Additionally, the total theatrical package wouldn't be complete with the superb live band with musical director Callum Clarke and the amazing light ( Leigh Mulpeter) and sound (Rob Ketteridge) from MAC Productions Ltd.

The showcase features sixteen musical numbers including dance in various styles. The first half highlights have to be a re-imagined Bohemian Rhapsody, the opening number Queen of The Night, a very funny Keep It Gay, and Please Don't Touch Me performed by Amanda Blockley and Braidley Wilson. There's some terrific heart stopping dance in The Rich Man's Frug, frightening all male choreography in the menacing Where's Your Head At? and we finish with the vibrant closing piece The Rhythm of Life featuring the entire third year ensemble.

The second half opens up spectacularly with Steel Town Sky followed by third year vocalists Summer Rozenbroek, Rebecca Telling, Sadie Marie-Ebbon and Savanna Darnell singing I Have Nothing to great applause. Comedy highlights in the second half include Man Up and the flirty Doctors' Orders and more sombre pieces such as the touching dance piece Amazing Grace. Throughout the showcase the dancers excel in their often athletic work showing their dedication, fitness and fluidity and hard won choreography that make it all look easy. Such talent takes years of honing and the capacity audience clearly appreciated them.

In writing a review one is conscious of those artistes not mentioned and in this case theatrical numbers equally not mentioned. Certainly every one of the ninety-six performers perfectly demonstrate why their top talents have been chosen to be a student at such a prestigious school as Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama! They should all be very very proud. Next to me in the audience are the parents of a young woman who is starting her course at MADD in September this year. In the interval they tell me that she is sitting at the end of the row and is getting emotional at the thoughts and sights of what lies ahead of her. Her parents seem extremely impressed as were many a set of parents and families in this capacity audience tonight. She can look forward to being coached by industry professionals of the highest calibre.

The showcase ends on a huge high as a costumed cavalcade of singers and dancers begin the final numbers by the full company. The Freak Flag story book character costumes are totally brilliant and there seems to be a never ending flow of students spilling out of every door and lining the auditorium. The whole audience is smiling and clapping along and as the final notes of the following Car Wash number hit the roof the fully deserved applause is deafening.

After the showcase and outside of my opinion and outside the theatre itself are a very happy crowd of audience well wishers including former students who have come along to support the current students. The terms “brilliant”, “extremely professional” and “loved the way it all flowed” echo through the throng. #rogeroverandout.

PS: To read more about my visit to the MADD college earlier this year click this LINK.

Production photo credits Joe Shaw

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